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The Question of Convergence vs. Personalization and Other Recent Talks, Events, and Activities
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Context: I get many emails each day asking my opinion on technology and learning trends. Such requests have come more often since my World is Open book came out last year.

This morning, Dr. Julie Giuliani, Dean of External Affairs, Technology Strategy and Innovation Open Campus, Florida State College at Jacksonville, asked me the following questions this morning:

Question: "I’ve been gathering trend prediction information from the Gartner Group. One of the predictable trends that you mentioned in your book was the idea of convergence of technology. According to the latest research, personalized technology is a more predominant theme. Any comments????"

(Note: I normally do not post my responses, but since I have not blogged in a month, it is time. I do plan for a much more major blog announcement in the next day or 2 so stay tuned.)

My response: Convergence makes sense since it allows us to more seamlessly enter and move back and forth between the world of education--professional life...and the world of entertainment/family/culture--personal life. And those 2 worlds, in effect, become one world called living.

Also less to tote around with convergence. Greater accessibility to learning content that one can manipulate.

The emphasis on personalized learning makes this both more important and more apparent. Are we there yet? No....not even close to personalized learning environments. Are we going to get there in 2 years? No. 5 years? Closer. 10 years? Closer still. I think we are at least 10 years from the idealized worlds of PLEs that we hear about with access to life portfolios and ones likes and dislikes and learning preferences and so on. perhaps 15 or 20. Why do I say this? PLEs was a theme in the UK 4 years ago when I was there. Have we made much progress since then? I think not.

So convergence (technology side) will happen quicker than personalization (pedagogy/learning side). Are you surprised by that? I am not. The money side is on technology today. Eventually, companies will see 7 or 8 billion people who need a personalized learning platform and then they will design one. I think governments and non profits might have a huge say in this as well. And then some teenage kid will design something that we all have been asking for.

Ok, enough predictions for now. Just thought I would share it. On to other things.


New Conference Keynotes: Saw Thomas Friedman speak at Indiana University (IU) Auditorium on Thursday night November 4th. He was great. Both my son, Alex Bonk, and I enjoyed it a lot. Friedman got me thinking about new keynotes I might create as did Paul Kim from Stanford last month in Orlando at the E-learn conference. I got back from Kentucky Convergence 2010 keynote just in time for Friedman's talk. I was hoping to chat with him after but he was fully booked it seems.

Below are my three of most recent keynotes. The first one I gave back in September for students in the educational technology at Hanyang Cyber University in Seoul, Korea (high res, medium res, low res; and the color PDF of my slides. The second one I have last week in Kentucky Conference 2010 conference (click here for a color PDF of my keynote and my 2-part masterclass workshop on blended learning and shared online video immediately after). The third one I will give tonight to people at the Northern Territories E-Learning Event in Darwin, Australia (Click here for a color PDF of my slides for tonight). I will be coming in 3 hours from now via Elluminate from my home office. Cool.

1. "E-Learning Past, Present, and Future: The Players, the Projects, and the Untold Possibilities"

Abstract: E-learning has exploded in every aspect our lives during the past decade. This explosion, however, comes on the heels of decades of experimentations with learning technologies to deliver education to the masses. Radio, television, correspondence, audiotapes, computer-assisted instruction, and many other delivery formats have had their day. Many of those promoting such technologies had visions of teaching and learning in the twenty-first century. And many of their visions are now coming true. This talk will reveal some of the past of e-learning while positioning us in the present with dozens of interesting and exciting examples of what is possible today. Naturally, it will end with a discussion of the future and what technologies to be on the lookout for. Across the past, present, and future of e-learning, Dr. Bonk will capture your imaginations with stories of people who were the builders of this new age of learning. We may be members of the "Learning Century" now, but it took the monumental efforts of hundreds of key players in thousands of interesting projects to open the learning world that when convergence strikes will bring us millions of exciting learning possibilities across the globe. This talk will highlight dozens of the key players, including some household names and others you will now appreciate. What’s more, anyone in the audience has the chance to join their ranks and change the world.

2. “I am Not Content: The Future of Education Must Come Today”

Abstract. Look left, look right, look back, and then look dead-on straight ahead…what do you see? Of course, the air is filled with e-learning opportunities as well as talk of educational transformation. So much news. So much progress. Each second of the day, dozens of learners discover shiny learning nuggets previous unknown. Each week, thousands of schools, universities, corporations, and government offices announce strategic plans for e-learning. Every month, hundreds of new online courses, programs, and certificates are offered. Year after year, research reports and meta-analyses indicate that there are undeniable positive benefits of online teaching and learning. The world of technology-enhanced learning, is looking up, up, up. But wait a minute. It is no time to be content. It is not time to relax and just let the “inevitable” future unfold in front of our eyes. No! We must all jump in and help build the changes we want to see. Besides, there are hundreds of millions of people who cannot wait. They need access to a more free and open education today--one with high quality content, interactive and engaging tasks, and motivating technology use. This is a land of where nature (i.e., technology) meets nurture (i.e., pedagogy). It is time you joined in to build the future. Those attending this talk should be cautioned to check their hearts and credits cards at the door since this will be an emotionally-packed talk intended to make you act.

3. "Stretching the Edges of Technology-Enhanced Training: From Tinkering to Tottering to Totally Extreme Learning"

Abstract. Some insist. Some resist. Others persist. Such is state of online learning today. But what is highly resistible for some is often passionately irresistible for others. Many are content to tinker with blended forms of learning. They dip their toes into the technology change movement by embedding shared online videos, simulations, timelines, collaborative groups, and open access articles in their courses. Others enter deeper waters and push toward the edges of what is possible. Their classes are teeter-tottering on the brink of transformation. Such instructors hand over the keys to their learners and let them drive for a bit. These risk taking instructors might enjoy reading a learner-designed wikibook, listening to a student generated podcast show, or watching the results of an international video competition. And then there are those who find themselves at the extreme edges of this learning planet. They might tap into virtual explorers, artists, archeologists, and adventurers to excite their learners. It is in such courses that scientific discoveries appear live. Mobile, virtual, and telepresence technologies become the new norm. It is time to stretch toward the edges of learning from those of us tinkering on the shores to those whose learning approaches are tottering in new directions and even landing in totally extreme or alien lands. This talk will showcase examples from all three worlds—the world of the tinkerer, the totterer, and the totally extreme. Which world will you find yourself?

All my talk descriptions are posted online.

Recent Radio Interview: In addition to the new keynotes, I was recently on the radio. On November 1st, I was interviewed for the show, New Horizons with Bob Kustra, President, Boise State University. I had a blast. So much fun to be on Bob's show. He had recently mentioned my World is Open book in his state of the University address. So this was sorta like a follow-up. And, accordingly, the topic was “The World Is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education,” Boise State Public Radio (KBSX 91.5).

The show aired on November 5 and 7, 2010. I think it sounded pretty darn good. Bob is a great interviewer and the show is thoughtfully arranged by his producer, Janelle Brown. That is a wondrous combination. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun as I tend to do on radio. Perhaps have a listen. It is a 30 minute show. I think it is 13-14 megs so it will not take too long to download.

Hope you enjoy the radio show. And I hope the talk goes well tonight to Australia. More soon.
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 11:15 AM  
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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Visit the Indiana University Home Page of E-Learning Expert Curtis J. Bonk.

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