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Nives' endeavours as an English Teacher


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IATEFL Day 1 Sessions

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The following videos and session details come straight from the IATEFL – British Council website, adding them here for my readers to access via the links to the website or watch here and leave their comments, thank you. The videos are not in the order of appearance, but haphazard according to my own viewings. 

ELT Journal Debate

Presenter(s): Peter Medgyes and Alessia Cogo

Session detailsEnglish as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is interesting for researchers, but not important for teachers and learners
Has English has become the global lingua franca, there has been a lot of discussion of, and investigation into, the varied ways in which it is spoken around the world, and by different groups of speakers. But is such variation in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) relevant to the ELT classroom? Is what we have learned about ELF important for English language teachers and learners? These two speakers will debate the issues.

Outside in: bringing new technology perspectives to ELT

Presenter(s): Geoff stead, Donald Clark, Paul Driver, Yvonne Rogers

Session detailsWe talk a lot about technology in ELT but the gap between what we do, and could do, is becoming a chasm. A panel of technology experts, bringing experiences from outside the ELT world, will discuss trends such as machine translation, artificial intelligence, chatbots and future workplaces. Their perspectives will challenge our current thinking, and help us consider future possibilities.

British Council Signature Event

Presenter(s): Moderator: Catherine Walter, Syrian Refugee Stakeholders
Session detailsLanguage for Resilience

The report examines the role that language can play in enhancing the resilience of Syrian refugees and host communities. The ‘Language for Resilience’ report was commissioned in response to the unprecedented effects of the Syrian refugee crisis and brings together information gathered though interviews with refugees, host communities and those working to support them, with lessons learned from past and on-going British Council language programming in conflict and post-conflict areas. Key practitioners and Syrian refugee stakeholders will share their thoughts on the role of language in enhancing the resilience of individuals and communities affected by crisis.

Building fluency and comprehension in dyslexic readers

Presenter(s): Julia Koifman
Session details: Building fluency and comprehension in dyslexic readers

This talk focuses on teaching dyslexic students reading comprehension and improving their spelling, speaking and writing skills. It explores ways to activate the inherent strengths of the dyslexic mind and deals with modern and effective methodology proposed by Israeli Association for LD People.

Writing methodology texts: bridging the research/practice gap

Presenter(s): Scott Thornbury
Session detailsWriting methodology texts: bridging the research/practice gap

How do methodology writers mediate the gap between researchers and practitioners? In this talk, Scott Thornbury explores the way a number of writers perform this bridging function, and how these principles informed the writing of The New A-Z of ELT.

Not again? A new revised edition of Practical English Usage

Presenter(s): Michael Swan
Session detailsNot again? A new revised edition of Practical English Usage

Micheal will recapitulate the principles behind the best-selling Practical English Usage (OUP) and explain why a fourth edition is needed. He will describe the many updates and additions and show how the material has been restructured, so that the book constitutes not only a usage guide, but also a complete learners’ grammar.

A.S Hornby Educational Trust Scholars’ presentation

Presenter(s):  Sagun Shrestha, Oumar Moussa Djigo, Noel Franco, Maricarmen Gamero, Komila Tangirova, Jayantha Ratnayake, Tran Phan, Mirian Fuhr, Saifa Haque, Julius Onen Okot Daniel, Betelhem Tsehayu, Mehdi Gholikhan
Session detailsFactors influencing English language teacher motivation

Teacher motivation plays a key role in teachers’ engagement in professional development and in the quality of their practice in the classroom. As a result, understanding motivation is essential to helping teachers deal effectively with the challenges they face. The Hornby scholars will bring their wide range of knowledge and understanding of different educational contexts to explore this crucial issue.

Making pronunciation an integral part of your classroom practice

Presenter(s): Mark McKinnon, Nicola Meldrum
Session detailsMaking pronunciation an integral part of your classroom practice
How much pronunciation work takes place in the average EFL classroom? Many teachers would admit that a lot less goes on than they would like. It makes sense that without sufficient mastery of pronunciation, being understood and understanding others is virtually impossible. In this talk, Mark McKinnon and Nicola Meldrum will cover practical ideas on how to fully integrate pronunciation into classroom work.


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IATEFL Conference Glasgow Day 2 plenary by SARAH MERCER

The IATEFL Conferences just keep getting better and better, year after year! The topics are always at the forefront of Continuing Professional Development especially for English language teachers in Europe. Today was especially informative as Sarah Mercer broached the topic of Teacher burnout, actively engaged her live audience with not 1 but 3 activities! The flurry of chatter as the literal audience in large number present got to exchange their ideas on the topic at hand. I do hope that these activities also provided for new faces to make acquaintance.

The basis of her talk is the role of psychology in teaching and learning foreign languages, stressing the importance of psychology as ‘communication is key’ fundamentally at the “heart” of the teaching interaction.

Below are some screen clips that I was fortunate to be able to get via the poor internet connection which was providing a challenge for me today! Soon to be added the video to her plenary talk for you all to enjoy in case you missed it live online today.

Remember to tune in here to watch the live online events or the recordings shared graciously via British Council in conjunction with the IATEFL organizers.

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About Sarah Mercer: Sarah Mercer is currently Professor of Foreign Language Teaching at the University of Graz, Austria, where she is Head of ELT Research and Methodology and Deputy Head of the Centre for Teaching and Learning in Arts and Humanities. Her research interests include all aspects of the psychology surrounding the foreign language learning and teaching experience, focusing in particular on issues of self and identity. She is the author, co-author and co-editor of several books in this area including, Towards an Understanding of Language Learner Self-Concept, Psychology for Language Learning, Multiple Perspectives on the Self in SLA, New Directions in Language Learning Psychology, Positive Psychology in SLA, Exploring Psychology for Language Teachers (Winner of the Ben Warren Prize), and Teacher Psychology in SLA. Her current research focuses on the professional wellbeing of language teachers in a diverse range of contexts.


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IATEFL Conference Glasgow 2017 Opening Plenary session by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli

Having enjoyed the opening of IATEFL Glasgow 2017, I finally ironed out the wrinkles in getting the video links to work (thanks to the IATEFL support team) the next step now is to share with my readers. Below is the video of the opening day plenary by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli  – intro and details copied from the IATEFL Online website.
Presenter(s): Gabriel Diaz Maggioli

Session details: Plenary session by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli

Gabriel Diaz Maggioli is a teacher who applies the lessons learned in the classroom to his roles as writer, researcher, administrator and teacher educator. He got his BA in TESOL in Uruguay and completed Master’s and Doctoral work at the University of Bath in the UK. He has acted as consultant for international organizations such as UNICEF, UNESCO, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, the US Department of State and the World Bank. A frequent presenter at local and international conferences, Gabriel has shared his theory-in-practice with colleagues in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and East Asia. He currently lives in Uruguay where he is tenured professor of TESOL Methods at the National Teacher Education College.

Empowering teachers through continued professional development: frameworks, practices and promises

The notion that language teachers need ongoing professional development opportunities should be considered a harmless platitude. Yet, as the field stands now, most of our colleagues are not provided with such opportunities as parts of their jobs. How is it then that we hear so many wonderful tales of exploration and discovery? Teachers have taken upon themselves to build these growth opportunities. In this plenary I will share some stories, and weave the plots of new stories to come by presenting a “state of the art” hawk eye view of professional development and recommending potential ways in which colleagues can help colleagues learn and develop.


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IATEFL Conference Opening Plenary Speaker: Gabriel Diaz Maggioli

The Conference is underway officially after the opening plenary by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli. He spoke about the importance of professional development (PD) for Teachers, as a general and ongoing practice. In a nutshell Gabriel asks us Teachers to ensure and push for sustainable PD by assessing our requirements, creating opportunities to learn within our own teaching circles, to reach out to the institutional admins where we work for funding. He also points out not to start out too big but to start small, creating a small opportune situation to increment our own PD – then the next very important step is to document the whole process. The documenting is also the ‘ticket’ to future sustainability of further programs to be implemented. He noted that if the admins were to invest in the continuing PD of their Teachers it would ultimately be to their benefit, by ensuring Teachers are better equipped to deal with new and updated learning strategies.

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One other important point that I found very interesting was how he categorizes the Teacher’s choice framework into four quadrants … the Updated Knowledge; the Aware; the Unaware and the outdated knowledge. See image below taken from his 2004 Research work available here.

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Take a moment to listen to Kirsteen Donaghy interview the opening plenary speaker Gabriel Diaz Maggioli

I’m off to listen to the next interview!

Click on the image below to watch #IATEFL Online interviews and much more!

IATEFL Online Banner 2017


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CO 17 Connecting Online Live Conference 3-5 Feb 2017

It’s on again for the eighth time, the Connecting Online Live Conference begins on Friday 3rd February to Sunday 5th February. A back to back from 8am to 4pm EST (Eastern Standard Time zone) with brilliant presenters world wide, logging in from their country to share their expertise in a field of interest.

Here is a video intro of the presenters…

Joining in to watch and participate live in the chat or on the moodle is absolutely FREE so why not join us as we share our experiences, knowledge and thoughts on Connecting Online. Link to the Moodle site. Use your social media to log in, no need to register! There are badges for attending and also Certificates for Reflecting on the Live Webinars.

Having presented with Tom Hodgers in CO15, this year we team up to talk shop… TEAMWORK in Online Collaboration. Teachers participating in online courses, training sessions or conferences via the moodle are sometimes required to work in Teams. Tom Hodgers has been managing the virtual teams for some years now, so with our experience working together as a Team and working with other colleagues online has equipped us with a bundle of information that we are willing to share.

However if you can’t make it to the live sessions, you can watch the recording via the moodle or YouTube playlist. Find out more here in Google Doc.

See you online !

 


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#MM9 – A reflection

The end of MM9 arrived Sunday December 11, 2016 and for the graduating alumni it was a wonderful ending after a month long [50 hours] professional development using Moodle for Teaching. The whole course designed, created by Dr Nellie Deutsch and managed on Integrating Technology -Moodle for Teachers site was an amazing experience. Not just for me but for all the participants in the Moodle course.

The Moodle has it’s own fascinating story which will not be dealt with here, but visit this page for more. Suffices to mention the acronym for Moodle – “modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment”. Whereupon we notice the all important word ‘learning’ and that is in essence the Moodle for use in today’s society and more importantly in Training and Education – more simply Facilitating Learning. Because that’s  what the moodle platform enhances without any doubt. An environment that facilitates learning be it professional training or simple courses for education, such as are English Grammar courses.

Let me get back to the very important topic at hand … MM9 – in my own experience it was a turning point in that it culminated into the finality of obtaining almost all the badges and final certificates that would be possible in any such course online. Including a special Presenter Certificate and Badge! The main presentation titled “Teaching Online with Moodle” was in conjunction with Thomas Hodgers (a constant colleague in online presentations during any Moodle Mooc with Dr Nellie Deutsch). The almost being for moderator … in my honest opinion and from past experience – being a moderator and teacher in training cannot possibly be carried out to its full potential if you have any normal existence. The hours involved are many and do not preclude time for dilly-dallying if the weekly tasks and activities and responding to ALL the participants need to get done in time. Sometimes those participants reach the thousands!

The whole course unfolded over five intense weeks of online work to complete set activities and tasks within a weekly time frame. Most of the tasks in this MM9 were ‘easier’ as it required making a video of one’s exercise in carrying out the tasks. Easier because it cut down time on preparing slides which then needed to be turned into audio visual presentations, as was the case in previous Moodle courses. The 3rd and 4th week were carried out in collaboration with set teams (set by the system but with the ability to change and join another team) this though proved to be as difficult as it is easy to fathom.

Why?
Well firstly because creating a Team may not seem difficult, but getting that team to communicate within a set time frame and complete activities with (in our Group B team) three diverse time zones. Add to that personal and professional work commitments outside the moodle. In fact the Moodle 3.1 site offers many advantages of setting up teams and working separately to other teams, that is each team has the possibility to communicate in a common forum without ‘seeing’ the other groups or teams working within the same moodle and access to the exact same forum. This is an amazing tool for a Teacher that does not need to go far when keeping an eye on all students in groups in one unique forum area. Also the amazing tracking system of the moodle enhances the Teacher’s own control of the students within a moodle for education.

Rounding up the Team experience brought about many conclusions and highlighted some areas which need to be ‘polished’ for teachers to work well and co-ordinate their online collaboration. Areas which can well be adapted to Teachers understanding the needs of their students in their own future moodle courses. We must succumb to the idea that online teaching and learning can only be carried out effectively with Teachers themselves understanding the mechanics of the rudimentary elements of working online and within a group. It will only ensure that when a teacher has had to go through the same motions that the student will eventually have to process then it can only benefit both Teacher and Students. After all most Teachers that have been teaching for at least 10 years have not had any experience with fast forward moving (& mobile) technology or LMS [Learning Management Systems] in their own learning. Most likely their learning involved very little use of technology at best a computer (for preparing essays, reports, etc.) overhead projector in lecture theatres, computer assisted library research and perhaps some online digital experience. This is only a generalization and it is sure that some were much luckier and had access to more modern technology for the year 2000. Also the use of emails and search engines did already exist, but how many of those at University in the late 1990’s actually relied upon the internet….? Not many I’ll bet.

The outline of the Moodle Mooc 9 course:
Overview of the Syllabus; Live Online classes (weekly webinars plus opening and closing webinars)
Week 1 – Introduction (learning about each other) & Video Tutorials
Week 2 – Course Design with Resources and Activities
Week 3 – Blocks available to a Moodle Course Manager
Week 4 & 5 – Collaborative Course Design
Bonus tasks – Manager of a Moodle 3.1 site (activities over and above the usual completion for certificate – resulting in a Bonus certificate for those that were able to complete the extra activities).
Badges for every week and final Certificate for Teacher & Manager of a Moodle Course.
All the work carried out in the tasks and set activities was exported into files within an Exabis folder which every participant has the possibility of exporting onto their own computer or external drive.
The final week saw the presentation of each Group Team Showcasing their work in an online live event.

This amazing experience has fulfilled my own desire to complete and attain a more in depth understanding of using the Moodle for online Teaching. It is the next step in my curriculum to prepare a self paced language learning course within a Moodle site.

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Final Presentation slides on SlideShare


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AutoCrat on Google Sheets

Creating a Certificate using AutoCrat add-on in Google Sheets

How to use Autocrat in Google Sheets using Google Forms

The use of AutoCrat to create automated mail-merge templates (eg. a certificate) within Google Drive is a great tool for Teachers.

Mail Merge templates can be used for:

  • Creating individual Certificates and having them emailed out to participants
  • Updating participants for a roster / schedule or agenda
  • Sending out test results
  • Sending out promotional letters / emails to many people

The important thing is that the Source Data Fields are created and matched when creating the Autocrat job.

To make all of this work you will need the “Source Data” which can come from a simple table in Google Sheets, or it can also be obtained using Google Forms where participants respond to a survey and the data is sent to the Google sheet automatically.

This will become your ‘source data’ and will be used to create your merged documents. Remember you can create more than one template for the same data.

The creation of a recent job allowed the collation of screen shots and the consequent creation of a Google Slides presentation which will be the basis for making a video Tutorial as well. The Google Slides will be shared publicly on SlideShare and the Video Tutorial will be added to the YouTube video tutorials playlist in my channel.

The whole procedure of taking screenshots in a step-by-step procedure in AutoCrat was also made possible with the online collaboration of my brother Marco Torresi. Working from Australia online connecting to me in Italy. That is one of the amazing things about Google Drive – the possibility to share the editing of the same documents simultaneously.

Sometimes even the use of a Screen share program assists in shortening the distance and making online collaboration even more fulfilling professionally. In our case we frequently use Skype. Obviously at the basis of all online live collaboration is the availability of a good or excellent internet connection – without which we would be delving into the dark ages!

Let’s take a look at the slides…please note that following the slides are the notes for the slides in relation to the procedure for using and setting up a new job in AutoCrat. 

Notes for the Slides to understand the process:

Slide 5
In this example I will be using AUTOCRAT to create a THANK YOU Note that will be automatically sent to the respondents of a specific Google form created, in this case, for an Online Live Webinar. Please note that Step 1 and 2 are interchangeable!
Slide 6
NB* Remember to add the AUTOCRAT app to Google sheets before starting!
Slide 7
Firstly I am going to create a Google document with the source data merge fields – here I have chosen Your Name and Timestamp.
Slide 8
Obviously the information for my source data merge will be gleaned from the information requested in the Google form.
In my form I am requesting an email for auto sending BUT in some cases you may want to collate and print the Certificate to hand out by hand, for example at the end of a conference.
Slide 9
The reason I am using a Google form is that the Google Form automatically creates a Google Sheets Document which is the basis I need for AutoCrat to work.
Slide 10
Once you have installed AutoCrat from the GET ADD-ONS tab then it will show up in your Add-ons tab. Select AUTOCRAT then click on OPEN.
Slide 11
At this point there are NO merge jobs so I will create a NEW JOB
Slide 12
Next give the Merge Job a name then click on next…
Slide 13
At this point the TEMPLATE will be the GOOGLE Document created at the beginning of this slide presentation.
Slide 14
Autocrat will ask me to select the file from my Google drive once selected it will show up in the step 2 of Autocrat.
Slide 15
At this point I will need to assign the Source data (from Google Sheets) into the document template.
Slide 16
At any time you can open the sidebar on the AutoCrat window and see the ‘source data fields’ available in your Google Sheets created from Google Form.
Slide 17
At this point AUTOCRAT needs to know how you want to save the document, that is the FILENAME you want to assign to each individual file…
1: I have selected the name of the Survey + Name of the respondent + Email of the respondent … You can choose what ever filename you want to match your Source Data criteria.
2: Then select the TYPE of document you want to ‘print’ in other words send out to the respondents (in my case it will occur automatically – but this is not necessary). You can choose Google doc or PDF … I selected pdf.
3: Multiple documents – means that each source data merge will actually produce one document for each respondent. I chose MULTIPLE as I want to automatically send each respondent their own individual document.
However if you want to collate all the documents in one SINGLE document – then you will get one document with X amount of pages (as many as respondents or recipients as are in the source data). This could be handy when you do not have the respondent’s email such as for students in your classroom.
Slide 18
Select the folder you want to save all the documents from YOUR OWN GOOGLE DRIVE folders or create new folder in Google Drive.
Slide 19
I will skip this step in AUTOCRAT – as it is not needed for the current exercise.
Slide 20
I will skip this step in AUTOCRAT – as it is not needed for the current exercise.
Slide 21
In this step 8 of AUTOCRAT you will need to tell the system what to do with the docs and whether to send the emails…I have chosen YES for my example.
Slide 22
Continuing in Step 8 of Autocrat, further down you can customize the email message (arrow 6) and send BCC or CC to the main collaborators (arrow 5) – in this case myself and Tom. Remember to add the source data field <> (arrow 4) where the respondent’s email will appear.
Slide 23
AUTOCRAT message is telling me to create TRIGGERS – that is to let Autocrat know when to carry out the job.
Slide 24
In this case the trigger is the Google form – after making the selection click on SAVE.
Slide 25
The job is now being saved.
Slide 26
AutoCrat has saved the job and now we can look at the icons that have appeared next to my job description and what they mean…
Slide 27
Each icon tells you what it represents when you hover over it with your mouse…The RED TAG is letting me know that I have an ‘unmapped tag’ in the job. One of my source data fields has not been assigned…clicking on the RED Tag will take me to the missing source data and ask me to assign the merge field. Once that is done – the AUTOCRAT job is complete and I can run the job.
Slide 28
… Now all we need is for the form to do it’s job!
Note the green arrows – The Help Guide is a great tool and the Manage Triggers link will allow you to change the triggers whenever you want.
Slide 29
Send out the form link and wait for the Respondents to reply…
Slide 30
Once the respondents have completed the survey on the Google Form – the trigger previously set will ensure that as soon as the respondent closes the Google form after filling in the required MERGE FIELDS then the Document will be EMAILED immediately.
At the same time GOOGLE DRIVE will collate a copy of all the emailed documents in the previously selected folder.
That’s it all the hard work is done automatically using AUTOCRAT in Google Sheets.

Please remember that if you find my instructions a little too confusing then do make reference to the AUTOCRAT pdf available within the Add-on or please leave a comment below and I will endeavour to assist.