Learning Technologies 2013: Tune into the back channel

It’s that time of year again. No sooner have the Christmas festivities finished then it’s the end of January and time for Europe’s (if not the world’s) largest event focused on organisational learning and development. Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills 2013 kicks off next week and I am privileged to be working with Don Taylor and the organisers to bring you a back channel  that is worthy of such a great conference and exhibition.

In the first of several blog posts that will come over the next week, during the event itself and afterwards, I wanted to let you know a little bit more about what we’re up to and who to follow so you can get the most out of it. That’s whether you’re attending the conference, the exhibition or following from afar. There are so many international members of the LSG who can’t be with us, as well as those in the UK who can’t be there, but we’re aiming to help you enjoy it and bring you the very best insights and coverage.

The back channel

I’ll be live blogging from the event via the LSG site so make sure you stay tuned. Anyone can join the LSG so if you’re not already a member, sign up here. 

There’ll be insights from attendees and speakers, videos, summaries and resources from the event. Hopefully it will become a point of reference and also for reflection once we’re all back at our desk. The main place of interaction will be on Twitter. You don’t have to have a Twitter account to follow the back channel, just search for www.twitter.com/#LT13UK.

However! And I would say this, but I’d encourage you to sign up for Twitter. Even if you only start by following what is happening at the event. I know so many people who now get so much value from being a part of the interactions and conversations that happen on Twitter. It’s a great opportunity to reach out worldwide and build a PLN (Personal Learning Network) – and this is such a good excuse to take your first steps into the Twitterverse.

As well as following on Twitter, you can also register on Lanyrd as a way of connecting with other attendees here.

The team

I’m joined by a fantastic team of learning professionals this year who’ll be helping me cover what’s going on during sessions and across the event as a whole. Closer to the time I’ll post a full list of who’ll be covering which session, but for now, if you’re not following the people below on Twitter, start now so you’re all ready for next week.

Don Taylor (Conference Chairman) - @DonaldHTaylor
Learning Technologies official feed - @LT13UK
Me - @kategraham23
Nic Laycock - @alc47
Stephanie Dedhar - @stephaniededhar
Alex Watson - @s0ngb1rd
Joan Keevill - @designsonlearning
Kim George - @kimsgeorge
Perry Timms - @perrytimms
Jon Ingham - @joningham
Susie Finch - @susiefinch
Sam Burrough - @burrough
Ollie Gardner - @olliegardener

Also, check out:
David Kelly - @LnDDave (curating resources all the way from the USA!)

Martin Couzins - @martincouzins (who runs the really useful L&D media start-up LearnPatch)

Each of us will be in different sessions throughout the conference, live tweeting and bringing you all the latest.

To follow the action

To focus in on what’s happening follow the hashtag #LT13UK. And if you’re tweeting (whether you’re there or not!) use #LT13UK in your tweets. The team and I would love to be able to bring your thoughts and questions into sessions even if you’re not able to be there. So if you’re following the back channel, don’t be scared to pipe up and join in!

So we can cut through some of the ‘noise’ on Twitter, each conference session will also have its own individual hashtag so you can just tune into what Stephen Heppell or Tony Buzan or any of the other speakers are saying. Again, details will be posted here so you can plan in advance which sessions you most want to follow.

And if you’re attending the event, the organisers have arranged for big screens all around the exhibition and the conference so you can follow the back channel and see who’s saying what in real time.

Official mobile app

For the second year, there is an official Learning Technologies mobile app available. Built by Epic, the app is available on iOS, Android and BlackBerry. You can download it free to get the latest information on conference sessions, exhibitors, free seminars, speakers and more.

Other information

More is to come over the next few days, but on top of conference sessions, visiting the exhibition and catching up with your fellow L&D professionals, here are some activities taking place that you might want to check out:

  • Towards Maturity eXchanges: a unique, free opportunity to get up close and personal with the speakers at this year’s event brought to you by @TowardsMaturity and @TrainingJournal Check out this link for more details
  • Free seminars: If you’re not going to the conference, there are some brilliant free seminars in both the Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills seminar theatres. Visit here and here for the full schedule

Practical stuff

As this is my tenth year of attending Learning Technologies (I am getting old!) I thought I’d drop in some practical information about the event, the venue and the surrounding area:

  • Olympia tube station – is now only open on weekends. It might be worth checking out bus services or potentially walking from Earl’s Court (District Line) or Shepherd’s Bush (Central Line). Here’s a link to Transport for London’s excellent journey planner
  • Food and drink – if you’re attending the conference then you don’t need to worry about this but it’s relevant if you’re attending the exhibition. There is a cafe and places to buy tea and coffee within Olympia itself, but it’s on the pricey side and the selection isn’t great. If you’re planning to hit the exhibition and make a day of it, there’s a Tesco Express across the road where you can load up with snacks to take in with you. There are also several smaller cafes, a couple of Persian restaurants, a pub and a Pizza Express just outside
  • Opening hours – The doors open at 10.00am and it’s not unusual for there to be quite a queue outside on the first day. If you haven’t already registered for the exhibition, it’s worth doing this in advance to speed up your entry. Doors close daily at 5pm.

If you’ve got any additional information you think would be useful to your fellow attendees, please do leave it in the comments below. I’ll be posting more over the next few days building up to the event with details of speakers (including Twitter handles and where to find them) and conference sessions (including individual hashtags) and more details on how we can make the most of the back channel together.

See you (in person or online!) next week

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