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Curtis Bonk's blog entry about the Ramkhamhaeng conference

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Some new material on the Conference "Learning Theories vs. Technologies?" by Ramkhamhaeng University.

  1. Curtis Bonk writing about his Taiwan-Thailand trip where he gave a keynote speech at the Ramkhamhaeng University's E-Learning conference: http://travelinedman.blogspot.com/2006/12/3-ts-of-traveling-taiwan-taipei-and.html
  2. Seven image galleries from the conference, provided by RU (they really had a lot of fotografers out there!): http://www.info.ru.ac.th/album/2006-12-14/index.htm 

Some comments on Prof Bonk's reflections at the end:

#3. Many Asian countries look at e-learning as an area for economic growth and a way to spur educational change. It will be interesting to see which country will be the e-learning leader in 2010--will it be Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, or Thailand or someplace else? What will a leader role look like?
#4. Blended learning is a concept that is intriguing in Asia but still remains fuzzy with many misunderstandings. Someone could make money consulting on blended learning in Asia. Where will blended learning make its greatest impact--higher education, K-12 schools, government settings, or corporate training?

E-Learning is a big topic in Thailand, at universities, schools, etc. However,  quite often the concepts for it might be a little bit outdated as they focus too much on technology, and don't take in account pedagogical considerations enough. I think, this explains some questions during the conference to the keynote speakers about the human element. Many teachers are afraid they might be replaced by E-Learning, and many - to my experience - don't get hold on the fact that the teacher is still an important element in the learning process. Doing blended learning courses myself, I would rather argue that the role of the teacher is by far more important than the technology used because the technology can be exchanged with another technology while the teacher cannot. Learning just in front of the computer looses its motivating appeal, when the flash animations had been seen so often that they start to get boring or even annoying. Simpsons fans might remember Bonestorm for that. :-)

#10. The audiences for my talks vary widely. If a department advertizes the talk to the university, often people from other depts will not attend since they think it does not apply. If the university announces it, the people come from all over the campus. And it might be the same talk. Overall, the audiences have been varied and they have been packing the rooms. Many graduate students have been attending my talks which is good to see. I was fortunate to have nearly every talk go well in Taiwan and Thailand. For this I am highly thankful! May this momentum continue into the new year!!!!!

Especially in the university context, people working there tend to think within their department, often ignoring everything that concurrent departments do. 

Bonus observation: Presentations at the e-learning conference in Bangkok from Randy Garrison from the University of Calgary in Canada, Nada Dabbaugh from GMU in the USA, and Dr. Said Hadjerrouit of Agder University College in Norway (as well as my own) indicate that people are increasingly considering the pedagogy behind e-learning. This is an important trend for higher education. Nada, Randy, and Said each are developing pedagogical frameworks for reflecting on e-learning. One might take a look at their work. I wonder if IT people in universities will take notice or continue to simply ask IT questions and look at and promote computer log data for their answers. I also wonder if corporate people will also begin to look at pedagogy and online interaction instead of just seek technology solutions.

That's a very important point! Definitely, this should be sent into every e-learning-decider's inbox several times a day. This might be the first positive usage of spam. Wink