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 – 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,

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:

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

First Plenary – Chuck Sandy ~ The Heart of Education

Chuck Sandy is a teacher, teacher trainer, author and educational activist. Some of us also know him as the founder of iTDi.

I must say it was an amazing talk which made me think and rethink after the session. It was unusual and that’s why it deserves an unusual reflection. I will list the most important phrases, thoughts from the conference as I can’t write it as a report.

Will you be my monuments?

Chuck Sandy started the session with a poem

as long a

go as now

you be my


by Cid Corman

and he said his motto is “I can’t do this but I’m doing it anyway.” And added, “In the process of doing it I find out.”

This way he was setting the scene for the next two days and also advising us to accept what we have by saying,

“Whoever comes are the right people

Whatever happens is the only thing that could happen.”

He started with a slideshow with a song in the background written by his son and the song inspired him for the talk.

He went on by asking, ”What change do you want to see in the world?” then he gave the answer “ be change!”

“You are not alone”

Do you still think people are either success or failure?

He pointed out that this how we see education “a downward spiral”.  However,

“We can plan but things can go wrong”

“Someone touches us and everything changes. This is possibility. There is no success there is no failure. There is no end. It is a circle.”

Education is not a downward spiral, it has no beginning and no ending says Chuck Sandy.Image from his presentation

Education is not a downward spiral, it has no beginning and no ending says Chuck Sandy.
Image from his presentation

He also suggested that we connect

Connect means something different now and Connecting is not enough. He said PLN is very important. Once you connect, you have to think what contribution you will make to that connection.

In the end the participants were Chuck’s “monuments” thinking about:

  • Connect
  • Share
  • Contribute
  • Believe
  • Be a mentor

In short


Eva Buyuksimkesyan for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

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



Second Plenary – Gary Motteram – Blending, Extending and Bridging Language Learning in the Digital Age

Gary Motteram is a Professor of ICT at the University of Manchester and runs the very successful online MA program.

He started off his talk by telling us a bit about himself – one thing that stood out was that he started his career in Mongolia, where he was asked to repair a computer lab.

He mentioned the term digital immigrants (people who later on in their lives started with technology) – which he later on mentioned that he dislikes, as it dismisses teachers in a way – and digital natives (those who were born with technology).

Showing us a visual representation of the relationships between the teachers, learners, their parents and the tools involved in their learning. The teachers need to be encouraged in their efforts in using the various electronic tools in the learning process. However, there is something else on the other side as well.

Gary mentioned that the students have expectations of what teachers are supposed to do, most of the times towards the goal of passing an exam or getting a job.

What does tech do?

–         It puts learning first

–         It can improve learning by augmenting and connecting proven learning activities.

This potential however, Gary mentioned will only be materialized through innovative teaching practice. However, teachers need encouragement and training. Gary asked, how many teachers are being given free time to get extra training? How many teachers are given time and support to apply what they are learning? There were a lot of negative responses in the room (naturally, my comment).

There is area of promise in areas where tech is undervalued and underused.

Teacher Decision-Making

–         It depends largely on the expectations of the learners and the institution.

–         What do we believe about language learning? We need to explore those beliefs in significant ways.

–         It depends on the institutional setting.

–         It depends on the interface between technology and learning. What can technology do to support us in that?

Blended Learning classrooms include:

–         Wikis (include link), Nings (include link)

These tech drivers give us and the learners access to the real world. There is a lot of material out there, which we can also change for our classes – this gives flexibility to our classes.

He then went on to show us the work of his students, who teach in different contexts. The variability of contexts, tools (online or not) and opportunities was tremendous and showed us how a combination of the use or not of technology can have positive results in the learning context.

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yildiz University, Istanbul