Praise and Pans for E-Learn Conference 2009

elearn2I just finished returning from the week long E-Learn 2009 in Vancouver. This was my first multi-institution, international conference and I experienced a few disappointments and surprises.   Most of the presentations I attended were traditional lecture style speeches using PowerPoint. The information was interesting for the most part but the delivery of this knowledge struck me as bone dry. Many people talked about constructivist knowledge building but the communication style of sharing these ideas was traditional lecture style transmission. Augh! In an effort to stay engaged with the speaker and the material I would use Twitter to send messages about key points, additional info, or pose questions. The ELearn Twitter channel was moderately active but not what you would expect from approximately four hundred attendees all involved in promoting technology tools.

The presentations that were very interesting and the most engaging included:

– all of the Round Table discussions

The Missing Link by Dina Kurzwell, Uniformed Services, Univ. of the Health Sciences, USA

Dina discussed the identity of instructional designers and the need for these experts to be more involved in the research process with the professors.

Keynote Speaker: John Bowermaster  Using Adventure and the Internet For Environmental and Global Education

John showed us not only just how boring our lives are but how to engage society in issues concerning the environment and climate change through personal narratives.

-Adventure Learning 2.0 Aaron Doering  and Charles Miller University of Minnesota

These guys made a very slick presentation about their research in the northern Canada. Check out more at

-Creating Technology Awareness Among Staff and Faculty Colin Elliott, Athabasca University

The only speaker I saw that did not use a typical presentation software to illustrate his understandings. Bravo!!! Colin used Prezi a non-linear online presentation software application. A perfect balance of practical and theoretical insights.

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