My workshop went pretty well, I was told. One of the participants told me it was the most useful thing she saw at the conference, which was very nice to hear. The biggest problem I faced was that the provided wifi was very unreliable, which made it very difficult for the audience to interact in real-time, but it eventually worked out when the network stabilized halfway through.
One attendee asked if I knew about Edmodo and asked why he should use my system instead of it. I told him that I’d like to show him why at the end of the workshop, and then he disappeared and missed out on the very parts I had promised to show, only to reappear later in the men’s room and claim that I hadn’t addressed his question… I briefly went over what I’d just covered in the workshop and gave him my card, but had basically given up on any serious discourse by then. It pleases me to note that situations that would have ended with me saying, “whatever,” and walking away in the past now end with me handing the person my business card, saying, “e-mail me,” and walking away.
Overall, the conference was interesting. There were some interesting talks, and it was nice meeting new people. The venue was not very good, though. The workshop rooms were very small, the internet access was horrible (for a conference on E-learning, they really should have tried harder than setting up two weak access points for 600 attendees), the food, even for presenters, was some of the worst Thai food I’ve had in a long time (and definitely the worst I’ve had in a self-proclaimed 5-star hotel). Basically, the Pullman Khon Kaen Raja Orchid is a shadow of what is was when it was the Sofitel – old and in need of renovation – which is really a shame, because I met at least six of my students interning there for work experience during the conference. Perhaps the newcomer to the top-end hotel game here, the Centara Khon Kaen, can offer better service when they finally finish it (they actually opened for business before construction was finished!)
There were people I met who were interested in attending my workshop, but were leaving on the plane for Bangkok at noon, so couldn’t make it. I’m uploading my workshop handout to Google Drive for them, and anyone else who is interested. I do not cover details about the full capabilities of my system in the worksheet – those were covered in the workshop – but I’m happy to discuss them with anybody. E-mail me!
Link to my Thai TESOL handout
UPDATE: I forgot to mention what I covered in the end. Basically it was a series of functions I described/demonstrated including 10-party video chat with Google Hangouts, multilingual test-to-speech and Romanization capabilities of Google translate, automatic OCR scanning of graphics with Google Drive (I demonstrated this by taking a photo with my smartphone, uploading it via the Google Drive app, then opening the converted file on my PC on the projector screen – in my haste to get it uploaded with the crappy wifi connection, I accidentally tilted my phone so it took the photo in Landscape orientation so the OCR wasn’t very good, but it got the point across.).
I was also able to get in a long rant about Facebook, which always makes me happy. Now that I think about it, I started answering somebody’s question about FB privacy compared to Google+ privacy, but I got distracted and couldn’t wait for the Google+ TOS screen to load… If that gentleman happens to read this post, here are the links:
Facebook Terms of Service
Google Terms of Service
Google Plus Pages Additional Terms of Service