OUT ON A LIM with Educational Technology

2002 AVLN Conference: Sharing Christ through Technology

Fall 2002, Journal of Adventist Education, written by Janine Lim

The 2002 Adventist Virtual Learning Network Conference focused on and developed three major collaborative relationships. AVLN collaborated with ComputingAndMissions.net conference. Approximately seventy participants attended at Southern Adventist University, in Collegedale , Tennessee . Participants learned about “Sharing Christ through Technology” through seamless integration of tutorials, keynotes, and break-out sessions between the AVLN Conference and the Computing and Missions Conference.

AVLN partnered with the General Conference Education Department to bring Dr. Don C. Roy, Ph.D. from the Australian Union Conference to focus on developing modules and materials for teaching faith integration. Roy facilitated three well-attended pre-conference sessions focusing on faith integration. Participants provided feedback to draft modules, and generated discussion questions for use in the modules. Soon AVLN will have available eight modules with video clips and resources to be used in online classes, face-to-face classes, and workshops. These materials will be translated into several languages and made available to the world church as learning objects that can be used in multiple ways.

On Sunday morning, before the official start of the conference, members of the AVLN steering committee met with the North American Division Technology Committee . Discussion focused on understanding each group's goals and dreams for Adventist education, as well as the needs of K-12 teachers and the opportunities AVLN has to offer. Out of the discussion came two recommendations:

  • Together we recommended a study of the possibility of a joint M.A. in Instructional Technology offered by multiple Adventist schools of education.
  • The NAD tech committee recommended to AVLN that when planning conferences, pre-session training for K-12 teachers, AVLN should target the K-12 teachers in the union where the conference is held.

AVLN conferences have had an increasingly international flavor, and diversity was definitely evident this year. Participants came from countries including Australia , Canada , Indonesia , Libya , Mexico , Philippines , and the United States . In addition, the mix of educators, pastors, and computer experts made for interesting conversations between sessions and at meal time. It became evident that each of us, whether educator or not, is committed to sharing Christ through technology, the theme of the joint conference.

This year we had the most Adventist institutions of higher education represented ever. Participants came from Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Andrews University , Canadian University College , Columbia Union College , Klabat University , Indonesia , La Sierra University, Loma Linda University , Oakwood College , Pacific Union College , Southern Adventist University, Southwestern Adventist University , Union College , Universidad de Montemorelo, and Walla Walla College .

Keynotes during the conference were shared and inspiring! Wednesday night, Gail Rice, Loma Linda University , facilitate introductory activities for participants to get acquainted and focused on joyful service. Thursday and Friday mornings, Dr. Gordon Beitz, President of Southern Adventist University, gave the devotional talk. Thursday morning, Randy Siebold, Andrews University , presented his Infinity model for online experiences. He challenged everyone to keep mission central in online experiences. Thursday night, Tony Christopher, Mongoose Technologies shared 12 principles of civilization to build web communities, a topic of interest for educators, technologists, and missiologists alike. On Friday morning, Jonathan Brauer, GC Office of Archives and Statistics, shared principles for establishing a ministry of technology, his work on the AdventistDirectory.org, and featured other initiatives from the Archives and Statistics department.

Technically, we had a first this year. Two of the sessions were presented via videoconference. Friday morning the K-12 participants heard from two secondary level distance education programs. Gary Russell, teacher for the Mid-America Adventist Virtual School (MAAVS), shared how the school began its low-profile experiment with asynchronous courses for secondary students last July. It has assisted twenty-one students. Participants learned how students get connected to courses from HSI and Class.com, and how MAAVS teachers were trained. Following his presentation, Shelley Bacon, from Colville , Washington , shared a presentation on her teaching for AE21 . AE21 is an exciting and innovative education program endorsed by the North American Division's Office of Education and hosted by the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. AE21 reaches students across the United States using a variety of communication technologies including videoconferencing. Shelley explained her use of various technologies, including email, web-based instruction, videoconferencing, instant messaging, and the web cam. She also taught a mini-lesson to the participants, who began to understand how students participant in this type of distance education. Even the technologists in the session were impressed with the varied use of technologies in Adventist education.

On Friday afternoon, participants at the conference met with another 15 participants in Lincoln , Nebraska . Representatives from Class.com, MidAmerica Adventist Online School , Mid-America Union Conference, Nebraska Wesleyan University , and Union College connected to the AVLN conference from a distance. Carole Kilcher, Nebraska Wesleyan University , facilitated the session from Lincoln , NB. The presenters, Gwen Nugent, and Jill Hochstein from Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, talked about blended learning, e-learning, Webcasting, and Internet2 . The session demonstrated instructional examples of learner-centered, interactive instruction and training using both the Web and CD-ROM. These technologies provide the opportunity to create customized learning environments, adapting the instruction to the needs of the learner and enabling communication with the instructor, other students, and external experts. Participants also learned about learning objects, modular development, and embedded assessment.

At the close of the day on Friday, K-12 and higher education participants met separately to brainstorm recommendations and action steps for the following year. The higher education group developed recommendations specifically for the General Conference Commission on Higher Education and the Adventist Distance Education Consortium. The K-12 group focused on recommendations for staff development for K-12 teachers. The recommendations from both groups can be viewed online .

Finally, the conference closed with Sabbath services. On Friday night, Daryl Gungadoo, from Adventist World Radio shared an update of what AWR is doing around the world. John Banks, Communications Department, General Conference, preached on Sabbath morning. Vespers Friday night featured Ronald Vyhmeister, Business Department, AIIAS. Participants left refreshed and challenged to continue their work in Sharing Christ through Technology.


Janine Lim is an Instructional Technology Consultant at the Berrien County Intermediate School District in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She works with Adventist schools, as well as with other private and public schools.

Notes and References

  1. http://www.mongoosetech.com/




© 2002 Journal of Adventist Education

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