Community, Technology, and Cross-cultural Understanding

Community, Technology, and Cross-cultural Understanding


I am currently in Finland with a “Forest Camp” arranged by the IMPDET program at the University of Joensuu.

I am working with several other researchers and students from Europe, Middle East, South America, Africa and Asia on some potential cross-cultural educational technology initiatives. We are meeting at a beautiful research facility, and I think we are making progress.

I think we have a unique opportunity to do some meaningful things, and I will keep you posted.

For those who are interested…

For anyone interested in the use of educational technology in rural and developing areas or simply wants more ideas for how to integrate mobility and situated learning to enhance traditional school paradigms, The International Multidisciplinary PhD Studies in Educational Technology (IMPDET) is helping sponsor their second “Forrest Camp” on March 25–30, 2007 (see

I attended and presented at one of their PhD Summer Schools on Educational Technology two years ago and found it one of the most enjoyable conference events I have participated with. It was well structured so that the focus really was on the interactions and synergies between the very international group of participants, papers being presented simply to stimulate those extended discussions.

(This is the second “camp” – to see info on the first Forrest Camp see )

AEA – Portland Oregon

I am in Portland right now – presenting at the American Evaluation Association conference. It is interesting because there is a distinct and growing interest here in how cultural issues impact the field of evaluation. The growing interest hasn’t unfortunately translated into any kind of a comprehensive strategy for integrating cultural responsiveness into practice, but it has been nice to meet others who are working on the issue.

I presented with Dr. David Williams on this topic. A summary of our paper is as follows:

Cross-cultural Instructional Design for Online Teaching:
Implications for Evaluation

Paper presented at AEA, November 2006

A growing literature (Russon & Russon, 2004; Thompson-Robinson, Hopson, & SenGupta, 2004; and Wiesner, 1997) argues that culturally sensitive evaluation is essential in many contexts, including evaluation of online instructional design (Rogers, 2006). However, knowing how to evaluate and design sensitively is hampered by lack of information about challenges instructional designers/evaluators encounter.
This study, based on a dissertation (Rogers, 2006) that explores the experiences of twelve designers who have developed online instruction in cross-cultural contexts in over 80 countries, explores some ways evaluation could be used to enhance culturally sensitive evaluation and instructional design. Participants were interviewed using triangulation, negative case analysis, member checking, thick description, and an audit trail to enhance credibility, transferability, and dependability.


Interviewees noted three barriers to their ability to be responsive to cultural differences: (a) an over-focus on content development, (b) a relative lack of evaluation in real-world practice, and (c) the less than ideal roles instructional designer/evaluators assume in their organizational structures.

Building Evaluation Into Design:

These case studies clarify how increased sensitivity to cultural differences through evaluation could improve cultural practices of instructional designers, particularly by making evaluation integral to design by building several kinds of evaluation into the instructional design process. This presentation illustrates this view through use of Stufflebeam’s Context, Input, Process, Product evaluation model (2000), though many others might also be considered.


This study concludes that additional efforts are needed to educate and commit more stakeholders to engage in learner analysis and evaluation which will culturally sensitize them. Also additional instructional design models need to be identified and used that make evaluation and learner feedback more integral parts of the entire instructional design process from context or needs analysis, through input or alternative solution identification, to implementation and formative process evaluation to evaluation of the impact of the entire design effort. This is especially true for instructional design involving online learning because the normal means of adjusting to learner and cultural differences through face-to-face interactions are hampered by the medium.

Community, Technology, and Cross-cultural Understanding

An interesting conference


Here is an interesting conference my friend in South Africa forwarded to me. I would like to go, but can not make it this year. If anyone knows of anyone going, please let me know.

The First International Workshop on Intercultural Collaboration (IWIC 2007), January 25-26, 2007.
Kyoto University Clock Tower International Conference Hall, Japan

The main theme of this workshop is intercultural collaboration, from both
technical and socio-cultural perspectives. Topics will include collaboration
support (such as natural language processing, Web, and Internet
technologies), social psychological analyses of intercultural interaction,
and case studies from activists working to increase mutual understanding in
our multicultural world. Submissions will be considered for papers, panels,
demonstrations, and posters.

This is a unique workshop in a world where physical borders disappear
rapidly and people and cultures are more and more on the move and in
contact. The workshop will feature four prominent invited speakers:

Christiane D. Fellbaum (Department of Psychology, Princeton University)
Yumiko Mori (NPO Pangaea) Gary Olson (School of Information, University of
Michigan) Wolfgang Wahlster (German Research Center for Artificial

Papers: Papers are solicited on any aspect of intercultural collaboration.
Papers can address technologies to support intercultural collaboration,
laboratory and field studies of intercultural collaboration, and case
reports from field workers. Examples of suitable paper topics include:

– Field studies of intercultural teamwork
– Cases of intercultural collaboration using IT
– Computer supported intercultural collaboration
– Internet and web technologies for intercultural collaboration
– Ubiquitous/ambient technologies for intercultural collaboration
– Multilingual dictionaries and translations
– Multilingual NLP web services
– Standardization issues on resources and tools for multilingual processing
– Usability of multilingual resources and the Language Grid

Community, Technology, and Cross-cultural Understanding

Most Recent Conference – TEDC


The TEDC link to the side of this page is the most recent conference that I attended in Tanzania, and was a co-director for the associated PhD Summer School. My goal over the next few weeks is to attach summaries of key learnings from the various conference I attended this summer, and then I’ll move into my current research…