IATEFL 2012 – Three is a magic number

Good things (and bad things) come in threes they say, and seeing as there are still some IATEFL 2012 posts trickling in I thought I would do one last one, promise! Also I wanted to play around with seeing how easy it would be to make animated gifs from video ;).

So three things that struck me were firstly  research such as that described by Chia Suan Chong  on politeness in ELT; secondly niche ELT electronic publishing  as explained by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings; and finally Robert O’Neill representing some ELT fire!

ELT Research

ELT e-publishing

ELT Fire!

If you know other IATEFL 2012 videos which you feel fits one of the above three categories, please let me know. Or any IATEFL 2012 videos which you think may look good animated :). Or do some yourself and let me know!

Note: this post inspired by The Go-Getter an online digital story from digital storytelling course at http://ds106.us/.  Find all the original videos at http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2012/.

IATEFL 2012 – Robert O’Neill

If people don’t disagree with you, if you’re not confused, you don’t know what the fuck is going on

Robert O’Neill, Glasgow, IATEFL 2012

Watch from 28:50 to 33:35

There should also be an interview that IATEFL team did yesterday with him but can’t find it!?

IATEFL 2012 conference – mobile learning

Nicky Hockley via video recording introduced the meat of the session. She described some things mobile learning (mlearning) is not:

  • mlearning != mobile phones
  • mlearning != on the move
  • mlearning != apps

Expanding on the above she conceptualised five dimensions of mlearning:

on the move<————————————–>in class

rich content <————————————->discrete content (e.g. single apps)

push content<———————————->pull content(students find content)


strategic use<————————————–>discrete use

In response to Lindsay Clandfield’s question of practical examples of mlearning,  the Open University(OU) representative (Agnes Kukulska-Hulme) raised the use of out of class practice giving an example of students using OU made programs for listening and speaking practice outside of class. The primary school head (Gillian Penny) mentioned getting pupils to share their learning with parents and her school will soon allow pupils to take mobile devices home.

An interesting question was raised by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, how do we design for mlearning? What kinds of new activity can learners do? e.g. collect data, share data.

A couple of relevant issues popped  on my twitter feed (via this article by Audrey Watters) as I was writing this post – learner’s work through e-portfolios and assessment tools. Falling into the strategic use end of the spectrum admittedly these are, at the moment, more teacher-centric issues rather than learner-centric.

There were a few questions from the audience that I found interesting – how can mlearning adapt to rapidly changing, multi-cultural student body? If mlearning is anywhere, anytime are  teachers expected to work anywhere, anytime? How does mlearning apply to adult literacy?

So although there was some quick coverage of practical applications of mlearning the session would have been enhanced if a set time was devoted to this. By all accounts Giselle Santos’s talk was well received, if anyone knows of a write up of that talk let me know.

Other mlearning related stuff  coming up are a workshop by  Claire Hart and Kristen Acquaviva on Thursday 22 and a talk by Karin Tıraşın also on Thursday 22.

Video of Enhancing students’ language acquisition through mobile technologies:


Pre-conference learning technologies special interest group(SIG) post by Bruno Andrade that has a link to this great resource.

Bruno Andrade has also written up a post on Giselle Santos’s talk.

IATEFL 2012 conference – elephant in the room

These were some of the thoughts I had as I was drafting this post :

Adrian Underhill difficult vs messy,

You’ve had a very difficult year since August last year

Jamie Keddie deconstructing videos,

It’s been very challenging in many ways

What things can be said to be challenging? Is opening up a drop in language centre in a partly occupied country a good candidate? Does challenging denote a problem that enriches us in some way whether personally or materially?

Just how subversive (Luke Meddings/Lindsay Clanfield) is providing training to occupied peoples

…particularly to take part in  military training programmes

in the occupying force’s homeland?

What kind of not-talked-about-theory (Willy Cardoso) would

…local teachers to deliver our training…

end up delivering?

My final thoughts settled on illustrating idioms such as elephant in the room:

Interview with Nicole Janneker, British Council, Afghanistan.

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.