One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds" and my reflections on this year's ALT-C conference #altc2011 have brought me back to Sir Ken's explanation of our existence as "suspended in webs of significance". In our quest for ever deeper understanding of our specialised field he points to the danger of our losing sight of the bigger picture, and the importance of maintaining open networks that support collaboration and innovation. At the conference Seb made it clear that ALT's doors are open to all who wish to share their insights into the use of technology in teaching and learning, whatever their professional context: published authors, lauded innovators, movers and shakers mixed with web developers, administrators, lecturers and e-learning advisors. The mix is becoming increasingly international and interactions more public through the use of social networking and web 2.0 tools. This broadening of access will raise wider awareness of the bigger questions in our area of technology use and can only help to inform decision making.
From a personal perspective I realised that I found my "tribe" at ALT-C this year, or at least one of the tribes that make up a rather complex identity as a linguist, teacher, teacher educator and learning technologist. (not to forget - mum, wife, homemaker, kitchen sink philosopher, lapsed gym bunny etc etc) and that will be a source of support and inspiration as we start another busy year. @amcunningham's words on managing our digital identity, Sandra Fitton-Wilde's frank exposure of technology resistance amongst some learner groups are just some examples of the insights that will feed directly into my activities. Thanks ALT-C for charging my batteries :)