language teaching

Erickson RImini Conference HAll

Erickson Congress Rimini 2013

Erickson RImini Conference HAll

Last Friday I was really delighted to speak at the “Qualità dell’integrazione scolastica e sociale” conference in Rimini. The bi-annual conference is a huge event in the Italian education calendar. Something like 4000+ teachers attend each time the conference is held, so you can imagine I was more than a little bit nervous to be invited to speak there. Thankfully I had a significantly smaller room than the huge hall you see here.

My workshop was called “iDidattica” or iTeaching, where I was basically trying to get across the point that simply “digitising” lessons won’t change their quality or pedagogical effectiveness at all. Instead, I tried to argue that we need to adopt a more student-centred approach to our teaching methodology and then apply whatever digital tools suits our needs. One methodology that might achieve this I argued is Project Based Learning. I suggested four key tool categories to allow students to create interesting “final products” for their projects: a note-taking app, an audio recording app, a video editing app and an webpage annotation app.

I tried to make the workshop a bit more interactive, by using a few tools like todaysmeet.com to provide a “backchannel” where the 150 – 200-odd teachers in the room could discuss what I was talking about, disagree, add new ideas and so on. Reading back though it today, it seems like they were enjoying themselves -yaay!

Anyhow, I promised all the teachers present that I would upload the slides form my presentation so that they could go through the links and re-read what I’d been talking about.
In the next few days I’ll also add a second post with a few of the fun things we did like recording podcasts during the workshop, using a chatroom for a backchannel, sharing links with Diigo and a few others.

Anyhow,without further delay, here are the siides:

Death By PowerPoint? No Thanks! – Digital Storytelling Using PowerPoint

PowerPoint has the ability to utterly, utterly destroy your soul with boredom – and yet it can totally engage your students’ attention and draw them into a digital story plot if used well. And how should you use it well? These slides will show you! 🙂

I have posted these before, but this is a slightly updated version that I made for the teachers and trainers at Bolzano Free University’s language department (a tri-lingual University in the north of Italy!)

I had wanted to upload this to VoiceThread so that you, my dear readers, could ask and answer questions and see how effective Voicethread is – unfortunately, Voicethread allows a maximum of 50 slides per presentation and … well… this has several more slides than this. Anyhow, the first slides are the digital story part. If you’d like to skip straight to the  PowerPoint hints and tips, go to slide number 48.

Hope this is helpful – if you have any questions, leave them in a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

The Amazing Main Hall of the Yeditepe University

10 Key Things I’ve Learned about IWBs – IATEFL Conference Istanbul.

The Amazing Main Hall of the Yeditepe UniversityI was delighted to be invited to speak at this year’s IATEFL LT & TD SIG conference in Istanbul, Turkey. I put in a proposal to discuss IWBs and the lessons I’d learnt from watching teachers get used to using them in my training sessions. When the confirmation came through in early May, I gave a whoop! I’d never been to Turkey before, but had heard loads of good reports from friends who said how friendly and welcoming people there tend to be.

What’s more, Burcu Akyol who is a conference organiser par-excellence, was co-ordinating the team which organised the whole weekend. Basically I need say little more than I can’t wait to go to Turkey or Istanbul again. I had such a great time, the conference attendees were wonderful people, the talks were really top quality and the on the last night, when I went out for dinner… the food… oh the food! It was fabulous!

Anyhow, let’s get to the point, during the talk I promised the teachers present, that I’d post up the IWB slides I used to support my talk. The slides contain useful hints and tips for teachers starting out with IWBs as well as a whole bunch of links to some really handy tools to make teachers lives easier when creating interactive activities.

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Interact! Summer Courses 2012

Interact! Teacher-Training Courses. Summer 2012

After our first round of Interact! online courses, many busy teachers contacted us asking us to put on a training course in the summer, when they won’t have the day-to-day hard work of lesson planning to deal with. Well, we listened! This summer from mid-June to the end of July we will be running Digitalang’s first-ever Interact! Summer Training Course. Just like our last one, this course, too, will be offered in association with Pete Sharma Associates.

 

Interact! Summer Courses 2012

As with all our courses, the Interact! online course is very practical. We use project-based-learning, so that everything you do on the course is in a language-teaching context, allowing you to apply it immediately to your classroom. Our highly experienced tutor, Seth Dickens,  will follow you right the way through the course, as well as helping to keep you and your colleagues collaborating together to develop new skills and ideas. Each module of the course will give you clear lesson and project ideas which you can try out with your own students. The course is six weeks long and in addition to learning about IWBs, you’ll also study several other exciting technologies to enable you to truly connect your students with the outside world.

  • Week 1 – Introductions & Class-based Communicative Online Activities
  • Week 2 – Online Surveys and Google Apps for Education
  • Week 3 – Interactive White Boards (IWBs)
  • Week 4 – E-Twinning and Skype
  • Week 5 – Digital Literacies & The Latest Technologies Useful to Teachers
  • Week 6  – Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)

The six-week online costs just €345.00 for the online version, and for those of you able to come to the Trentino region of Italy, we are also organising a special blended version, which includes both the six-week online course, plus a one-day seminar for €495.00. For anyone travelling from outside the region, we can also assist you with finding accommodation.

For more information contact courses( a t )digitalang. com or if you’d like to book a place on the course right now go to our signup page and we’ll reserve a place for you.

Cigdem Karin

Take Your Phone Out Of Your Pocket (And Use It In Class) – Karin Tirasin and Cigdem Ugur

I saw a few great Talks at IATEFL Glasgow 2012, I met some great people including a few EFL Stars” like Scott Thornbury, however, no-one left a greater impression on me than Karin Tirasin and Çigdem Ugur who gave a talk at the LTSIG event. Inspired, enthusiastic and perhaps a tiny weeny bit overwhelmed by talking on an international stage, they and their ideas were, quite honestly, brilliant.

If it’s possible to summarise a 45 minute talk in a just a few words it’d have to be: “They used mobile phones.” Seeing as that doesn’t really tell you much, perhaps: “They used mobile phones, in class, in great fun, engaging activities, using multimedia, QR codes, digital literacies and.. and and… ..and the main thing to note is the activities were all very well thought out pedagogically and they used “all four” of the language learning skills; listening, speaking, reading, writing as well as grammar and dictionary skills.

 

What I thought was best of all from a memorable lesson point of view is that he students loved it (and if you don’t believe me, after the break, there’s a video from the students themselves with their own opinions on mobile phones:

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Vicky-Saumell1

Vicky Saumell – The Lesson Comes First, Technology is Just an Aid #IATEFL

I was lucky enough to see Vicky Saumell talk at IATEFL this year. I met her after her seminar to ask whether she would be prepared to do an interview and lo and behold it was another one of those wacky feelings you get at conferences nowadays: I realised I already “knew” Vicky, as we are connected via our PLN.

Vicky gave a brilliant talk about digital storytelling in the classroom, the slides for which you can see after the video interview. Her talk was given as part of IATEFL’s LTSIG group, or for those of us who can’t deal with all the acronyms: the Learning Technologies Special Interest Group of the International Association for Teaching English as a Foreign Language – phew! In a day or so I’ll be posting an interview with Graham Stanley too, who talks more about the LTSIG and some of their work, so if you’d like to know more about the group, keep an eye open for that interview.

Here are Vicky’s smart and well-reasoned comments:

 

 

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