Today Keira Ives-Keeler, Assistant Director of British Council Russia attended E-merging Forum 4. She visited Nicky Hockly’s plenary session and shared her impressions with us.

Today I was lucky enough to attend one of the most engaging and entertaining lectures I’ve ever sat through at the E-merging Forum: Nicky Hockly’s plenary session on “Digital Literacies”. From literal videos to remix, Nicky took us on a whistle-stop tour through “digital literacies” giving examples of concrete activities and highlighting ways in which to adapt them to high, low and no-resource classroom contexts.

The session began with the story of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, which I’m pretty sure had at least half of the hall fooled until she started to suggest teachers organising Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus Awareness Days and student marches through the streets of Moscow to highlight the poor octopuses’ plight! Nicky then went onto explain how website analysis can be a great ELT activity and can be developed to encompass speaking skills, as well as reading and can also be used to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of online behaviours – a crucial part of everyday life in the technology-led world that we live in today.

After this we looked at the concept of “remix” using the example of the revival (and remix) of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan and ways in which this technique could also be used in the classroom to stimulate creativity among students, using digital tools to increase engagement.

Finally, my favourite activity was “literal videos” – hours of fun to be had watching these online I promise you, go for Harry Potter first and I guarantee that you’ll be in fits of laughter before the credits roll. Moreover, a fantastic activity for the classroom in giving students an opportunity to develop their subtitling skills, as well as their general vocabulary.

What I liked most about the session and all of the suggested activities was that actually the focus remained on language rather than digital resources – the digital aspect served to support the activities and make them more engaging (especially for younger learners) but they were really just tools – pretty much of all the activities could be adapted to different contexts. More importantly, the whole approach was innovative and creative and inspired innovation and creativity among students – something I think we should all be striving for in our classrooms.

The whole experience of attending theforum was inspiring and it was fantastic to see so many teachers from all over Russia coming together and sharing ideas and experiences in a positive and open environment. Looking forward to hearing everyone else’s take on the event and how they found digital literacies worked back in their own classrooms!

Posted by Keira Ives-Keeler

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