I had a wonderful weekend at Yeditepe University. A- two-day IATEFL Conference took place on the Asian side of Istanbul. I wholeheartedly agree with Graham Stanley on the reason why the choice for the Conference was Istanbul. ‘Discussing language teaching with and without technology in a country which has rich traditions and passion for change and innovation’ was amazing.
I was one of the roving reporters of the British Council and it was my first experience. Thanks to Sirin for all her support. Although it was the first time I was with the other three wonderful roving reporters (Adam, Aslı and Eva) to complete this mission, we worked as a great team in complete harmony and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Here are the brief summaries of the sessions I would like to share with you. You may read detailed reflections of nearly all the sessions from http://iatefleventsturkey.com/
1. Plenary Keynotes:
a) Scott Thornbury
His talk was the reason why Dogme is good for teachers. To support his theory, he shared some teachers’ reflections about the experience of using Dogme in their classes. The session was kind of an exploratory research. He did not refute the oppositions directly whereas he insisted that Dogme is irrefutable. You may get ideas from www.thornbuyscott.com, www.scottthurnbury.wordpress.com, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dogme
b) Lindsay Clandfield
Lindsay’s talk was titled as ‘Developing in the Socila Network’. His theme was teacher development and technology. He agrees that we teachers are developing but the main question is how we are developing.
Lindsay started his speech by making us aware the internet tools (Google, facebook, tweeter, wordpress, youtube, mobile phones et.) around us. After making us remember how technology is developed over the past years, he showed us how we were effected by them.
We learned Lindsay’s definition of a language teacher as a triangle and defined our own triangles. To me it was a kind of self-assessment activity to assess my own teaching. He also mentioned how our materials and teaching changed depending on social networks. Besides, he mentioned the change to our personality by giving reference to some authors such as Sherry Thurkle from her speech on http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html Theory and practice were in combination in his speech.
c) Gavin Dudeney
Gavin’s talk was about personal and educational technology landmarks, lessons from the past and news of the future. After his personal landmarks, he let us think where we are now and what we actually use as tools.
To me, one of the highlights of Gavin’s speech was the connection he made between technology and language teaching methods. For example, he mentioned the relationship between Constructivism and VLEs.
Gavin pointed out that the trainers are not using technology in their courses, to have the teachers use technology, the trainers should use more. As the last part of his speech, he showed us a picture of a robot teacher.This picture implies that robots may be hired as language teachers in the future.
You can download his speech from http://www.dudeney.com/EdTech.pdf
d) JJ Wilson: Myths Mentors &Memories: The Dream Lives of Teachers
The second day’s plenary started with JJ’s presentation on activities on reflecting our teaching. The activities are; Stepping Stones,Which one are you closer?, balloon activity. You can get the details of these activities on http://iatefleventsturkey.com/
He mentioned that great teachers are the ones who focus on students and improve themselves according to students’ needs. He added that we can do observations, record our lessons, do self-assessment activities to measure our performance as teachers.
e) Brendan Wightman: Are tablets a Sweet Pill for Teachers to Swallow?
Brendan wanted us to argue the point that tablets could solve the problems we face in education. He informed us that Turkey is not the first country to invest huge amounts of Money on educational Technologies. If educational Technologies are used effectively and if they save time and Money, the idea of using them become meaningful. We have to be careful and we should have a purpose to use them otherwise, they can be obstructs for real educational progress.
2. Concurrent Keynotes:
a) Nick Robinson: What’s next in my Career as a teacher? Time to Get Published
Nick’s talk was about publishing. He believed that todays writers need to be on twitter, blog, linkedin to create his/ her own platform. This is a community and the writer has to be interactive in this community. You can also visit the address he shared with us: http://nickrobinsonelt.com/authors/get-represented/
b) Daniel Martin: Using IBWs to the Full Potential
Daniel’s speech was about Interactive White Boards. He mentioned that the boards are just tools. We should take advantage of Technologies but the real revolution is the effective domain of teaching. Technology helps us open the windows. If we don’t have the right learning environment technology does not work.
c) Marisa Constantinides- Learning and Unlearning Teaching
What I have learnt from Marisa is that as language teachers, there are C’S to learn and C’s to lose. The C’s to learn are Creativity, Collaboration and Change for ourselves. but how can we change for ourselves? First we must have a desire to change. In order to change we have to change Complacency, Comfort Zone and Lack of Curiosity, which are the C’s to lose. You can read more from http://iatefleventsturkey.com/ and you can visit http://marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org/2010/02/14/what-kind-of-teacher...
Maria also mentioned the kind of baggage a teacher carries. Actually, there are bloks to learning. These are :values, self-perception, self-image, strategy bloks. Marisa also mentioned some projects: APLANET PROJECT and #ELT CHAT. You can get details on http://iatefleventsturkey.com/
a) Burcu Tezcan Ünal & Devrim Özdemir: A Dialogic Debate with or without Technology
Burcu and Devrim’ workshop was on Dialogic Debate to help teacher development. They tried to help us improve teacher development with this type of debate. Dialogic Debate has the power of talk to stimulate, support and have purposefulness. It has cognitive and social empowerment and it promotes communication besides giving educational reflection. There is no answer in Dialogic Debate. It’s about the process and it is about discovering something. These two trainers; Burcu and Devrim, showed us some examples by using three tasks mentioned below:
1. Wh- questions : The aim is to divide the teachers into pairs and give roles to them and tell them to continue interaction with questions about any issues they are having.
2. Ping-pong- Open ended Questions: We could share a problem about teaching in class and ask the teachers to play the ping-pong. They should react one by one like the game. We could also have fun while using this technique.
3. Sentence Completion: The teachers may discuss teaching issues such as online workbooks. One group may complete the sentence starting with ‘Online books …..’ The other group may aggree or disagree.
b) Büşra Nur Özer&Sevim Açıkgöz-Do the Accept Becoming Villagers?
Two brilliant young teachers, Busra Nur and Sevim, summarised one of the researches about young people, technology and their teachers. They used Prezi for this presentation. According to this research, kids find teachers who don’t use technology boring, bad, old-fashioned and they think the teachers who use technology in class are cool, modern and successful. Here is another point of view from young learners as our students.
Deniz Ateşok: ASSESSMENT with Web 2.0 Tools
Deniz shared some assessment samples and the logic behind them during her workshop. In order to put ourselves into our students’ shoes, she used a video to show what is happening to the students during the exam. After that, she overviewed alternative and traditional assesments. Deniz also mentioned that we should decide the purpose of the exams: assessment of learning or Assessment for learning. She suggested some websites for four skills.
For assessing speaking, she suggested:
1. Voxopop- it is between the teacher and the members (www. voxopop.com)
2. Voicethread- adding voices on the slide. (www. voicethread.com)
For assessing listening, she suggested:
1. Potcasts- (www.podcastsinenglish.com) Then the students go to
2. the (www.toondoo.com) to create their cartoons by using the notes they take while listening to the dialogues from potcasts and they create stories using these scripts.
For assessing reading, she suggested:
1. www.linoit. com-
2. Word clouds to recyle vocabulary.
For assessing writing, Deniz suggested:
1. www. Sync.in – It is a bit like Vikis, but more user-friendly.
2. www. penzu.com- It is an online notebook. This can be an online portfolio.Gulnur Sahin
- Teaching resources
- Teacher development
- Teacher training