“If the walls could talk”

These are my slides from my session at the ALT Conference in Liverpool.

My twenty minute session I introduced the delegates to the concept of the intelligent learning space, one that could learn from the experiences of staff and learners in that space.

If the spaces we use for teaching and learning could speak to us, what would they say? The places and spaces across colleges and universities are some of our biggest investments. But are we using them effectively to enhance and enrich the learning journey? Does the environment in which we learn have impact on the learning journey?

There is an institutional memory within those walls that is inaccessible and lost every time the learners and teachers leave the room. The room doesn’t remember what worked well or what could have been better. The spaces, if they could store experiences and feedback, would know what worked well, and what didn’t, for different learning activities. What if, we could we use data gathered from teachers and students, as well as space usage, to inform and improve teaching and learning?

The hyperbole around AR, VR, artificial intelligence and the internet of things as created a cynical bubble among some staff and institutional decision makers, especially those that have been burned by previous tech fads. But it may be time to put aside the cynicism that this kind of hype generates and look seriously at how we can take advantage of these emerging technologies to improve the student experience, research and the management of our campuses (Clay 2017).

I also covered some of the more “creepy” elements that often arise when you start talking about gathering data about people (as well as spaces). I spoke about the importance of consent and openness when it comes to data tracking.

I presented six scenarios;

  • using environmental data to improve learning
  • using historical activity data to inform teaching practice
  • delivering appropriate interventions based on analysis of existing experiences
  • using the Internet of Things to inform teaching and learning practice
  • using artificial intelligence to plan lessons and room layouts
  • using artificial intelligence tools to influence and support learning, teaching and assessment

However in a twenty minute session we didn’t really have the time and space to discuss these in detail, we may explore these in more depth on the blog at a later date.

There were some interesting useful comments from the room (and on the Twitter) and these were captured in a Storify.

Overall an interesting and useful session.


Sclater, N. (2017). Code of practice for learning analytics | Jisc. [online] Jisc. Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/code-of-practice-for-learning-analytics [Accessed 20 Mar. 2017].

Clay, J. (2017). Could we use artificial intelligence to help manage learning spaces and improve teaching and learning? | Intelligent campus. [online] Intelligentcampus.jiscinvolve.org. Available at: https://intelligentcampus.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2016/11/07/could-we-use-artificial-intelligence-to-help-manage-learning-spaces-and-improve-teaching-and-learning/ [Accessed 20 Mar. 2017].

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