Jamie starts the interview by telling a story about a seal and a polar bear and actually because he didn’t finish the story in his interview I got on his website and found the lesson plan and the video for it because I wanted to find out how the story ends. I assume that’s the whole point of videotelling (a technique which combines traditional story telling with video): making the listener want to find out what happens next. I did! Jamie’s website has more lesson plans for any teacher interested in doing some videotelling in their lessons. The website Jamie recommends looking at at the end of his interview does have some interesting material.
Next interview I watched was with Jeremy Harmer and I love him a lot. Jeremy says that he is interested in finding out whether there is a relationship between the way people practise music and the way people practise a language. I also became interested in the question and did some Google searching. I found quite an interesting article which is written by Benny Lewis who asked about the similarity between language learning and learning to play a musical instrument on Twitter. Some of the replies are really interesting.
Jeremy Harmer refers to research which shows that the length of practice doesn’t mean much if the practice is not deliberate, i.e. involving full concentration, problem solving, involvement and engagement. If we think of that then we may actually find that when we do something because we have to do it, we do not remember much of it later. This is the case with language learning in Armenia where many teachers ask their students to memorize texts which they do just to repeat the texts in the lesson but two days later they forget what it was that they memorized. Jeremy Harmer says that a little homework which would require problem-solving could benefit a learner more than a lot of homework which they would probably do while watching TV. I totally agree!
The last interview that I watched was with Vicky Saumell. She is a teacher who encourages the use of technology in learning. Vicky talks about getting learners work published online (wikis, blogs) and getting teachers and learners from other countries to comment on the published work so that learners know that there is going to be some interaction and their work will not go unnoticed. One project that she talked about sounded quite interesting – a type of videotelling but done by learners. I actually even found the wiki that Vicky was talking about. The amount of work that Vicky’s students have done is impressive. Vicky also mentions online projects with other countries, the benefits of which I know from my own experience as we did one with a school in Uruguay last year and are doing another one with the same school in Uruguay and a school in Brazil this year.
I started the day first by watching the interview with Deborah Healey who has arrived from the USA and this is her first time at IATEFL. I really enjoyed it because she was talking about use of technology and games in teaching. My cup of tea, really.
The basic point that I agree with is that teachers shouldn’t tech the classroom without thinking about how their learners will benefit from it. We should have the learner in mind whenever we incorporate technology in the lesson plan. Nik Peachy actually asked a question that I always get asked by teachers: if learners play games, how do we teach grammar? As I have already discussed in my previous posts, we can teach many things through games: grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking, etc.
At this point I was already getting the feeling that I was at IATEFL. Next, I watched David Crystal’s plenary talk with 309 people online. Not too bad, is it? (I will not go into the plenary because by the time I decided what to blog about Graham Stanely already blogged about it). There must have been more people in Liverpool, but the online audience was also big. Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate in the online chat, which was very lively, because I had some students writing tests and didn’t want them to think that I was chatting and ignoring them, which might have been true.
Next thing to do was to get on Facebook to see what was going on. Some friends shared photos from presentations that they attended, some mentioned their own presentation. I wished them good luck. Marcos Benevides shared the link to Vicky Saumell’s presentation which was very nice, because now I might even think that I was there as well as Hakan Senturk and Burcu Akyol.
Next I read our roving reporters Sanja Bozinovic, Branca Segvic and Addeh Hovassapian’s reports on teh sessions they had attended and got a full feeling of being in Liverpool. Now I get down to teaching feeling completely happy. 🙂 Later in the evening I know that I can watch some of the sessions and some more interviews, read more reports and see more photos.
I was hoping to get away from my lessons to watch the livestream of LTSIG workshops but,unfortunately, I didn’t manage to do so, which means that I will be watching the recording of the workshop. But that will do.
So the first interview I watched was with Gavin Dudeney. Gavin and his team are responsible for the online presence of IATEFL conferences and I have to say they are doing a great job. It only takes a second to log into Facebook and Twitter to know all the news related to IATEFL. It is easy to find out who is a presenter and which hotel they are staying in, where they are having lunch or what places of interest they are visiting. This sounds odd as one may think why someone would be interested in this, but, strangely enough, that gives you a feeling of being part of community and being present at the conference even when you are far away.
Gavin mentions that when 6 years ago they started the online part of IATEFL, everyone thought that people would stay at home and just watch it online, but I don’t think this will ever happen. Gavin is right in saying that the face-to-face meeting with people who you know virtually or meet just once a year is a completely different experience. For those who couldn’t go for whatever reason it is a good place to keep up with what is going on and still participate by posting comments or blogging about it. For those who did manage to go, it is a good place to organize meetings with friends after the conference as the conference hall is huge and you may actually be there for a week and never see somebody you know that is there.
Gavin also mentioned the book Digital Literacies that I have pre-ordered being on sale at the conference which actually made me want to be there just to get it because I will only get it by the end of May. But well, I suppose it is worth waiting for.
Ronaldo Lima Jr
Sirin Soyoz and Adam Simpson!!!
Complete session can be viewed here: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2012/sessions/2012-03-23/plenary-session-derek-dick