As a direct result of the chat I had last week with a fellow LT at Cardiff and because I’m now entering my third academic year as a Learning Technologist, it feels right and proper to join a relevant professional organisation: in this instance, the Association of Learning Technologists (ALT). This is something I have wanted to do for a while; I discussed it with my previous line manager when I first became an LT but despite his enthusiasm and belief that this was a good thing to do, the college budget (or lack thereof) precluded me from being able to join. (Yes, I suppose I could have paid 65 quid out of my own pocket, but spare cash always seems to be better set aside for more ‘fun’ stuff when you work long hours and need an occasional visit to your local branch of Wetherspoon’s to regroup.)
The fact that Plymouth University will only place someone in post as a Learning Technologist if they (among other things) are not only members of ALT, but hold Certified Member of ALT – or CMALT – status was one of the things that came to light in my collegiate chat last week. Browsing through the list of current CMALT holders I could find no mention of anyone at Cardiff currently having this status. I guess that pretty much all educational institutions expect their staff to update their skills and knowledge on an ongoing basis via Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and I like being among the first to do stuff like this, so after a chat with my new line manager (and not a little deja vu) I registered to become a certified member.
It’s not just an institutional requirement for staff to complete CPD: I would, at the risk of sounding foolhardy, say that it’s definitely worth doing as much as you can. Time constraints can make it, at best, tricky to fit in, but to reflect on one’s practice-to compile everything you have done, are doing and wish to do and to reflect on why at a holistic level – from the role of Learning Technologist to the institution as a whole – is bloody useful in terms of seeing what you’ve done, linking it to what you’re currently doing, and looking at where you (and your institution) may go. It’s oddly cathartic too.
Back to the business in hand. Certified membership of ALT involves putting together an ePortfolio of reflective texts with links to evidence peppered throughout. I decided to set up a second WordPress site and use this as the host for my ePortfolio. It’s pretty bare at the moment, but should start filling up in the next few weeks, so if you are interested, you can take a look by clicking here.