ALT Northern Ireland Members Group Launch

Date: 8th March 2018, 9.30am to 2.00pm

Venue: Ulster University, Belfast Campus

Please join us at this launch in Belfast for networking, inspiration and refreshments.

Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive of ALT, will be cutting the virtual ribbon on the Northern Ireland Members Group in this half day event. The morning will showcase educational technology across Ireland and across sectors. As this is also International Women’s Day we will celebrate women’s role in the field.

Confirmed speakers include Claire Dewhirst (Queen’s University Belfast), Catherine Bruen (Irish Learning Technology Association), Diane Hazlett (Ulster University), Stephen McClean (Ulster University) and Paul McElvaney (Learning Pool).

Please register here and contact Clare Thomson or Craig Dooley with any queries. The full programme will be posted on this site during February.

Event Programme (PDF, 106KB)

We really look forward to meeting you in March.

Dates for your diary: CMALT Workshops

Professional Development for staff working with technology in learning

Announcing the first two CMALT workshop dates:

Wednesday 29th November 2017 – 12.00-14.00

Monday 18th December 2017 – 12.00-14.00

These CMALT workshops will provide information about the portfolio-based scheme together with practical support and guidance from those who have successfully been through the process. Each session will be a blend of guest speaker and practical hands-on work for your portfolio. The sessions will not only focus on your professional development but will afford the opportunity to get together as a Community of Practice with colleagues across Northern Ireland and importantly across disciplines and categories. Who knows what exciting projects will emerge in the coming year.

We warmly invite people whose work involves learning technology – learning technologists, academics, librarians – to join us and explore how to have their experience and capabilities certified by peers. You can read more about CMALT on the ALT website.

The first two sessions will take place in the Flexible Teaching Space in Queen’s University which will allow us to explore technology and learning in a collaborative, informal space.

Apply for a place

In order to book a place please submit a short paragraph outlining your reasons for wanting to work towards CMALT to c.thomson@qub.ac.uk by Wednesday 22nd November 2017.

We look forward to seeing you soon

Craig Dooley and Clare Thomson

CMALT Holders and Assessors

CMALT Digital Badge

Queen’s University Joins ALT

QUB Lanyon building with ALT sticker

Queen’s University Belfast has just announced that it has joined ALT as an organisational member.  This means that Queen’s staff can join ALT for free as associated members and gain access to all the benefits of the ALT community. Associate members also receive a discount when applying for CMALT accreditation.  So if any new Queen’s ALT members are interested in going for CMALT accreditation, keep an eye out for our ALT NI CMALT-writing workshops later this Autumn.

Find out more about the CMALT accreditation. 

Register as an ALT Associate Member
*use your QUB email address for registration

Virtually attending ALT-C 2017 in Belfast

This semi-formal event was one of the first the Northern Ireland Members Group organised for a wider audience. As a nascent group it was wonderful to see the turn out for the virtual attendance of the annual conference on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

Each day had many contrasting elements, the different keynotes and the different locations being the most prominent. Tuesday took place in the Moot Court in the new Law Building at Queen’s University, and we all got an inside view of the technology available within the space. The streaming of the sessions was of superb quality and there was barely a break in transmission throughout.

Wednesday in contrast took place in a creative space in the new Ulster University Belfast campus. This room was overflowing with various furniture – desk chairs to sofas – tools and technology woven seamlessly in, highlighting its flexible, collaborative potential.

Across the two days we had a mix of learning technologists, academics and librarians which was one of the elements that we were most keen to promote – a connection across all areas of staff. Discussions after live sessions were rich and stories and experiences swapped.

It is something that we would definitely consider doing again because whilst we could have watched the sessions in private at our desks there were definite benefits to be had as a group, such as:

  • new connections were made
  • new projects were proposed
  • different viewpoints were shared
  • stories and experiences were shared
  • making the effort to specifically be away from the desk in a different location afforded greater focus on the talks

Having learned from the experience, however, we would potentially change the length of the days and perhaps focus on having a breakfast meet up specifically for the keynotes as people found it difficult to attend for the whole day. Also the live streaming programme was liable to change and unlike live attendees we couldn’t change session if a live talk was removed from the session.

Discussions were so good it was difficult to be in multiple spaces at once so we still have a lot to catch up on such as the #LTHEchat Storify and Virtually Connections sessions.

Many thanks to all who helped organise the days, who attended and of course a very special thanks to both institutions for coffee, scones and bacon rolls.

Finally a huge congratulations to our committee member Richard Beggs, who gained third place in the Learning Technologist of the Year Awards. What an achievement and an inspiration for us all!

Virtual Sessions for ALT-NI Meet

For those of you who are joining us to virtually attend the ALT conference this year, this post pulls together the sessions that are going to be live streamed on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th.

The full conference programme can be found on the ALT website in textual format and of course don’t forget the hashtag #altc to share your experiences.

If you haven’t yet registered for this FREE event please do, as it gives us an accurate number for coffee/tea: Tuesday at Queen’s register here and Wednesday at Ulster register here.


Tuesday session 1: 9.45am


Tuesday Session 2: 1.30pm


Tuesday Session 3: 3.30pm


Wednesday Session 1: 9.30am


Wednesday Session 2: 1.00pm


Wednesday Session 3: 2.20pm

Looking forward to seeing you there

ALT NI Steering Group

Join us in Belfast to virtually attend ALT-C 2017

ALT sticker
Greater than the sum of our parts

The countdown is well and truly underway for the upcoming annual ALT Conference in Liverpool, from 5 – 7 September 2017. However, if you are unable to get to Liverpool from sunny Ireland we have organised a free virtual get together for the 5 and the 6 September. We will be meeting at 9.00am each day to register, make introductions and get some ideas of what people would like to gain from the day. Then we will link in with the conference live stream from Mountford Hall.

Day 1: 5th September – venue Queen’s University Belfast – Moot Court, School of Law (Main Campus) – register here for free

KEYNOTE: Bonnie Stewart (at 9.45am)

Day 2: 6th September – University of Ulster, BA-03-028 (City Centre Campus) – register here for free

KEYNOTE: Sian Bayne (at 9.30am)

Each day will have the keynotes live streamed and in between sessions will be all about sharing practice, watching other live streamed sessions and networking over coffee and cake. In addition, it is the perfect opportunity to learn about the new learning spaces hosting the event each day; the Moot Court at Queen’s and the new purpose built Ulster University Belfast facilities.

Lunch will NOT be provided so this is a great chance to get out and explore the city and if you would like to pitch any ideas to the committee (we will ensure we stand out) for upcoming events or workshops then please let us know, preferably, in advance of the event so we can discuss as a wider group.

The event is very informal and everyone is welcome to stay or come and go over the two days but please do apply for the Eventbrite ticket(s) to give us an idea of numbers and to ensure you get access to the venues.

Looking forward to some lively edtech discussions before term kicks off. In the meantime check out the conference programme and keynote speaker information and don’t forget to join the conversation with the #altc hashtag throughout the conference.

Queries: Clare Thomson (Queen’s) at c.thomson@qub.ac.uk

JISC ConnectMore 17

pack and documents from the JISC Connect More event
JISC Connect More 17 pack

Paul Bartholomew, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Ulster University, kicked off proceedings at the JISC Connect More 17 event in Jordanstown last Thursday.  His keynote address explored some of the ways that the university were helping to prepare students and staff to become digitally ready.  

This focus on embedding digital capabilities through educational institutions continued throughout the day.  Sarah Knight and Lisa Gray ran two sessions in the morning looking at approaches to developing digital skills. I left each session with a pack of practical resources that will help me start conversations with staff and students about what digital skills they think are important. These sessions also reminded me that I’m not having enough conversations with staff and students about this!

Our newest ALT Northern Ireland member, Helen Dixon from Northern Regional College, led a session on microlearning and contributed to the final panel session.  Andy Jaffrey and Aine Macneill from Ulster University explored what digital skills we thought we may need in the future.  

Panel discussion with Helen Dixon, Sarah Knight
Helen Dixon on the panel at ConnectMore17

A massive thank you to the JISC team who provided such an informative and inspiring event – and for squeezing in a last minute presentation from Clare Thomson and myself to publicise the ALT Northern Ireland group.  

There’s a few more JISC Connect More events coming up in England – and if you have the opportunity I’d really recommend going.

Clare Thomson and Emma McAllister presenting at Connect More 17
Clare Thomson and Emma McAllister presenting at Connect More 17

CMALT – Professional Recognition in Learning Technologies

CMALT is the Certified Membership scheme of the Association for Learning Technology. It has over 300 successful portfolios and the two main aims for anyone involved with learning technology are to:

  • Have their experience and capabilities certified by peers
  • Demonstrate that they are taking a committed and serious approach to their professional development.

This short video gives an introduction to the process and the prospectus has further details.

The ALT website has a wealth of support and resources to help you get started on the process including webinar recordings, guidelines and submission dates. A recent addition is a list of successful portfolios for you to get inspiration from (you will need to have an ALT username and password to access these).

The portfolio

You will need to complete a portfolio which centres on the core areas of:

  1. Operational issues
  2. Teaching, learning and/or assessment processes
  3. The wider context
  4. Communication

An additional area is a specialist option chosen by you and an extensive list provides some examples for inspiration. For each of the areas you are required to describe your work (emphasising ‘I’ as opposed to ‘we’), provide evidence to support this description and a reflection on how the activity has impacted on your practice.

We are planning a workshop for the ALT NI group for late summer to provide further information on the portfolio and some practical work towards getting started with creating your own portfolio.

I would personally recommend the scheme and have kept an open diary of my journey, musing on my frustrations and the benefits I have reaped throughout the reflection process, part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

Register your interest with c.thomson@qub.ac.uk or via the ‘get involved’ form and keep an eye on the #altni hashtag on Twitter for more details.


Welcome to the ALT Northern Ireland Group

Welcome to the blog for the Northern Ireland Special Interest Group of the Association for Learning Technology!

Our group aims to create a network of learning technology enthusiasts – from developers to teachers – across Northern Ireland for the purpose of sharing information, good practice and support. We will hold events and get-togethers that will help foster connections among learning technologists in the area.  We also want to provide support for group members preparing for CMALT accreditation.

We’re quite a new ALT Special Interest Group, so we are looking for new members.  If you work in or are interested in Learning Technology in Northern Ireland, and you would like to join our ALT group, leave your details on our ‘Get Involved‘ page.


boy and girl browsing digital devices