My IATEFL session slides, and general conference impressions

April 22nd, 2013
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Here are the slides of the my IATEFL session, and thanks to everyone who emailed me asking for them.

I thought the session went well, although if I do this talk again I’ll switch up the organization a bit, in order to match the case studies to the framework. This would give the audience a real-life example for every step in the framework, instead of leaving the all the examples to the end. And of course I had to rush the end, because, 30 minutes, come on!  Sessions that short are approaching TED Talk length and in my opinion a professional conference is more about in-depth professional development, not the slick and shiny “ideas worth spreading” TED format that is compelling yet often lacking depth.

I spent most of the conference at the English360 stand, which meant I couldn’t see many sessions – frustrating. But the level of interest in open platforms in general, and English360 in particular, was intense. So our time at the stand was spent in energetic discussion about blended learning with our colleagues and customers. Usually you can learn as much doing that as you can going to sessions, if you really listen.

Thoughts on IATEFL Liverpool:

+ It was great to see the interest in the “flipped classroom” – many sessions on that theme. Valentina’s session was packed, and the room held 300. I have some lingering concern about the term though.  I still don’t see the difference between “flipped classroom” and a well-designed, integrated blended language learning course. “Flipped” seems the buzzword for what we’ve been saying all along…input, heads down tasks, and drilling usually take place in the online component, and collaborative, communicative stuff F2F. Furthermore, we really need to differentiate between the aims and approach of the flipped classroom in non-ELT courses (where it originated) and ELT contexts. They are very different beasts. Paul Braddock in his excellent session in the LTSIG pre-conference event did in fact point this out, although he differentiated things primarily through a constructivism lense, whereas I think most of the difference is in the domain itself…acquiring a language is different from learning, say, history, so what you are flipping, and why, will change as well.

+ I fully understad what Pearson is doing with the “all-iPad, zero print books” tactic at their stand, and I applaud them. But Pearson didn’t execute on the concept well at all, and I think the message was lost on the audience there.

+ Panic among the publishers!  There is so much re-organization and job cutting going on among the larger publishers that their staff is feeling immense stress. We had a lot of job inquiries at our stand from recently downsized senior staff – very qualified folks. I encouraged them all to go freelance of course, and to use an open platform (e.g. English360) to deliver products and services.

Here are the slides (you can download them from Slideshare):

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. Hi Cleve,

    Nice honest post.

    Yes, I heard many jobs got cut and departments downsized in publishers over the holidays. I also read about low book sales. The solution, to us at least, is to go more into digital content. I had a talk with 2 MA students yesterday about this and they refused to go digital and just had old phones. they said that they preferred ‘the feel’ of paper books. Whereas, the other 25 students all had smartphones or tablets and welcomed the interesting activities, multitasking and convenience of not carrying all these books around. I think the phrase ‘flogging a dead horse’ seems to fit as we need to go digital and uses blended ideas soon or now before we get left behind. I see a lot of places, for instance, with Moodles but nobody using them. It would only take one or two sessions to create capable and confident teachers who’d then see the benefits.

    And yes, I don’t grasp the flipped issue either.

  2. It’s always interesting to see the flipped classroom idea with the integration of new technology like Ipads.

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