Saturday, 8 March 2014

Spring Blog Festival

I would like to highlight an upcoming online event next weekend which may be of interest to my readers, especially those of you who are bloggers, or are interested in becoming bloggers.  
Below is an extract from the introduction to the session information page, and a link to this exciting event:

'The Spring Blog Festival (SBF) is 3-day blog festival showcasing bloggers, their work, and valuable tips for blogging for reflective practice or with students. This event takes place online on WizIQ, on March 14-16, 2014.  Highlights include: Why blog?, background to blogging, famous bloggers, getting started, and best practices and challenges involved in blogging.


The conference organizers are Dr. Nellie Deutsch, Sylvia Guinan, and Shelly Sanchez Terrell 

I am sure it is going to be a very educational and enlightening event!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Feedback on EVO Crafting the ePerfect Textbook 2014

Sunday February16th marked the final day of the exciting five-week EVO Crafting the ePerfect Textbook session.  It has been a truly exhilarating and educational experience, connecting with over 500 teachers from around the globe.  I was helping the amazing organizer Shelly Terrell to moderate the Crafting the ePerfect eTextbook, together with 14 other moderators as seen in the screenshot below.

This session was a great CPD opportunity for me and I learned so much about how to write and publish a chapter of a textbook.  I was able to meet and interact with so many enthusiastic participants, some I knew already, but a lot of new people, I met for the first time.  The interactions took place mostly on the Google+ EVO Crafting the ePerfect Textbook community.  Google+ was a new experience for me and I have to say I enjoyed learning more about how this site functions. It was the perfect place to host the session and everything was expertly organized by Shelly Terrell into the different weeks of the session.

There is a Listly Ebook EVO bookshelf of all the ebooks / pdfs / publications from the community here 

During the pre-registration week and then the five weeks of the session, I enjoyed meeting and greeting all the participants and seeing how their projects developed from mindmapping of the initial ideas to the final creation of their ebook chapter.  I was able to comment on and encourage the participants within the Google+ community and a lot of interesting resources and links were shared by everyone, moderators and participants alike. It was wonderful to see how everything evolved and how much enthusisam was poured into the session.

Apart from popping in daily to see what was happening in the community, I also added a few images and links to tools, that I thought might be useful.  Below a list of some of the tools I used during the five weeks in no particular order.

Write Comics

Big Huge Labs Magazine cover effect

Haiku Deck 3, 2, 1 Introduction

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad


Tagxedo - A list of web 2.0 tools used by participants for their 3,2,1 introductions

Text2mindmap of Week 3 impressions

Fodey newspaper article feedback

A Bookr of my impressions of the session.

I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone for making these five weeks such a wonderful and stimulating experience!   A special thanks to Shelly Terrell the super organizer, Rubena  St Louis our session mentor, all my lovely co-moderators and all the fabulous participants. Congratulations to everyone who completed their ebook chapter!!

Also, included is a huge thanks to the very hardworking EVO Moderators' team led by Nina Liakos.  The four-week Moderator Training session before the actual EVO sessions began, was very interesting and extremely practical.  All in all, the past 10 weeks have flown past!

One of the participants and my dear fellow-blogger Natasa,  has posted feedback of how her ebook chapter evolved during the five weeks.  Many congratulations for her excellent ebook chapter called Travel.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

CO14 - An Exciting Weekend of CPD!

This weekend Friday 7th February to Sunday 9th February promises to be an exciting couple of days for educators around the world.

It is the Connecting Online's 2014 E-conference, which is free to attend. It is all hosted on the WizIq platform.  Speakers include Professor Curt Bonk, Shelly Terrell, Dr Nellie Deutsch, Dr Ludmilla Smirnova, Stephen Downes and many more! I too will be presenting my tutorial on 'Visually Inspire your Students!' on Sunday at 5pm EST, or 11pm Rome time. This presentation is the same one I did for the Reform Symposium in 2013.  It will be a great pleasure for me to share my ideas to a wider audience.

The themes for the CO14 econference are as follows (reposted from the wiziq newsletter site with kind permission to reproduce and share)

'Educators at all levels will find this conference very useful, as many eminent intellectuals from across the globe will be holding webinars on a variety of topics that include:

- Connecting Online to Improve Instruction and Learning: Online Learning and Instructional Experiences

- Experiences with technology in face-to-face and online classes. What worked and what didn't work for you?

- How do you use technology to promote your online workshops, consultation, and communities?

- Research conducted on e-learning

- Books written on e-learning

- 21st Century learning and teaching

- Challenges of the 21st Century learning/teaching environment

- Leading a business with e-learning technology

I look forward to seeing you over the weekend.  I can guarantee you it will be very educational, enlightening and above all, lots of fun!

Friday, 10 January 2014

EVO 2014 Sessions - Fab CPD Opportunity!!

You can now register for free to participate in this year's Electronic Village Online sessions! The registration period is from January 6th - 12th. Week one kicks off on Monday January 13th.  Each session lasts 5 weeks until February 16th. This will be a really exciting opportunity for Continuous Professional Development, and there are 19 different sessions to choose from. Click on the link here to read all about each session, so you can choose which one to join.

I am delighted to be moderating this year on the Crafting the ePerfect eTextbook session.

I will be sharing this moderating journey along with 15 fabulous and very experienced moderators who are teachers, trainers, authors, and materials' writers.  The team members are : Shelly Terrell, Özge Karaoglu, Lindsay Clandfield, Chuck Sandy, Terry Freedman, myself, Dave Guymon, Sylvia Guinan, Jake Duncan, André J. Spang, Jackie Gerstein, Jason Levine, Jennifer Verschoor, Debora Tebovich and our EVO mentor- Rubena St. Louis.

We are led and mentored in this session by our incredible team leader and organizer, Shelly Terrell.

Below I have copy pasted the outline of the Crafting the ePerfect Textbook session from the EVO session information page:

'Published textbooks are just the beginning of a teacher’s instructional tools. Often, teachers need additional support for their learners, but don’t have the time to collect, gather, organize, and produce supplemental materials in a cohesive beautiful document. In 5 weeks, teachers will aim to outline, design, and complete 1 chapter of an e-textbook that meets their learners’ needs and can be used yearly with a few edits and updates. Participants will be guided by 15 moderators from 12 different countries who are experienced and well-known in publishing and materials design. The moderators are teachers, award-winning coursebook authors, teacher trainers, app producers, edubloggers, keynote speakers, and authors of published books as well as e-books. Additionally, participants will participate in online collaborative peer feedback and learn how to use free digital tools to edit and improve writing so that they can use these tools effectively with their learners.' 
A fodey announcement I created which gives a few details of this pre-registration week, which has seen a huge amount of participants enrol for this session.  I have enjoyed meeting and welcoming participants from around the globe.

I am looking forward to seeing you in the session!!

My 3,2,1 Glogster Introduction

For more information, you can read this very insightful blog post by one of the lovely moderators, Debbie Tebovich , entitled EVO: Crafting your e-Perfect e-Textbook-Part 1

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodby 2013, Hello 2014!

2013 will go down in my personal history as a year of being preoccupied with an event from the past. At times this year, I could think of nothing else, and it threatened to overshadow any of the joys that 2013 actually managed to bring.  I am happy to say that the situation that has dominated since February 2009, is thankfully over for me and my family. I thank the legal team for all their tireless support and faith in us.  I thank the judge, who listened attentively, and then agreed to everything. I thank Karl for being my rock, I thank my sisters for always being there with me throughout the long process we have endured, and I thank everyone who has supported us along the way.

We can now look to the future, and hope that it will be a quiet and peaceful one, without high drama or worries!  Safe to say, this will be unlikely, given the very fabric of human nature.  Whatever happens, however, I am sure I will go forth with great optimism. Let's see what this new year will bring.

Highlights of 2013
In January & February, I attended and also had the opportunity to moderate on the EVO DigitalStorytelling for Kids. I enjoyed this experience very much indeed, and I learned a lot, thanks to the fabulous team of moderators and participants.

Attending Connecting Online 2013 e-conference in February, presenting at the 6th Virtual Round Table e-conference in May, and the Reform Symposium in October, all helped me to develop professionally.  It was wonderful to share so many interesting moments with educators from around the world.

I became a registered blogger for IATEFL Liverpool, but actually only managed to write 2 posts.  I was sorry I couldn't write more...

I worked on a collaborative book writing project with a group of international educators from Connecting Online 2012, and I wrote a chapter on Teaching Idioms Effectively.  I am now the proud owner of my own printed copy of Connecting Online for  Instruction and Learning, International Perspectives.

I tutored teachers on the Consultants-E 4-week Emoderation course in March 2013, and then moderated several Laureate Education, USA, 'Blend It' Online courses.  It was a great professional experience, and I hope to do more in 2014.

I taught f2f for the Lake School of English, Oxford and enjoyed teaching different classes. I will be teaching there again in a few weeks' time.  It will be a wonderful start to my academic teaching year, I am sure.

I celebrated my fifth year of blogging by writing this post, simply entitled Five.

Olive Picking Weekend
I enjoyed picking our olives in November, and I then created a Photopeach slideshow as an example for a weekend activity to show to my 'Blend It' online students at the time.

Janet's Weekend on PhotoPeach


Fave Blog Post of 2013
My favourite post of 2013 has got to be The Machine vs Janet, which I later changed to Janet vs the Machine.  It is a true story, and I was thrilled that my perseverance in this particular case, finally paid off.

The motto is: If something seems insurmountable to overcome, never, ever give up hope!!

Out of a negative situation, a positive one emerged, and to my delight this blog post was turned into a chapter for an ebook,called The Little Book of Blogs, compiled by Anne Fox from The Consultants-e.  The ebook contains a host of great chapters on all manners of topics, and you can download a free copy if you click on this post.   Enjoy!

Fluffy's Hectic Life
Fluffy's Blog - Fluffy is a constant source of joy and a bundle of fun.  He is very mild-mannered, and he tends to have a lot of adventures.  His presence can brighten up anybody's day! His portrait is now hanging in the local museum, as seen below.

An Indomitable Spirit 
 The person I most look up to in the whole world is my dear mum, who has overcome all the odds that were stacked against her one fateful day in February 2009.....

The image below, taken just a few weeks ago in Oxford, is full of optimism for the future.  Nobody can imagine the history of what lies behind her beautiful smile, the stuggles and frustrations of the past 5 years, the incredible will to live, the courage, fortitude and bravery.  To survive her catastrophic brain injury after months in hospital and rehabilitation, and to now lead a quiet, peaceful and simple lifestyle, is more than we had ever hoped for.  The anxious and terrifying vigils by her bedside, in the weeks following the cycle accident, not knowing if she was going to come out of her coma, not knowing if she was ever going to be strong enough to live a normal life ever again, is something hard to forget.

Now, however, it is time to finally move on, and look forward to a happy future, which is full of hope....

A Toast to 2014!
Finally, to sum up this reflective post, a huge cheers to all my blog readers, members of my PLN, friends, family and colleagues all over the world.  I hope 2014 will be a wonderful year for you all :-))

Post Scriptum
2014 has some exciting events in store, and I will be writing about them in the New Year.  Watch this space!

2014 is now!!