I’ve been to two conferences in the last month that I thought I would share with readers of our blog some of the highlights. At both conferences I was presenting as well as attending, sharing some of the work we’re doing at LSE. Before Easter I presented at the Association of Learning Developers in Higher Education (ALDinHE) conference in Huddersfield. Learner Developers are what you once might have called ‘study skills tutors’ who help students with reading, writing and academic practice and in the digital age technology plays an increasing role. You can read my longer blog post about this event, but a highlight was a chance to hear Etienne Wenger-Trayner’s keynote. He created the term ‘Community of Practice’ which is a theory of social learning developed by studying apprentices and how they learn as much from their peers as from their mentor. There were a lot of papers around the theme of digital literacies and it was great to share our experiences of the SADL project at LSE. I also really enjoyed a workshop where we got to design our ideal learning space for students, which was a little like the activity we did earlier this week at the IMT Staff day.
The other conference that I attended was the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) straight after Easter, which was held at Sheffield Hallam University. Colleagues from the Library, Maria Bell and Ellen Wilkinson presented a paper on the SADL project this time and had a great reception from the audience to the notion of Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy. Again you can read a longer blog post about the LILAC conference, but the keynotes were real highlights for me. Alison Head, from Project Information Literacy in the US is undertaking extensive research into the research practices of students across American universities. Meanwhile, Bill Thompson, the BBC journalist provided a fascinating talk about why we all need to better understand computing, apps and code to be truly empowered as we use technology. With this in mind I am seriously thinking of signing up to coding for beginners course and read with interest about the Coding for Women initiative. Before I end, I just want to say, I don’t think coding is a digital literacy, but I do think an understanding of the digital information environment is vital.