Open Thinkering


Tag: Donald Clark

A response to Donald Clark’s #altc2010 keynote

I’ve put this here just in case Donald doesn’t approve my comment over at his blog.

Donald, I was there in the audience at #altc2010 and, to be fair, was one of the ones giving you some stick. I was bitterly disappointed with both the content and condescending manner of the keynote. Having followed your work over the last few years I thought this was a real shame.

To respond to the points you make in your post:

1. You don’t create a ‘sense of urgency’ by criticising something and not pointing to any solutions. You were asked twice in the Q&A to do so yet merely said that it was ‘obvious’ there were a range of options. Well ‘obviously’ not!

2. Evidence to most people, including me, involves more than sticking up a few book covers and a graph. I felt, along with many people in the backchannel, that you were presenting opinion as fact. I’ll cite two examples: your criticism of the Socratic method and Maslow.

3. You don’t have to ‘cut out’ to tweet whilst listening to a keynote. I, along with everyone else there, was perfectly capable of forming an opinion in 140 characters whilst listening to you. It’s not rocket science.

4. People were annoyed by your swearing because it seemed a desperate attempt at some kind of credibility. As one tweeter put it: ‘serious dad tries to impress hipster audience’

5. You criticised *all* Physics lecturers based on your own, narrow, experiences. You did likewise with schoolteachers because you’re a school governor. Having worked in schools up until this year, I found your undifferentiated criticism and lack of nuance unjustifiable.

As you well know, the opening keynote sets the tone for the conference. I’m not sure it was the best tone to set.

The 3 most important things I learned at ALT-C 2010

I’ve been at the Association of Learning Technologists’ Annual Conference (ALT-C) for the past few days. More detail on the sessions I attended can be found at my conference blog.

1. Presentation skills are extremely important

There’s some wonderful stuff going on out there, some great research and some fantastic theories. But people really do need to work on how they present their findings. There was much to disagree about in Donald Clark’s ranty, profanity-laden opening keynote, but finding ways other than the lecture to deliver stuff was something about which he was spot-on.

2. People eventually get the respect they deserve.

Those who plug away, roll the dice, and tirelessly promote something beyond ‘their job’ are eventually noticed. Of course, that’s not the reason they do what they do, which makes it all the better. Kevin McLaughlin and Cristina Costa, people I consider an integral part of my Twitter network, shared the prize of ALT Learning Technologist of the Year. I couldn’t be happier for them! 😀

3. It’s who you know not what you know

I used to think that the phrase “It’s not who you know, it’s what you know” was a bad thing. Not at all, it’s how people come together, stand on the shoulders of giants and achieve amazing things. Of course, there’s always going to be exceptions and those who use it for nefarious purposes, but on the whole people in education are good eggs.