ICEL Penang 2010 July

Overall impression of this conference was of serious attempts to further research but at many levels. A lovely place to try out ideas for doctoral students and early researchers, many evaluative papers on innovations – new to the authors at least – and some papers of note.

Professor Laura Czerniewicz


from the Centre for Educational Technology at University of Cape Town as ever produced some depth as she challenged notions of digital natives and delivered a broad, well researched view of different kinds of people engaging with learning technologies in different ways. Strangely they were all keen. What was it about the questions or the students questioned which made them all keen to use technologies for learning (whether this was unconsciously, purposefully or aspirationally)? Why so very different from the range of academic staff with whom we work?

Khitam Schraim of Birzeit University, Palestine presented a paper on factors affecting the adoption of elearning amongst HE instructors. Again the TAM appeared – very common in this kind of research. Once again most of those reviewed had a positive attitude towards elearning technologies – to do with those interviewed, the study, the interviewer? Although individual characteristics and technology factors were in play, organisational factors were found in this study to be dominant – particularly political will and the capacity of the institution to respond to technological transition. there is no doubt this could affect many institutions – the signals they put out to staff will determine some degree of willingness to engage with technologies.

Political perspectives cropped up too in Raghav Sampangi (et al)’s work on mobile learning in India. Mobile learning, as distinct from that requiring laptops and desktops in institutional structures, can be evolutionary – the paper suggests this can deal with outreach particularly well, contributing to the growth of knowledge in a wide range of areas in society,  including education, agriculture and industry. As a way of empowering people with access just to a cellphone rather than necessarily those living in centres of population where HE is readily available, they make a good point.

Kalsom Salleh, from the Universiti Tecknologi, Malaysia, endeavoured to bring together the spheres of e-learning and knowledge management with the idea of a learning organisation. Rather than revisit Pedler et al, Kalsom focussed on the role of tacit knowledge in both KM and learning organisations, using technologies to build knowledge assets and share them.

Other themes included the continuing concern about take-up or readiness for online learning on the part of both staff and students – this was close to the theme of my paper “Staff who say no to technology enhanced learning”, in which I explored a range of teaching beliefs and other factors which may affect adoption. (PowerPoint is on, paper is in conference proceedings).

Sue Greener, Andrea Gorra, Cecilia Mercado and Marlena Kruger

 There was also an endless review of the best way to get people using asynchronous discussion (the best tips continue to be around specific tasks or group led use of the technology rather than attempting to use this for teaching), and much discussion of what students really want through their mobiles (seems to be results, weather news, opening times, parking news etc – though they are all the time receiving learning content too, just not classifying it as “learning”).

Right now, I have to figure out as a teacher how to get students and staff to see mobiles as legitimate in the classroom in UK! As a researcher I have to figure out how to find funding to do the further research my paper points to. 

Great conference venue, lovely two days off afterwards to swim and sightsee, thanks to a lovely Chinese driver who helped me understand much more about Buddhism, especially the Penang favourite – the goddess of mercy..

Goddess of Mercy in Penang

2 Responses

  1. Dear Prof Sue

    Visit your blog (an interesting one!!!) through the website on ECEL 2011 in Brighton. It is nice to see my name & your positive comment of my paper (ICEL 2010, Penang) on your blog. Thanks once again. Also hope to meet you again in Brighton.

    Wishing you & family a Merry Christmas & a Happy and Prosperous Year ahead.

    Kaslom Salleh, Malaysia

    • Dear Kaslom Salleh, thank you for your recent comment – I do hope it may be possible to see you at an elearning conference again before too long. If there is any chance of your entering a paper for ECEL 2011 in Brighton, that would really be wonderful.
      My best wishes to you and your family for a brand new year

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