Talks in 2020

Just for personal reflection I thought I would go through the talks I gave in 2020. To be honest I wasn’t expecting there to be as many as this for obvious reasons.

January – Trendy TEL: Signals from the ALT Annual Survey, community developments and getting recognition for your TEL expertise

This talk was presented at the IT Sligo Staff e-Learning Symposium on January 16, 2020. I would break this talk into two parts: the initial findings from the ALT Annual Survey Report 2020; followed by recent resources from the ALT community which I felt could support staff in TEL adoption. No recording but you can view slides

It was nice to return to Sligo following a visit in 2017 for ILTA’s EdTech conference that year. Had I known what was to follow this year I would have perhaps spent more time in Sligo instead of the flying visit, but a big thank you to Gavin Clinch for the invite and warm welcome.

February – Human Data Interaction … and spreadsheets: Retaking ownership in the age of surveillance

In February I had the honour of speaking at a @HDINework workshop in Edinburgh for ALT with my boss Maren Deepwell. The purpose of the workshop was to answer the question:

How do we support and empower all aspects of society to function in a world where almost every aspect of our lives results in data trails? This might include questions around literacy, power, access to resources, and responses to surveillance capitalism

HDI Network

For this I wanted to share my own personal journey interacting with data. As part of this I wanted to share my personal journey interacting with data using spreadsheets and Google Sheets. 

One of the few presentations this year that I was also to blog about. You can read more about this talk and view slides.

March – Voice First: Developing Conversational Interfaces In Google Sheets – SheetsCon2020

In March I was delighted to be able to speak at the inaugural SheetsCon conference organised by Ben Collins. The idea behind the talk was to highlight that since Visicalc, the first dedicated  spreadsheet software released in 1979, that while there have been advances in capabilities the way we interact with data remains predominantly menu driven. In this talk I wanted to highlight how voice and conversational interfaces can be used to change the way we can all interact with spreadsheets. A recording of the session is available via The Collins School of Data (free registration is required) and slides are here.

April – ALT Online Events: sharing expertise

Following the late move of the OER20 conference to an online only event and given the number of other organisations facing similar challenges due to Covid-19 as part of my day job at ALT I was asked to contribute to a webinar ‘How we run an online conference: ALT shares expertise’: 

In this webinar ALT senior staff Martin Hawksey and Maren Deepwell will share their expertise on how we run online conferences, lessons learnt and common considerations if you are about to embark on this yourself.

As part of the session I included some of the conference data wrangling we do using Google Sheets. As part of this I shared some of the ways we keep our published programme up-to-date by looking up data in a master spreadsheet and even how we published a live donations widget. Here are the published slides and a recording of the session

June – All about Apps Script – Cloud Talks 24hr Edition 

In June I got a request to join the ‘24hrs of Google Cloud Talks by DevRel’ to provide an introduction to Google Apps Script. I’ve done a number of similar talks over the years and for this variation I wanted to include some short code examples to reinforce how easy you can do a lot with very little. The format of this event was slightly different to other online events I’ve done in that presenters were asked to submit a pre-recorded talk which was broadcasted followed by live Q&A. 

To be honest I’m slightly pissed off with Google that subsequent to the event they have dropped my talk from the on demand catch-up for the event without any explanation. Fortunately as it was a pre-record I was able to publish my own recording (embedded below) and slides are also available.    

December – Voice driven interfaces & beyond 

Last talk of the year was for the University of York Collaborative Tools event. This was an evolution of the ‘Voice First: Developing Conversational Interfaces In Google Sheets’ talk earlier in the year but broadened out to consider conversational interfaces, chatbots and virtual agents within an educational context. As part of this I also wanted to address the ethical implications and intrinsic biases in the machine learning models used behind the scenes. 

Here are the slides for the talk (a recording might be available in the new year). As part of this talk I did a test of a modified version of Sourabh Choraria’s Sending data from a webcaptioner.com channel webhook to Google Sheets with Google Apps Script. The result is linked to in the slides … as you will see the resulting transcript isn’t that great. Not entirely sure if this was because of a technical problem like my mic being too low, but I’m interested in doing further tests.

Not entirely sure what 2021 will bring talk wise, you’ll just have to watch this space :)