Saturday, 6 June 2015

IATEFL Manchester Feedback

I originally wrote this feedback post on another blog, but thought I would like to add it here on my main blog.  Better late than never :-)

 I was very happy to be able to travel to Manchester on Saturday April 11th to attend the IATEFL conference for 2 days. I went there by train direct from Oxford.  The journey was very smooth and in no time at all I arrived in Manchester Picadilly and met my friend and colleague Carol.  I stayed in Manchester for one night at the Abode Hotel.

The conference was a great event all round and it was wonderful to have the chance to meet up with so many members of my PLN, albeit briefly. Below the only conference image I had taken from my mobile and this is a lovely one which includes Dr Nellie Deutsch and Vicky Loras.  It was a pleasure to meet them and so many others. Here's a link to a fabulous slideshow of IATEFL 2015 Manchester created by Dr Nellie Deutsch.

It was also a great pleasure to spend a lot of time with my colleague Carol Rainbow, and some time with Sue Annan from the Project 52 blog, Marisa, who has written an excellent feedback post here , and Sue-Lyons in the break times, and members of the Consultants-e team, on Sunday over cocktails :-)  If you are on Facebook, there is a delightful picture on the Consultants-E Facebook page.

Sadly, I missed a few people I wanted to meet such as Sandy Millin, and Sharon Hartle, but being such a huge conference centre with over 2,000 delegates, it was not possible to see everyone amongst the crowds....

I attended a super British Council hosted event on Saturday night at the Manchester Town Hall, and was blown away by the magnificence of its grandeur and the awe-inspiring gothic architecture.  I had a truly super evening there, mingling with so many delegates and people I knew.....
The canapes and refreshments were delicious and the wine flowed!!  I found out that the bees painted on the floor of the town hall denoted the symbol of Manchester as a leading industrial power in the past (as busy as a bee).

Below a collage I created using of 4 images kindly shared by Carol Rainbow:

Prior to that I had also attended a Cambridge University Press party where the new series of Empower course books was presented at the Manchester Museum of Science and Technology, and that was very enjoyable as well.  Images below reproduced with kind permission from Carol Rainbow:

I received a free copy of the new B1 level Empower coursebook, which looks impressive.

I was lucky enough to be able to sample a slice of the delicious Going Mobile cake.  Pictures below reproduced with kind permission of Carol Rainbow :-))

I asked the authors Nicky and Gavin if they could sign my personal copy of Going Mobile, and they did!  I hope to write up a book review of it on this blog, so watch this space!

All the sessions I attended were very interesting and I learned a lot.  It was good to benefit from the knowledge shared and this certainly enhanced my CPD.  In particular I would like to mention the following ones:

'Spice up your lessons with a song' by Sandra Vida from Slovenia was inspirational and offered some practical and fun examples to use straight in the classroom.  Sandra has an excellent blog called Lessons with Music, which contains a huge source of lesson plans and ideas for using contemporary pop songs.

 I discovered some new techniques for using Pink Floyd's 'We don't want no education' as a topic to get teens to brainstorm what they DO want from education.

Also the song 'Add Me' by Chumbawamba to get students to discuss the dangers of friending strangers on Facebook was thought-provoking:

Paul Driver's session on using Augmented Reality was fascinating, and the future use of AR in EFL classrooms is probably just around the corner for most of us.

He gave us some great examples of work he is already doing with his students at the British Study Centre, Oxford, in this innovative and cutting edge area.

I also found  the talk by Jason Anderson on 'Lying is the best policy', based around his new publication called 'Speaking Games', very practical and will implement some of the ideas into my future teaching.

The many uses of 'GET' by Kate Evans appealed to me and I wasn't disappointed!

In addition, I will mention the talk by Candy van Olst, called ' How does chatting become a purposeful conversation'.  I think I already apply quite a few things she pointed out to her audience.  I will make sure I include even more fillers for 'just chatting' with my classes in the future!

Finally, I found the Sunday morning plenary session by Joy Egbert to be very informative and useful.  She mentioned lots of tips on how to promote task engagement and demonstrated a variety of technological tools, including Bighugelabs Magazine app, which I love using.

I am so thankful for having had this opportunity to develop my CPD and to meet so many people I connect with online.

Next year the IATEFL conference is held in Birmingham, and I would love to attend!!!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

SEETA Guest Blogger for April

I am proud to be this month's guest blogger for the South Eastern Europe Teachers Association.

I am currently having a break at the momen, so I am posting reflections and insights into teaching and discussing some of my favourite topics over the five days.

Please do join in the SEETA community. You will need to register in order to read the Guest Bloggers' posts and have access to many resources.  There is a huge archive of past guest blog posts and they make for fascinating reading!

In the past I have enjoyed many courses with SEETA, including mLearning, creative reading, digital storytelling, digital literacies, and humanism and modern technology.  I learned a lot from these excellent sessions and you can find out more by looking at the posts in my SEETA label

I am enjoying writing daily blog posts on a variety of topics connected to my teaching life, and I hope to see you there.

Monday, 30 March 2015

IATEFL Manchester 2015

I have booked my train ticket to Manchester and I will spend 2 days there, more or less.  I haven't attended a live international conference like this since IATEFL Brighton 2011, when I presented as well. The past few years I have kept extremely busy attending and presenting at online conferences, and I have to admit, the experiences have all been just as exhilirating and exciting!!
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I wrote a few blog posts about my time in Brighton:

IATEFL Brighton 2011 Rocked!
The King & I at IATEFL Brighton 2011:

The question is: does attending a conference in person have the slight edge over an online conference?  Well the obvious advantage is that you can physically meet and greet someone, you can have coffee, lunch or drinks with them, you can go dancing, you can share jokes, you can take group photos, selfies, swop business cards, swop stories and so on.

However, believe it or not, at an online conference, you can do all of the above, virtually, 24/7.  In 2nd Life I have attended a virtual drinks party and lots of food was present, and dancing too!  In online webinars I have shared virtual food and drinks from around the world, and attended farewell parties, the EVO Podcasting webinar, being one of the most amazing and memorable ones.  Also singing and dancing along to rap tunes at an online conference closing ceremony springs to mind....

So, what is the verdict??

I can't wait to meet members of my PLN on Saturday April 11th and Sunday April 12th!!  Please do come up and say 'Hi' if you see me!! I am very excited about the chance to catch up with so many people!!  It will be a dream come true....

I will be meeting members of The Consultants-E team on Sunday! 

You can read about when they are presenting by reading the cool newspaper article in this blog post: IATEFL Manchester Edition

You can find out more about this great international event by clicking on the image below:

Tune in for live coverage from 10th April 2015

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Spring Blog Festival - Slides for A Blogger's Story: Top Ten Topics

I thoroughly enjoyed presenting at the Spring Blog Festival 2015 on Saturday March 21st.
Below you can see the slides for my session.  I do hope you like them.  There is a full list of resources from the session and they can be found on the last page of the slides via QR codes.

I was able to attend three wonderful presentations and learned a lot from them. 

1. SBF15: Halina on Competence in Communication and Interpersonal Skills 

3. SBF15: Blogging and Logging conversations among educators

Hopefully I will view the other presentations as soon as I can :-)

I would like to thank Dr Nellie Deutsch for organizing such an uplifting day of bloggers showcasing why they blog, and also thanks to Maria Jesus for moderating my session and Brian Boneham for providing lots of links during the session..  Thanks also to everybody who attended my talk.  It was lovely to see you all.  Sorry you couldn't see me, but I think I could be hard loudly and clearly :-)

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Spring Blog Festival!

I am delighted and very honoured to be one of the presenters for the Spring Blog Festival on Saturday March 21st. This free annual event is hosted by Dr Nellie Deutsch and it will be a day-long extravaganza of bloggers highlighting the ways blogs can be used in education and much, much more!  It is hosted on WiZiq platform and you simply need to register, details below.

My talk will be based around my main Janet's Abruzzo Edublog, and I will highlight how it has helped me to develop both professionally and personally.  I hope to see you there!

Link to class:

More information about the event from the official WizIQ blog:

Below, the notes from the WizIQ site, kindly reproduced with permission:

Join the Spring Blog Festival
You're invited to join the 2nd annual 12-hour Spring Blog Festival on March 21, 2015. Just click here to get the live online sessions and recordings, the content, and a chance to view the recordings when the event is over. You will also have a chance to connect with the presenters and other bloggers in the course feed.