The ALT Lab Group

 

Several years ago, I attended an ‘Open Day’ of presentations about the work of members of the ALT (Association for Learning Technology) Lab Group. The ALT Lab Group was a sort of network of Technology Enhanced Learning-focused departments and centres in Higher Education across the UK. As a newbie Research Assistant in Educational Technology at the time, it was a very interesting and stimulating day, and helped extend my knowledge of the main research hubs in the field in the UK and their work at the time.

The ALT Lab Group member that I used to work for, the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET), sadly no longer exists at the University of Cambridge. But what of the Lab Group now? The Lab Group website, http://www.labgroup.org.uk/, was last updated in 2008, archived in 2011, and the ALT website describes the Lab Group as ‘dormant’. On the Lab Group site, only two groups’ RSS feeds remain active. The site lists the following members:

  • Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET), University of Cambridge (no longer exists)
  • Chimera, University of Essex (no longer exists)
  • Core-UK; http://www.core-ed.org.uk/
  • Futurelab. Now part of the National Foundation for Educational Research. It looks like the merger is providing a home for existing Futurelab work rather than undertaking new, active research; @TheNFER
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET), the Open University; @ietatou
  • INSPIRE, Anglia Ruskin. Now Anglia Learning and Teaching; @AngliaLTA
  • Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT), Bristol University (no longer exists)
  • Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University; @kmiou
  • Learning Lab, University of Wolverhampton; http://www.learninglab.org.uk/
  • Learning Technology Research Institute, London Metropolitan University; link no longer works, not sure whether it exists anymore
  • London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education – still exists but has split from Birkbeck and recently rebranded as ‘UCL Knowledge Lab’, @uclknowledgelab
  • Learning Science Research Institute (LSRI), Nottingham University; no Twitter account (uses hashtag #LSRI) but webpage at http://www.lsri.nottingham.ac.uk/
  • Scottish Centre for Research On-Line Learning and Assessment, University of Edinburgh; was funded between 2001 and 2004 according to this link. The Centre for Research in Digital Education is the current home of learning technology and related research at Edinburgh; no Twitter account but website at http://www.de.ed.ac.uk/
  • Serious Games Institute, Coventry University; @SGIcoventry
  • Urban Learning Space; website appears to be defunct

So although I can see how social media has made it easier to keep up with news from these centres, awareness of where the key research hubs are is useful information for those new to the field. For the groups who have Twitter accounts, I’ve created a list on Twitter as a handy way of keeping up-to-date; you can find it here: https://twitter.com/katy_jordan/lists/alt-labs . It’s been many years since the list above was originally constructed though; who am I missing? Where are the other ‘ALT Labs’ of today?

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