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):
Last month we published a series of lessons called TECHIE ENGLISH, written by ELT author Phil Wade. They are aimed at students interested in both technology and business and are based around contemporary topics. The lessons include vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening, speaking, writing and video-based activities.
We currently have lessons on:
- Smart eyewear: A lesson about electronic glasses that let you do video conferencing and take photos.
- 3D Printing: A lesson based on the new types of printers that let you create actual objects
- Bankrupt high street retailers: A lesson focussing on recent bankrupt retailers in the UK
- The new iPad: A lesson concerning the latest high storage iPad
- Outsourcing Social Media work: A lesson that looks at how Social Media management is being given to freelancers.
We will add new TECHIE ENGLISH lessons to English360 every month. We’d love to hear from you if you have ideas for future TECHIE ENGLISH lessons – post a comment below and we’ll do our best to use your ideas.
Image of 3D printer by Scanlime and used under Creative Commons Licence 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/micahdowty/5288204047/sizes/z/in/photostream/
We’ve just published a brand new video-based resource, American Conversation.
Below, author Irena Dewey explains the rationale behind her resource:
Boost your students’ conversational and cultural competencies in the real world!
Communicating naturally with native speakers is one of the top goals of second language learners. There are certain challenges of learning and teaching conversational English that are difficult to address in a regular classroom setting.
- Limited Classroom Exposure: even the most excellent instructor is JUST ONE speaker. The Internet, movies, and TV are excellent resources, but they do not provide feedback on comprehension.
- Language is Culture Specific: without being part of a cultural group, it is difficult to understand the attitudes, feelings, beliefs, personal values and subtle gradations of interpersonal relationships in the target culture.
- Authenticity of Instructional Materials: most materials are written by professional authors and/or teachers with a heavy focus on Standard English. Instructional videos are staged and scripted and do not represent the variety of patterns of authentic communication.
We address these challenges!
Give your program a competitive edge and adopt American Conversation. Based on authentic, high-interest video conversations and with focus on spontaneous speech, it will be a perfect companion for any academic, business or ESP course.
- Guided Listening Comprehension (with transcripts)
- Explanation of incorrect answers
- Features of Spontaneous Speech
Academic/Standard English is your priority – Conversational English is ours. Let’s work together!
Our next community webinar is a special event: on Friday 14th September 2012 (UTC 13.00, CET 15.00) our guest speaker will be Claire Hart. Register here for this upcoming English360 Community Webinar.
If you teach English for professional purposes, the aim is usually to prepare your learners to successfully communicate in the workplace. Most participants will have a series of communicative events which they need to take part in through the medium of English and, particularly with in-company learners, it becomes important to move away from just talking about their job and focus on helping them to do their job in English. Creating authentic and relevant communicative activities can sometimes be a challenge however. Claire Hart will share ideas on creating effective activities which enable learners to rehearse the communicative events they take part in during their working lives, leaving you with a 5 step plan you can use with your own learners.
Claire Hart is a business English and ESP teacher and teacher trainer delivering courses on behalf of The Pyramid Group in Ulm, Germany. She specialises in business English and technical English.
As an active member of the IATEFL BESIG (Business English Special Interest Group) Online Team, Claire is involved in the organisation of online events, the BESIG World Blog and BESIG´s social media profile. In addition, she enjoys writing EFL lesson plans and shares many of them on her Business English Lesson Plans blog.
In 2011 NIOW started to use English360 as an additional learning tool for Business English courses. With enthusiastic customers as a result. Menno Hordijik (E-learning Manager – NIOW) would like to share this success with everyone.
Why do we use English360 in our courses?
Until last year training at NIOW was traditional: classroom lessons, using books for homework.
Then the demand for a more versatile approach was growing. A substantial request for proposal for a Business English course required e-learning to be an essential element in the course programmes. Although a large number of e-learning systems are on the market, they all lack suitable content. When doing our research we eventually found the English360 system to be an excellent platform with content based on the elaborate Cambridge University Press’ study materials.
Blended learning: essential!
E-learning is now an integral part of almost all NIOW course programmes in combination with classroom training. Through this highly effective combination the efficiency of our courses has increased significantly. The trainer monitors the progress, provides feedback where necessary and uses the results of the exercises to make a lesson plan for the following classroom session. Parts where participants score poorly are discussed in class. NIOW only provides customized training programmes. This means that we use the available material from English360 in combination with tailor made theory and exercises.
Use of English360
Our trainers are trained in how to use English360 and taught how to monitor and coach participants. They are familiar with the workflow, so every trainer can deliver a valuable asset to a blended learning course. The platform is user friendly and therefore easy to learn. To ensure that participants make a good start with English360 a brief instruction is given during the first classroom session.
Summarizing the advantages for our clients:
• Better training results
• Lower investment
• Reduced travel costs
• Fewer classes during working hours
for NIOW using English360 means:
• More variety in types of courses
• Even more satisfied customers
Convinced of the benefits of English360?
Great conference in Santiago last Friday and Saturday – well worth the long flight. Pete Sharma was excellent as always and Penny Ur’s sessions were both spectacular. Her talk on higher order thinking skills in task design and teaching really made me think of how to help teachers apply those concepts to the content that they author in the English360 platform. Based on Penny’s talk I had an idea for a nifty continuum for drill design that might be useful – a good example of how a great conference session can act as a catalyst for further thought.
Anyway, I told the audience that the slides from my talk would be available on the blog, so here they are. Comments welcome.
Yesterday during our English360 Community Webinar presented by Mercedes Viola we discussed designing effective learning experiences. Mercedes reminded us of the importance of scenario-based tasks and the need for real-world interaction and exchanges.
Here is the link to the WebEx recording for those who were unable to attend or who would like to review the session.
Thanks for the great turn out – a true global gathering – it was great to see and chat with you all. Many thanks again to Mercedes and 4D content for sharing course design experience and ideas with us.
Our next Community Webinar will be at the beginning of September. We’ll post more details on this blog and Community forum.
Next Open tour is scheduled for 10th July 2012 from 16.00 to 17.00 and our next Open training is on 11th July 2012 from 13.00 to 14.00 CET
Our next community webinar is a special event: on Wednesday 4th July 2012 (UTC 16.00, CET 18.00) our guest speaker will be Mercedes Viola. Register here for this upcoming English360 Community Webinar.
In today’s knowledge economy, corporate clients need to become competent business English communicators. However, this could mean many different things depending on the people, the organization, the context and the changing circumstances and times.
On 4th of July (GMT 16.00, CET 18.00; check your local time), Mercedes Viola will share ideas on how to design different programmes and materials for business English learners. She will discuss how a mixture of traditional face-to-face sessions and online training blends the best of two worlds, allowing clients to reach the performance levels they need.
In this webinar, Mercedes will give practical examples of how she uses English360 to design effective learning experiences for her clients.
Mercedes Viola lives and works in Uruguay. She holds a degree from the Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay and is finishing her MA in TESOL.
Mercedes has been running a language school for more than 20 years. She is in charge of designing business English learning experiences for government-owned organizations, universities and many well-known global companies such as Microsoft, HP, American Express, McDonald’s, Deloitte, John Deere and MasterCard. She designs materials for business English clients and trains new teachers on business English.
Mercedes contributes to the British Council Teaching English site and is an active member of the BESIG Online Team. She delivers online presentations and workshops, and coordinates online events. She won the IATEFL BESIG Facilitator Scholarship in 2011.
Our English360 Community Webinars are held in our English360 WebEx meeting room. Register now to attend.
Join us on 4th July to share and get ideas!
Here are his slides
Here is the link to the WebEx recording for those who were unable to attend or who would like to review the session.
Thanks everyone for coming, it was great to see you all there. Special thanks to Mike for sharing his knowledge and experience with us.
Our next Community Webinar will be at the end of March. We’ll post more details on this blog and Community forum.
Our next Open Tour will be Tuesday 6 March 10.00 – 11.00 Central European time . The Open tour is a weekly virtual walkthrough for newcomers or all educators interested in finding out more about English360..
We will be holding Open Training sessions for all existing English360 school administrators and / or teachers on
- Friday 2nd March 11.00-12.00 Central European time
- Thursday 8 March 9.00 – 10.00 Central European time
Send an email to ”teacher support at english 360 dot com” to register or get more details.
Are you using English360 in conjunction with real-time tools?
How can these virtual meeting environments be used with learners?
Our next Community webinar will be presented by Mike Hogan.
Mike is a teacher trainer, author, and ELT consultant. He is experienced in virtual training using a range of synchronous and asynchronous platforms both with corporate clients and in teacher training sessions. He also moderates online workshops as part of the BESIG Online Team. Read more about Mike Hogan here.
Come along to our English360 Open Community Webinar to find out more on delivering lessons in real-time when learners are geographically dispersed or unable to attend face-to-face classroom lessons.
Register now to enjoy Mike Hogan ‘s expertise and experience of using virtual meeting rooms.
Send us an email to Register for the Community Webinar 28th Feb 13.00-14.00 CET