CPD & Innovation

Honorary Life Membership of the Association for Learning Technology

Left to right: Maren Deepwell (ALT CEO), Josie Fraser (Senior Technology Advisor, DCMS), Martin Weller (Professor of Open Education, Open University, and President of ALT).

I’m thrilled to have joined the list of luminaries including Diana Laurillard, Seb Schmoller, and Malcolm Read who have been awarded Honorary Life Membership by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT). ALT has played such an essential role in my development as a professional, and enabled me to meet and connect with so many amazing people (some of whom I’m looking forward to ending up in the edtech retirement castle with).

Thank you so much ALT!

ALT awards Honorary Life Membership to individuals whom ALT believes have made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the advancement of ALT’s aims for the development of learning technology in a regional, national or international context through research, practice, policy-development, leadership, or a combination of these.

During this year’s Annual General Meeting on 6 September 2017, Josie Fraser was recognised for her outstanding contribution by being awarded an Honorary Life Membership of ALT. Josie Fraser is a member of the UK Government’s National Technology Team, based in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Chair of the Board of Trustees for Wikimedia UK. She previously worked for Leicester City Council, on one of the UK’s largest and most accelerated school building programmes, and led on all aspects of technology for the programme. She also created the award winning DigiLit Leicester project to support and develop staff digital literacy.

Professor Martin Weller, President of ALT, commented, ‘What I most admire about Josie is that she really gets stuff done. In fact, if there was an ALT award for getting stuff done, she’d be a prime candidate. From setting up schools, chairing conferences, getting the UK ed tech blogging scene up and running, advising on cyberbullying to chairing Wikimedia UK,  it makes the rest of us look rather complacent. She has been hugely influential in the UK ed tech scene and has an international reputation as a thoughtful, practical, caring voice in ed tech.’

Reflecting on the award being made to only the second female recipient, with Professor Diana Laurillard being the first, Dr Maren Deepwell, chief executive of ALT, added, ‘Honorary Life Membership of ALT is designed to recognise individuals who have made a big impact over a long period of time, individuals who are role models and influencers with a vision that shows the path forward. Josie’s work spans different sectors, policy makers and practitioners across the UK and sets a hugely inspirational example of how the potential of Learning Technology can be harnessed to change things for the better. I am proud to see our community recognise her leadership and her achievements now and those yet to come.’

Speaking about the award, Josie Fraser said, ‘I’m overwhelmed to be honoured by ALT in this way. ALT sets the benchmark for professional practice in the field of educational technology, not just in the UK but internationally – so this is pretty much the highest accolade I could hope for. I’m extremely grateful to ALT for all the support the organisation has provided me with throughout my career, and to the wider ALT community for being a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. I’ll do my best to live up to the significant expectation the award confers, and continue to champion the ways in which educational technologists can help make positive, life-changing differences to people’s experiences of learning and education.’

Media Release: #OER17 The Politics of Open

Cross posted from OER17, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).

As we celebrate Open Education Week in the Year of Open, the OER17 Conference presents an opportunity for open practitioners, activists, educators and policy makers to come together as a community to reflect on ‘The Politics of Open’. The conference will be chaired by social and educational technologist and Wikimedia UK Trustee Josie Fraser, and Alek Tarkowski, Director of Centrum Cyfrowe, co-founder and coordinator of Creative Commons Poland.

This event will prompt participants from the UK and internationally to ask:

  • What are our current key challenges and strengths – locally, nationally, and  internationally?
  • What are our priorities – in terms of political governance, organisational and personal politics?
  • What are the changes that we want to effect together?

Co-chair Josie Fraser said: ‘This is a timely conference as governments and organisations across the globe look strategically at how open resources and open licensing can support access to education, reduce costs, help build capacity, and increase collaboration. There is still work to do in ensuring education funders, policy makers, leaders and practitioners understand the huge opportunity of open education. Open education advocates and activists have always put accessibility at the heart of their work – looking to support access to knowledge and resources for all, tackling issues of disability, discrimination and poverty head-on. This conference is an important meeting of all those working at the frontline of education, technology, and equality – exploring “the politics of open” at local, national, international level, as well as at the level of the personal.’

Alek Tarkowski, Co-Chair, said: ‘One of our goals is to look together at areas where our work on open education can extend beyond a focus on resources. An alternative focus on practices will surely be one of the main subjects of debate at our event, but we also hope to identify other such areas. One area that is of particular interest to me is copyright reform. Educational exceptions are one of the key issues debated during the ongoing copyright reform process in the European Union. From the perspective of “politics of open” we need to ask how development of Open Education and copyright reform advocacy can compliment each other.’

Over two days this event will bring together 170 participants running 100 sessions on all aspects of Open Education research and practice. Highlights within the programme are three keynote sessions with Maha Bali, American University in Cairo, Egypt, Lucy Crompton-Reid, Wikimedia, UK and Diana Arce, activist, artist and researcher, Germany.

Reflecting on the central importance of openness in education, Dr Maren Deepwell, chief executive of the Association for Learning Technology, said, ‘At a time when openness is being contested in so many contexts, it can feel like the inherently political dimension of Open Education dominates its enormous practical potential to help us meet the challenges we face in education. It is important to remember that taking an open approach through practice, resources, governance and policy is not a luxury. Instead, it is an efficient, effective and often empowering way for organisations to achieve their aims.’

For full details see https://oer17.oerconf.org/.

Press passes

If you would like a press pass to attend the conference, please contact Maren Deepwell, maren.deepwell@alt.ac.uk.

Notes for Editors

  1. ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) is a professional and scholarly association which brings together those with an interest in the use of Learning Technology. As the UK’s leading membership organisation in the Learning Technology field, we work to improve practice, promote research, and influence policy.
  2. OER17 is organised by ALT and volunteer members from across the community.
  3. About 2,300 individuals belong to ALT, as do ~ 200 organisations across education sectors in the UK and internationally.
  4. If you are writing about, blogging or sharing images and videos about the OER17 Conference using tools that support tagging, please use the tag #oer17.
  5. Our Sponsors are listed at https://oer17.oerconf.org/our-sponsors-supporters-and-exhibitors/.
  6. More information about the conference: https://oer17.oerconf.org/.
  7. Association for Learning Technology, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX3 0BP Tel: +44 (0)1865 484 125, URL: http://www.alt.ac.uk/
  8. ALT is a Registered Charity in the UK, number: 1160039

Upcoming Keynote & Information Literacy Awards: Lilac 2017

The LILAC annual conference is for librarians and information professionals who teach information literacy skills, are interested in digital literacies and who want to improve the information seeking and evaluation skills of all library users.

The 2017 conference takes place in beautiful Swansea, 10-12 April.

I’m delighted to be judging the Credo Digital Award for Information Literacy again. The award recognises the work of an individual or group, from any sector, who have produced a creative, innovative, and effective digital educational resource for promoting Information Literacy. Entries are due in by 5pm (GMT) on the 3rd March, so get your nominations in asap.

I’ll also be delivering the opening keynote, and I’ll be speaking about Open Educational Practice – what it means and why it is important to every one who supports information literacy:

Libraries as spaces and librarians and information professionals play a critical role in ensuring access to knowledge and information, and supporting meaningfully access that information. As such, they are on the front line of open education.

Josie Fraser, an educational technologist who has worked with schools, colleges, universities and government in relation to organisational and staff development, will look at why open education is a key component of information literacy. Her keynote will explore what open educational practice is, and look at how libraries and information professionals are leading the way.

Drawing on her experience of working with educators to support their understanding and use of open educational resources, she will look at the difference that an explicit incorporation of open education can make to learners and professional practice. Understanding and engaging with open education can help librarians and info professionals better support the information literacy of ‘info civilians’ and organisational aspirations with respect to making innovative and effective use of technologies.

At a time when keeping the library open is becoming more and more difficult, Josie will argue that understanding open practice represents a necessity for everyone concerned with information literacy education.


Open Education Week 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 12.18.16I’ve been supporting a range of great open education initiatives, contributing to this years Open Education Week activities and celebrations.

The new Learning and Work Institute  – an independent policy and research organisation, which joins the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and the Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion – held an OER Jam in Leicester, as part of the Institute’s work on Open Education Resources (OERs) across Europe. The face-to-face event supported adult education practitioners in using OERs for teaching and learning.  The Jam was designed as a follow-up to the OERUP! Online training  – with supports people working in adult education, and can be started at any time.

I provided the wrap up talk for the day, focusing on the work we’ve carried out with schools across Leicester.

In March, I lead a webinar for the European Commission’s ExplOERer Project, which is designed to promote sustainability through OER adoption and re-use in professional practice. My talk supported week 2 of the project’s online Learning to (Re)Use Open Educational Resources course, and focused on introducing Creative Commons licences, and thinking through some key questions in relation to beginning to use and create OER.

I was also delighted to be invited to keynote at Opening Educational Practices in Scotland‘s fourth annual forum – #OEPSforum4. Following in the footsteps of some amazing open education luminaries – including Laura Czerniewicz, Lorna Campbell, and Alison LittleJohn, my talk focused on the mainstreaming of OER in education represented by the everyday use of sites such as Wikipedia and TES Resources, and approaches to making sustainable cultural and organisational change that put open education at the heart of professional practice.

In my next post, I’ll write in greater detail about the key challenges to centring OER in education practice across the sectors I outlined in the #OEPSforum4 talk, and how we can overcome these.


DigiLit Leicester – project roundup

What is DigiLit Leicester?

The award winning DigiLit Leicester project ran as collaboration between Leicester City Council’s Building Schools for the Future ProgrammeDe Montfort University and 23 of the city’s secondary mainstream and SEN schools, between 2012-2016. The project focused on supporting secondary school teaching and teaching support staff in developing their digital literacy knowledge, skills and practice, and their effective use of digital tools, environments and approaches in their work with learners.

The Digilit Leicester project was designed to ensure school staff and learners get the most out of any investment in technology being made within education, enabling schools to make best use of technology to meet their aspirations for transforming educational provision. It supported schools in making sure every learner can benefit from an education that is supported and enhanced by the use of technology to raise achievement and aspiration, connect communities and open opportunities.

In consultation with the partner schools, the project team created a Digital Literacy Framework, linking digital literacy competencies and priorities with secondary school practice. This framework was then used to build an online survey, designed to support staff in reflecting on their use of technology to support teaching and learning, and to provide schools and the Council with information to inform our planning and next steps. A summary of the initial phase of the project, including the content of the DigiLit Leicester framework and survey, can be found in the Initial Project Report.

The survey was first open between April and July 2013, during which time 450 members of teaching and teaching support staff participated. More information about this phase of the project, including the survey methodology and findings, can be found in the 2013 Survey Report.

Recommendations for areas of focus and activity were developed in line with the strengths and gaps indicated by the 2013 survey findings. These recommendations were used to drive and frame a range of opportunities for staff and schools. During this period, the DigiLit team led on six events and projects, and 21 school-led projects were undertaken. More information about this phase of activity, including accounts of each project, can be found in the Project Activities Report.

Key reports and papers

DigiLit Leicester: Initial Project Report (digital literacy framework and survey)- June 2013

This paper collects together the secondary school digital literacy framework and survey content created in consultation with Leicester BSF schools.

DigiLit Leicester – initial report June 2013 (Word)

DigiLit Leicester – initial report June 2013 (PDF)

Fraser, J., Atkins, L. and Hall, R. (2013) DigiLit Leicester: Initial Project Report, Leicester: Leicester City Council (CC BY-NC 3.0)

DigiLit Leicester: 2013 Survey Results – October 2013

This report provides a high-level summary of the city-wide findings of the DigiLit Leicester survey, contributing to a clearer understanding of the current digital literacy confidence levels of secondary school staff, and recommendations that the project team will be taking forward within Leicester schools.

DigiLit Leicester – 2013 Survey Results October 2013 (Word)

DigiLit Leicester – 2013 Survey Results October 2013 (PDF)

Atkins, L., Fraser, J., and Hall, R. (2013) DigiLit Leicester: 2013 Survey Results. Leicester: Leicester City Council (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Defining a self-evaluation digital literacy framework for secondary educators: the DigiLit Leicester Project – Research in Learning Technology – April 2014

Despite the growing interest in digital literacy within educational policy, guidance for secondary educators in terms of how digital literacy translates into the classroom is lacking. As a result, many teachers feel ill-prepared to support their learners in using technology effectively. The DigiLit Leicester project created an infrastructure for holistic, integrated change, by supporting staff development in 15 the area of digital literacy for secondary school teachers and teaching support staff. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how the critique of existing digital literacy frameworks enabled a self-evaluation framework for practitioners to be developed. Crucially, this framework enables a co-operative, partnership approach to be taken to pedagogic innovation. Moreover, it enables social and ethical issues 20 to underpin a focus on teacher-agency and radical collegiality inside the domain of digital literacy. Thus, the authors argue that the shared development framework constitutes a new model for implementing digital literacy aimed at transforming the provision of secondary education across a city.

Research In Learning Technology article – April 10 2014

Hall, R., Atkins, L. and Fraser, J. (2014) Defining a self-evaluation digital literacy framework for secondary educators: the DigiLit Leicester project. Research in Learning Technology, vol.22: 21440

DigiLit Leicester: Project Activities Report – May 2014

This report collates activities that have taken place across Leicester between January 2013 and April 2014, some of which are currently ongoing. During this period, the DigiLit team led on six events and projects, and 21 school-led projects were undertaken. It is designed to share the processes, outcomes and benefits of the work that has been undertaken, and concludes with recommendations for the next round of activity and planning, drawing on lessons learnt.

DigiLit Leicester – Project Activities Report May 2014 (Word)

DigiLit Leicester – Project Activities Report May 2014 (PDF)

Atkins, L., Fraser, J. and Hall, R. (2014) DigiLit Leicester: Project Activities Report, Leicester: Leicester City Council (CC BY-NC 3.0)

DigiLit Leicester – Project Activities Short Report May 2014 (Word)

DigiLit Leicester – Project Activities Short Report May 2014 (PDF)

Atkins, L., Fraser, J. and Hall, R. (2014) DigiLit Leicester: Project Activities Short Report, Leicester: Leicester City Council (CC BY-NC 3.0)

DigiLit Leicester: 2014 Survey Results – September 2014

This report provides a high-level summary of the city-wide findings of the 2014 DigiLit Leicester survey, enabling comparisons against last year’s findings and a review of the recommendations that the project team will be taking forward within Leicester schools.

DigiLit Leicester – 2014 Survey Results October 2014 (Word)

DigiLit Leicester – 2014 Survey Results October 2014 (PDF)

Atkins, L., Fraser, J., and Hall, R. (2014) DigiLit Leicester: 2014 Survey Results. Leicester: Leicester City Council (CC BY-NC 3.0)