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:

Edmodo http://www.edmodo.com/

QR Codes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code

Flipbooks

– There is a plethora of video tutorials on David’s blog. Just click on the link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18edZYXuJEhWVcV_fgXMEawMLL0uGNwSKo1FEvDGyFYw/edit

To see more on David’s excellent work in e-learning and using technology in the classroom, visit his blog at http://davidmearns.blogspot.ch/

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: http://www.voicethread.com

–         Blogger: http://www.blogger.org

–         Quizlet (an online flashcard application but social network as well): http://www.quizlet.com

–         Fotobabble (a text-to-speech application): http://www.fotobabble.com

–         Posterous http://www.posterous.com

–         Extranormal

–         Animoto (professional looking music videos you can make) http://www.animoto.com

–         English Central http://www.englishcentral.com

–         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 – Jamie Keddie – Withholding the Image

Jamie Keddie in his presentation (Photo kindly offered by Ann Loseva, Russia)

Jamie Keddie in his presentation (Photo kindly offered by Ann Loseva, Russia)

Jamie Keddie, whose primary focus is on the topic of images, showed the teachers in his talk many useful ideas on how to exploit pictures, especially in an age, Jamie says, when we have them readily available everywhere: on the internet, mobile devices, Google Earth and more.

He also mentioned that it is beneficial for students to combine these with a more traditional classroom resource: the mind’s eye.

Jamie was so kind as to offer his handout, which we attach at the bottom for you to look at and get great ideas for your students!

More ideas can be found on Jamie’s website, LessonStream.org

JKeddie – Withholding the image

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

Jamie Keddie

Jamie Keddie

Concurrent Session – Cecilia Lemos ~Technology in the ELT classroom: friend or foe?

Cecilia Lemos talking about using technology in class

Cecilia Lemos talking about using technology in class

Cecilia Lemos started her session with some definitions of technology and stated that technology is great and it helps the teacher a lot.

There are so many things we are exposed to and we sometimes feel we are drowning. Although technology makes the impossible possible as it

  • Saves time (save lesson plans, archive things, edit later)
  • Engage students
  • Promotes students autonomy
  • Gives the students a new skill

it can also be a foe

  • The result is smaller than the effort
  • Raises stress levels/ affective filters
  • For show

Some questions to consider:

  • Is technology going to improve the teaching or the learning intended in the lesson?
  • Is technology already known to students and teachers?
  • Am I thinking of the task and results before the tool?
  • Is the technology working/ easily available?

In the final part of her talk, Cecilia reminded that technology is just a tool.

It can be either be a friend or foe.

She also pointed out that the same technology doesn’t work for everyone

She advised the teachers to experiment, experience and reflect

And If everything has failed ‘Keep calm and teach on’

Eva Buyuksimkesyan 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: http://atthechalkface.com/2012/11/26/stephan-krashen-an-open-letter-to-the-president/

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