Concurrent Session – David Mearns – ICT in ELT and its Connectivity

David Mearns

David Mearns

David Mearns who is originally from Scotland, has been teaching inTurkey for almost twenty years. A central part of his work is ICT, which was the topic of his talk at Wired In or Out.

David mentions that there is a myth around the students who are engaged in technology – they become less and less interested. David’s work and talk come to dispel all this, as he has been using it effectively in his classes for years – he also mentioned that not using it altogether leaves the educator behind. There might be a digression, he says, but it is up to the educator to stay on top of the game and balance it all out.

David uses three tools effectively with his students:


QR Codes


– There is a plethora of video tutorials on David’s blog. Just click on the link:

To see more on David’s excellent work in e-learning and using technology in the classroom, visit his blog at

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul


Concurrent Session 2 – Michael Stout – Evaluating Web Technology Integration in Japanese EFL Classrooms

Michael Stout explaining some apps to attendees after his talk

Michael Stout explaining some apps to attendees after his talk

In Japan, they have a gadget for everything, says Michael. Most students and young people have mobile phones.

In 2006, 37% of all blog posts were in Japanese. 36% were in English.

You would expect Japanese people to be digital natives. Yes and no! At the University of Tsukuba, where Michael has been teaching since September, students are limited in digital literacy, but this phenomenon spreads to all Japanese students, he says.

Part of the research he presented was supported by a Grant-in- Aid for Scientific Research (23520696) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Mari Yamauchi (@m_yam) is the senior researcher on the project.

Most of his experiences in his talk were from his previous university, Toyo Gakuen University.

Michael has had a teacher blog for seven years now, as a learning management system. At first, Michael write alongside with them – he wrote about a topic he liked and then the students added their own projects and Michael showed them to the rest of the students and also made models for the next year as well. Then he started using it to assign homework.

He mentioned Web 2.0 applications and tools such as:

–         Voicethread:

–         Blogger:

–         Quizlet (an online flashcard application but social network as well):

–         Fotobabble (a text-to-speech application):

–         Posterous

–         Extranormal

–         Animoto (professional looking music videos you can make)

–         English Central

–         Google Docs to make quizzes

–         Mindmeister

–         Twitter: it wasn’t compulsory. Michael showed us a pair of students who exchanged a number of tweets in English about shopping.

Note: Michael kindly sent us some of the bibliogra[hy he used in his research:

– McLean and Elwood. (2009). Digital natives, learner perceptions and the use of ICT.

– Handbook on research on Web 2.0 and second language learning (pp. 156-179). Thomas, M. (Ed). New York: Information Science Reference.

– A survey of Japanese university students’ computer literacy levels. JALTCALL Journal, 7(3), 307-318.

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

Concurrent Session – Işıl Boy – MLearning – More than an illusion of illumination

Işıl Boy – the organiser of the conference and a great speaker!

Işıl Boy, apart from being the great organiser of the event, also gave a great presentation on MLearning. She paralelled MLearning to a Portable Circus: the apps are a magic wand, but there is no magician needed. This magic wand, said Işıl, is beyond our imagination makes our life easier and is much much more than apps!

Işıl made a nice distinction between e-learning (which takes place beyond classroom walls) and MLearning (which happens with mobile devices – tablets, mobile phones and beyond computer screens).

She has come up with a very nice term: Teacherware (like software, hardware) with which she believes we can train teachers. She also has a new term: ME-Learning – a combination of e- and mobile learning.

She started off with a great website which is an app search engine: Quixey! Then she listed many useful apps for all skills in languages, storytelling, augmented reality apps (and made a demonstration with her tablet!) and M-Safety.

You can find Işıl’s tips on apps on her blog

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

British Council Turkey interviews Nicky Hockly

Nicky Hockly gave an interview to British Council Turkey – she gave a great plenary!

Note: Nicky mentioned a great project in her plenary, about which Ann Loseva, who is one of the co-founders, kindly wrote below:

Students Connected is a Facebook space designed to help learners of English aged 17+ get in touch, practise and improve their English in the most natural of all ways – by communicating with each other. It’s important to note that it is a closed group, and this provides safety of connections as teachers invite their own students and we trust the teachers we add.
If you would like to give it a try with your students, you can request membership in the group. You will see all activity on the wall. Scroll all the way down to see various wall posts from both teachers and students and decide for yourself if you think it’s a good idea to tell about this group to your students and invite them to have a look.
The group was created to be optional (and fun!), so there is no assessment, visible teacher control or assignments. There is no pressure to be ‘active’, so students are free to take part in the group’s activities when they have the wish and time to do so.
At  the moment there are students from Chile, Japan, Russia, Indonesia, Spain, Italy and India in the group, around 150 members altogether. Both teachers and students are welcome to initiate a discussion on whatever might seem interesting. They get acquainted, share pictures of their cities, towns, university campuses, meals and trips. They ask questions and discuss issues, conduct surveys and play games. They learn about cultures, traditions and lifestyles of other nationalities first-hand.
Michael Stout, one of the first teachers to support the idea, suggested extending the project into another type of social media – Twitter. So, for those students who have Twitter accounts and would like to use it for their learning, there is a hashtag #stsconnected and there soon will be created a list of Twitter handles to go with it, too.

It would be great to have more teachers and students joining us and making this experience even more enjoyable!

Interview with Dr. Gary Motteram by the British Council Turkey

(Text by the British Council Turkey) Is technology the new kid on the block? We conducted an interview with Dr. Gary Motteram about technology in ELT immediately following his wonderful session during the International ELT Symposium for Yıldız Technical University. His entire presentation will follow in the coming days.

Concurrent Session: Adam Simpson – Engaging Generation Y in the Language Classroom

English teachers working with young learners – children in pri­mary school, adolescents in secondary school, or young adults at universi­ty – recognize that learners in this day and age think and behave differently than those from previous generations, noted Adam in his session.

This generation has been labeled the Net Gen, the Millennials, and, most frequently, Generation Y. These students were born into a world of information technology; they prefer to multitask rather than focus on one thing at a time, and they can be more attracted to the ideas of a peer or a web video than what their teachers have to offer.

Adam Simpson's presentationGeneration Y is significant, as it constitutes a major element of the world’s population; somewhere in the region of 20 percent. As Generation Y’s occupies the young end of the population demographic, we can assume that many second language learners belong to this group, making it worthy of our attention and understanding.

Contemporary research on Generation Y has originated in developed nations, although examination of Generation Y is increasing throughout the entire academic world. Whereas Generation Y has received much attention in the academic literature of many fields, this is not yet the case in ELT research. This lack of consideration is regrettable, as most Generation Yers are currently – or will soon be – English language learn­ers. Adam’s talk aimed to address this shortcoming by enlightening ELT professionals as to the nature of Generation Y, while presenting a few teaching strat­egies aimed at engaging this age group in the English classroom.

The talk culminated in a list of ’10 Commandments’ for teaching Generation Y with technology:

  1. Thou shalt not be afraid of technology
  2. Thou shalt teach them how to use search engines properly
  3. Thou shalt get them using video clips
  4. Thou shalt handle multitasking with care
  5. Thou shalt use visuals, visuals and more visuals
  6. Thou shalt encourage interaction and opinion sharing
  7. Thou shalt tap into their collective intelligence
  8. Thou shalt require them to type their work
  9. Thou shalt give them opportunities to create their own content
  10. Thou shalt let them know what you think

Adam’s presentation can be downloaded here.

Adam Simpson for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

Concurrent session: Beyza Yılmaz – Lurking in the Interconnected World

Noting how time management is one of the challenges that teachers face in the contemporary work environment, Beyza highlighted how this issue is exacerbated by the fact that we are nowadays bombarded by a constant stream of information. A consequence of this, noted Beyza, was the increasing prevalence of ‘lurking’.

Beyza's sessionIn Internet culture, a lurker is defined as a member of an online community who has no direct active participation. Lurkers actually make up a large proportion of all users in online communities. The benefits of lurking are that it enables users to learn the conventions of an online community before they actively participate, improving their socialization when they eventually ‘de-lurk’. Nevertheless, a lack of social contact while lurking sometimes causes loneliness or apathy among lurkers. What’s more, Beyza noted, it is believed to hinder learning.

In order to indicate the positives of lurking, Beyza delivered examples of the strategies she has used to foster learning through lurking in online environments.

Adam Simpson for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

Third Plenary – Luke Meddings – Give the Test a Rest

Luke Meddings during his plenary Give the Test a Rest at YTU 1st ELT Conference (photo by Vicky Loras)

Luke Meddings during his plenary Give the Test a Rest at YTU 1st ELT Conference (photo by Vicky Loras)

Here are a few notes I kept during Luke Meddings’ fascinating plenary – it is impossible to give such a great presentation justice.

Luke mentioned Dogme ELT towards the beginning – it is based on the lives and languages of the students.

He then quoted the story of Mr Gradgrind in Hard Times, where the teacher demands facts from the children. Luke asked: have things changed? He encouraged teachers to take account of standardised testing and take part in the debate.

Luke gave us examples from his children: his daughter was given a Phonics Screening Check – a bizarre name for a test, like a medical report, said Luke.

In order to see it from a positive side as well, Luke mentioned that there were noble intentions behind standardized testing: it was designed for everyone to be on a level playing field, to avoid favouritism.

He also mentioned Stephen Krashen’s open letter to President Obama which you can find here:

A great plenary by Luke which I am very happy to have attended, as everyone in the room did, I am sure!

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

Concurrent Session 1 – Burcu Akyol – Teaching and Learning Beyond the Walls

Burcu AkyolBurcu started off by saying that today‘s children are very much exposed to various stimuli so their thinking processes are also very different. To illustrate this point, Burcu showed us an example of a paper boat she could make when she was a little girl – then goes on to show us a paper laptop her son made last year, when he was 6!).

She brought us examples of older English books, which are memorable, but then she showed us a text from a modern coursebook – and how we can integrate technology into the lesson. The text was about the environment, so Burcu then says that you can find relevant material on the internet – moving from the textbook word to the real world.  Children can sign up to newsletters.

–         Another example Burcu mentioned was Skype and specifically Skype in the Classroom which has a very active Facebook page with classrooms from all over the world.

Through this page, many teachers can Skype with other classrooms anywhere and the children can interact and even do projects together.

–         Webquests: structured, online activities which are based on inquiry.

–         Glogster: students make online posters on a specific subject. If yu create it on Glogster, it allows you to embed it onto your web platform (a website or a wiki).

–         Blogs: very flexible tools a. class blogs, b. student blogs, c. teacher blogs

Teachers, students and their parents can interact on them and leave comments – a member of the audience mentioned it is something that can be kept forever.

Burcu showed us one of her class blogs where her class interacted with another from South Dakota. The children left each other comments, read each other’s comments. The classwork is documented, the parents can also see what is happening in class and classwork is more open to the world.

–         Start building a PLN. Burcu mentioned the work teachers do when connecting to each other, sharing their blogs.

You can find Burcu Akyol online at:

–         Email:

–         Blog:

–         Twitter: @burcuakyol

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yildiz University, Istanbul