Monday, April 09, 2012

Never late: My IATEFL reflections

The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre
Well, after more than a week, and since it’s never late, I’d like to summarize my IATEFL experience in Glasgow as a participant and speaker. I hope it will encapsulate not only what I got in terms of knowledge but what it meant to have met a warmth and friendly PLN.

First day (March 19th)
LTSIG Pre-conference Event: Challenges and limitations in MALL


Even though I am not using mobile technology as much as I would like to in the classroom (I have used it for some other academic activities: announcing meetings, recording  events, contacting speakers). Also, it’s true I have used it in an online course I moderate for the British Council (Learning Technologies (LTs) for the Classroom course)  to send task  or WizIQ session reminders,  but once again not as part of the tools participants should use to become familiar with mlearning. My first impression on this pre-conference: its organization and far as I understand Graham Stanley was behind all this. Kudos! One of the things I found interesting while I was listening to speakers about MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning) is that my PLN  does keep me well informed on what’s going on about mlearning (just read the e-Moderation Station and you will see what I am talking about). By the way, Shelly Terrell referred to this in her eloquent presentation called Evolution of the conference: the internet's impact on professional development. However, there's no denial that there's always something new to learn and reflect upon from F2F conferences. The short but rich participation of the speakers in this LTSIG pre-conference kept us all glue to our seats them -figuratively speaking- throwing at us valuable key phrases, notions, insights that  complemented or added new information about mlearning. Just from Gavin Dudeney and Gary Motteram I got some that are still swirling in my head sort of accommodating, complementing, and expanding what I have heard/read about tablets and smartphones before.  Here they are in the shape of a word cloud:



Another thing mentioned in this pre-conference that called my attention was the use of  ESL-EFL apps in contrast with the use of rich media content (Youtube, Skype). It seems to be the latter may have a more positive effect on language learning than the first one. This might be true. However, I still believe, and might be wrong about it, this is not a decision to be made by the teacher only. I am almost certain some EFL students would appreciate a dose of apps to practice grammar and vocabulary on their smartphones or tablets. I do remember showing this Wordshake app to a group of students and they were fascinated by it. As an EFL learner myself, I’d never discard apps or "discreet" exercises that may help in one way or another to practice something about the target language.

My reflections/questions at the end of this valuable pre-conference revolved around how willing an EFL teacher from my country (Venezuela) could be in integrating mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) in his/her classroom. I reckon this  will depend on certain issues like safety (Is it safe for students / teacher  to carry their own devices to the classroom?); affordability (Can all students/teachers afford having a mobile device? What the BYOD?); connectivity (Is there wireless or decent broadband connection at school/university?);  compatibility (Can you use same apps or any other content rich media in all mobile devices?); training (Are all teachers willing to use and/or be trained to learn how to use mobile devices in the classroom?); pedagogy (Are there clear examples on the use of mobile devices in language learning?).  For my part, I finally managed to get a smartphone last year. I am exploring apps and how to use them first (before taking the plunge into integrating mobile devices in my EAP class), although I am really tempted to try one of the activities suggested by Nicky Hockly in her blog e-moderation station


Here you can have a peek at Gavin Dudeney's and Gary Moterram's presentations. You can also check out: Challenges and limitations of MALL, Twitter Summary
     
Next days: Tuesday 20th, Wednesday 21st, Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd
Presentations

Some of the presentations I attended and enjoyed/learned a lot during these days were:

1.How to Reflect on Research Talks at the Conference. Simon Borg
2.It’s all very well in theory, but... Penny Ur
3.Technology speaks volumes: enhancing integration, participation and speaking abilities. Bruno Andrade
4.52: a year of subversive activity for the ELT classroom.  Lindsay Clandfield  & Luke Meddings
5.Tools for digital storytelling. Russell Stannard
6.Who needs a teacher’s book? Olwyn Alexander
7.Dialogue in teacher training: a sociocultural perspective. Willy Cardoso
8.How to create a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Nik Peachey
9.What’s in your blended teaching toolkit? Valentina Dodge
10.Teaching English in technologically-challenged environments. Dafne Gonzalez & Rubena St. Louis
11.Teaching Business English with technology in Latin America. Jennifer Verschoor
12.Evolution of the conference: the internet's impact on professional development. Shelly Terrell
13.What has #hashtagging ever done for us?Shaun Wilden
14.ELTCHAT and reflective teaching. Sharon Hartle
15.Continuous professional development through social networking. Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto
16.Creating your own interest-driven professional development path using social media. Bernadette Wall
17.TeCH-achers: get your one-way ticket to tech islands!. Isil Boy & Beyza Nur Yilmaz
18.No words: ideas for using sound and images in class. Michael Harrison
19.Supporting the teacher as innovative learning design. Diana Laurillard (Plenary)
 

SECC-Clyde Auditorium
As for my presentation, well, it was a really interesting, bit nerve-racking experience. I may not knock it out of the park, but all in all I think it was an important lesson as part of my professional development. Talking for the first time in an International event like IATEFL F2F to ESL-EFL teachers was really something. And I am still thankful to the British Council for having given the chance to participate in this event.  A small, but nice crowd attended my presentation among them Russell Stunnard (really supportive and a super great person - speaks Spanish amazingly fluently!), Sue-Lyon Jones (what a nice and lovely Lady!), Vicky Samuell (kind and sweet), María Muller (Nik Peachey’s wife – so great to have a Venezuelan listening to my presentation) . I do, do really thank them for having attended my session (the sound for videos didn't work, but was able to finish it just in time!). Last but not least, it was great to have had Luz Ortuñoz (British Council Project Officer in Venezuela) helping during this presentation and Carlos Mayora’s participation from Universidad Simón Bolívar. My presentation was called Technologies for ELT learning in Venezuela: Benefits of Screencasting and was presented on a Wednesday afternoon in the SECC-Clyde Auditorium, Gala 2. Here's my presentation:


Here's a summary of my presentation.  

My PLN: Surreal!


From day one till the last one Surreal! Having met part of the people I follow/follow me in Twitter/Facebook in Glasgow was really something…You know pictures, tweets, words, audio, video turned into flesh and bones to put it some way…This impression of meeting them and seeing how friendly, warm, supportive they are was really amazing…This tells quite a lot about the connections we make online and how powerful and permanent they can be in spite of what some people may perceive as an impersonal, cold, detached way of connecting, keeping updated, being informed or even making friends… In my humble opinion, online networks simply replicates in an amplified and different way what we do F2F (and what we have been doing for centuries: networking) reaching further than the local networks we (naturally) create in the place we live in (family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances). Here are the people I met in person and had the chance to greet or listened to their presentations:
Valentina Dodge
Shelly Terrell
Barbara Hoskins
Vicky Saumell
Sue Lyon-Jones
Cecilia Lemos
Jennifer Verschoor
Işıl Boy
Bernadette Wall
Russell Stunnard
Carl Dowse
Ronaldo Lima Jr
Bruno Andrade
Mike Harrison
Lindsay Clandfield
Some other people I met before F2F and was a real pleasure to see them again:
Graham Stanley
Gavin Dudeney
Nik Peachey
Eric Barber
Click on their pictures and start following this amazing PLN! You won't regret it. Some pictures of myself with part of this fantastic PLN:
Left to right: Barbara Hoskins, Sue-Lyon Jones and myself
Left to right: Jennifer Verschoor, myself, Shelly Terrel and Cecilia Lemos
Now one of the things that was really unexpected, but super pleasant at the same time was attending Valentina Dodge's presentation, What’s in your blended teaching toolkit? , and meeting a participant from a course I was a support tutor and Valentina  the main one 5 years ago! This is a Consultants-e course and the name of the participant is Margret Udo. Valentina Dodge assertively and clearly summed up the experience like this:
"Love the way this conference and this photo blend the online and face to face experience into a unique experience :-)"
Left to right: Valentina Dodge, Margret Udo and Myself
An to top it all off, I met two participants from an EVO (Electronic Village Online) session I co-moderated in 2011 and this year, Podcasting for the ESL-EFL classroom: Anne Breckenridge (2011 participant) and Kerry Shoeshep (2012 participant).
Anne Breckenridge
Kerry Shoeshep
They kindly gave me more feedback from this session (this time F2F). It does really encourage me to keep on moderating online. Something I did not learn out of the blue. I had one of the best tutors in the E-moderation: A Training Course for Online Tutors (2007) offered by the Consultants-e: Carl Dowse and also had the chance to work as support tutor with experienced e-moderators like Valentina Dodge and Anna Falcao. I did learn a lot from them and it all started from a sponsored place Gavin Dudeney gave me as a token on one of the courses offered by the Consultants-e after his one-week seminar delivered in Mérida, Venezuela, back in 2006. 
Fun in iATEFL!
Ferry party and Pecha Kucha night!
And not everything has to be that serious in IATEFL. Among the evening events, people danced to Scottish music and had a good laugh listening to funny, but serious brief talks facilitated by Jeremy Harmer in PK night. An here's a taste of it.
Ferry Party (Wednesday 21st)
Pecha Kucha (Thursday 22nd):
Right to left: Jeremy Harmer, Herbert Puchta, Willy Cardoso, Vicki Hollett, Shelly Terrell, Barbara Hoskins, Geoff Tranter Vicky Saumell and Helena Gomm
Barbara Hoskins and Shelly Terrell
Venezuelans on board!
Last but not least, it was fun to have shared these days in Glasgow with these wonderful Venezuelans!
Right to left: Rubena St. Louis, Elvina Castillo, Dafne González and myself. (Carlos Mayora's picture)
Right to left: Luz Ortuño (British Council), Miguel Mendoza (UCV) and Carlos Mayora (USB)
PS. Glad to have seen and talked to María Muller and Evelin Ojeda.

Pictures and videos by Miguel Mendoza. Videos using FlipCamera. Pictures Sony 35. Images from PLN taken from their Twitter pages, About me webpage and Podcasting for the ESL-EFL classroom Photo album.

13 comments:

Ronaldo Lima, Jr. said...

Thanks for sharing your reflections and also for sharing your presentation.
It was great to meet you face to face, Miguel, and I hope we can meet again soon.
Best,
Ronaldo

Miguel Mendoza said...

Thanks Ronaldo! Yes it was a real pleasure having met you in IATEFL!:)

yasencion said...

Thanks for sharing your reflections about the issues to consider to implement MALL in Venezuela. when you are in other contexts, it's difficult to imagine that safety, for example, could be an issue.

Miguel Mendoza said...

Hey Yuly. Yes and I thought it was an issue in Venezuela only (You know what's going on here)...It seems to be it is an issue in some other countries as well...Someone mentioned it in this MACMILLAN SIGNATURE EVENT. Enhancing students’ language acquisition through mobile technologies.

Annie B said...

Very comprehensive, Miguel. It gives a super overview of what IATEFL Glasgow 2012 was all about. I enjoyed listening to a bit of the Scottish dancing on the ferry (your recording was the best I've seen). I wish someone had recorded "You've really got a hold on me" at the karaoke on Monday night - a bit highlight for me! I see the singer in a photo with you on your blog! She was fantastic!
I was also at the mobile learning SIG and it gave me a lot of food for thought. The MacMillan symposium was good on that too ( I saw it later on Glasgow Online).
So great to get to meet you in person :-). Hasta la próxima! Anne

Miguel Mendoza said...

Ann B. wish I had attended karaoke night, but was rehearsing for my presentation...Next time:) Great to have met you! Chao=)

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Miguel

Really enjoyed reading your highlights of IATEFL Glasgow. Thanks so much for all the lovely images and for sharing your presentation and insights.

Best

Janet

Miguel Mendoza said...

Hi Janet! Happy you had the chance to read it! My pleasure. I did enjoy writing it!:)

USB ID profs said...

Hi, Miguel. This is Carlos Mayora. Would you mind if I shared this link in VENELT?

Miguel Mendoza said...

Hi Carlos. No I don't mind. Go ahead.

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