Monthly Archives: July 2005

PeLs holds 4th Philippine National eLearning Conference this August

Calling all advocates of teaching and learning using ICTs: the Philippine eLearning Society (PeLs), the country’s first e-learning association,is holding its 4th National eLearning Conference this August 25-26, 2005 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Center (TARC), University of Santo Tomas, Manila. This year’s theme is “Elearning: Promoting Creative ICT Use”.

Looking at the conference’s context, PeLs can lay claim to being the premiere group of e-learning practitioners dedicated to the learning part in “e-learning”. The conference organizers carefully point out that paper presentations are meant to jump start a sharing of experiences, with focus on the pedagogical and instructional design aspects. Software vendors, are you listening?

I’ve attended the conferences for the past two years. I recall how one presenter shared his experience on his ‘e-learning’ implementation and how it curiously sounded like a product pitch. Can’t blame them, though. In any case, I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how ICTs can support the teaching of Music and Dance courses.

Interesting thought that as a nation known for great singers and entertainers, a successfully designed program for courses like these may just be the answer to support the Philippines’ human capital development program espoused by the Commission on Information and Communications Technologies (CICT).

For the Small, Micro and Medium Enterprise (SME) papers, I can imagine that there must successful e-learning or blended learning programs out there, not the least from the booming call center business. With the high turnover rate of representatives, imagine how they can cut on training costs with an innovative e-learning program for teaching call center reps! I do hope there are presentations on e-learning in customer education, new employee induction, and managerial soft skills training. It would be great to see how companies use ICTs to augment their informal learning programs.

Check out the PeLs website for more conference details. Kudos to the organizers for coming up with a bold, attractive site design for this event. I wish, though, that this year’s conference site can maintain the links to research abstracts from past years’ papers. Doing so can provide delegates with more fodder for learning and for collaborative discussion between presentations.

What do you have to share about creative ICT use in education and in industry? Share your thoughts at the PeLs forums.

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Postscript: The 1st iBlog Philippines Summit

A group of 150 bloggers gathered at NISMED, UP Diliman last 7 May 2005 for the 1st iBlog Philippines Summit. At iBlog details of the events, complete with audios, are archived for those interested to see what’s up in the Philippine blogging scene. The U.P. Law Internet & Society Program hosted the event, with no less that CICT Commissioner Dondi Mapa as conference speaker.

Dean Alfar, another iBlog conference speaker, gave extremely useful tips on blogging creatively. I like his spunk when he wrote: ” Only a small percentage of the Philippine population is wired. Only a small percentage blog. But the promise is there.”

Great to know. Scarcity is the mother of invention. Given our lack of technology infrastructure and limited access to better resources, we must have bred a lot of masters in innovation. If you’re one of those innovative types who have used blogs in teaching, learning, or training, how did you do it?

Blogging for Teaching and Learning

Kwaderno gives a pretty comprehensive list of reasons why one blogs. Apart from the self-centered aspect of blogging, I’m glad Hazel notes that people blog because they want to share their knowledge as well as to learn from others. Blogs can develop self-managed learning which is critical to participating in building an online community.

The very discipline of blog writing is an activity one can use to develop both written communication as well as higher-order thinking skills.

Dan Saffer put up odannyboy to motivate him to finish his postgraduate course at Carnegie Mellon. In an interview with elearningpost, he said he also feels there are others out there who may want to know how it’s like to take up a Masters in Interaction Design. Dan also teaches; now that he has graduated last May 2005, those blog postings have become part of his online learning portfolio. Pretty neat.

Aaron Campbell of Ryukoku University, Japan uses Live Journal in his EFL classes. It advocates the use of ‘social software’ like LiveJournal, as a tool for encouraging greater autonomy and self-direction in foreign language learning.

As I’ve experienced, it is time consuming to find potentially interested readers for one’s blog. Blogs run the risk of stagnation, either from lack of regular content or from a dearth of readers, or both. Campbell’s solutions using Live Journal would be attractive for teachers looking for online activities and a networked audience to support the EFL learner.

I’d like to invite the readers to share their experiences in using blogs for classroom teaching, as well as those who use blogs to support informal learning in their organizations. I believe that blogs can be used creatively to teach and collaborate–over and above being a tool for selling products or documenting one’s personal life.