IATEFL 2012 conference – mobile program review

IATEFL 2012 kicks off in Glasgow today, and as part of the army of registered bloggers my first post is a quick and dirty review of the conference program for Android devices.

Size of program(as taken up on device) – 5.04MB.

The home-screen is clear and straightforward:

IATEFL conference program homescreen

The programme icon takes you to this screen organised into time slots:

IATEFL 2012 conference program programme1

Drilling down into the first time slot we get this screen:

IATEFL 2012 conference program programme2One improvement on the above would be to get the titles to fit onto the screen.

Drilling down again we get this screen:

IATEFL 2012 conference program programme3

A table of icons and their functions:

Icon What it does?
IATEFL 2012 conference program map icon Map function which does not seem to be working
IATEFL conference program join me icon Join me icon and the share icon seem to be doing the same thing – notifying others of event
 IATEFL conference program share icon  Share icon – see above
 IATEFL 2012 conference program notes icon  Allows you to take notes of events
 IATEFL 2012 conference program planner icon  Inserts the event into your planner diary
 IATEFL 2012 conference program bookmark icon  Bookmarks events

The following screen shows an example of the planner with an event inserted:

IATEFL 2012 conference program planner example

The planner needs an overview of events over the four days so one can see things at a glance.

The next screenshot shows an example of a bookmarked event:

IATEFL 2012 conference program bookmark example

The following two screenshots are of the notes function:

IATEFL 2012 conference program notes1IATEFL 2012 conference program notes2

The search function is key in a program such as this and searching ‘lingua franca’ we get:

IATEFL 2012 conference program search example1

The search function displays results according to event and speaker. It is a bit buggy, it does not seem to do acronyms of 3 or less since at least 4 characters need to be entered, and there is no search history available.


On my basic smartphone (CPU 528Mhz, RAM 192Mb) the performance was not good although bearable.

So to sum up the program is a good first attempt, the home-screen is intuitive to use. The planner needs an overview of all four days; some work needs to be done to improve the search function; some functions such as maps need to be enabled and other functions such as join me and share seem redundant.

Eric Baber promotes the conference mobile program here (0:33 to 2:37):

Re-booting educational conferences

The IATEFL conference 2012 is being held in Glasgow this year. I have never been to one of these conferences but what strikes me is the lecture dominated nature of the delivery. Some concession has been granted to the 21st century by the accompanying IATEFL conference online resources which include forum discussions and useful videos of the lecture sessions. But why not more practice based sessions?

If you agree that

Lecture is the lowest common denominator of learning

Chad – Classroots.org

then why do we stand for it in conferences which are supposed to promote our professional development?

Alternatives can be drawn from the world of games, web development and maker communities. Usually these events involve building code, or web page or whatever in a limited time frame using various constraints.

See this video from the Cut&Paste design battle:

Cut&Paste Global Champs 2010-11 from Cut&Paste on Vimeo.

In this battle they have 3 categories, for example in one of these categories participants have 15 mins to create a 2D design based on an assigned brief. They are provided with computers and software and are allowed to bring one pre-made asset.

Maybe a future IATEFL conference will host a Lesson Plan Jam where competing teachers have 15 mins to design a lesson plan using an assigned theme. Then they swap the lesson plans and have 15 mins to adapt the plan, the ‘jam’ in Lesson Plan Jam. The audience response along with a jury would be judges of the best plans?

There could be various categories such as Video-based lesson plan, Online-based lesson plan, Dogme lesson plan etc.

There could be participative sessions to improve or ‘hack’ current teaching practice and training, e.g. improve CELTA training by cutting down or out input parts as suggested by Scott Thornbury in a comment on a Willy Cordoso blog post?

Whether you agree or don’t agree that educational conferences have to set an example and change their format please do comment.

Update 1:

More riffing on this theme at We Can Flip More Than Classrooms by @cogdog and Flipping the conference by @audreywatters

Update 2:

Sharon Hartle (@hartle) warns us of Hannibal Lecturing in The silence of the audience and Naomi Epstein (@naomishema) wants participative debates in Is it possible to have output session at a conference?

Update 3:

A glimpse of what participant based edu conferences can look like by Roger Dupuy (@rogerdupuy) The Speaker-Less Session.

Update 4:

Willy Cardoso describes an open space session on professional development. And read this English Central Anti Conference Conference for more details on open space discussion outcomes shared by Tyson Seburn.