It's Friday and many of you will either already be on your weekend, or just looking forward to starting it.

It's Friday and many of you will either already be on your weekend, or just looking forward to starting it. Either way, I hope it's an enjoyable one and you manage to get outside, away from teaching, computers and all the rest and have some fun!

One thing I've noticed since a large part of my work life has been online, and my network of contacts expands with tools such as Twitter, etc., is that there's now a large blur between work and play - not only in terms of what I do, but also in terms of *when* I do it.

Working at home (when I'm in the country and not travelling) I tend to be blissfully unaware of most public holidays, they tend to pass me by and often I find myself wondering why the shops aren't open on a particular day, and why are the streets so quiet? I also tend to find myself working much later in the evening, and often at weekends. This has been more acute this year as I've spent a large amount of time travelling for work and even more time when I get back home catching up on the work I should have been doing while I was travelling!

For me this isn't necessarily a bad thing - I like my work and am happy to work long hours if I'm enjoying what I do, but there is this overwhelming quantity of information coming our way these days: Twitter, blogs, email, news sites, Facebook.... and it's very easy to find yourself drowning unless you have strategies for dealing with the information overload. So I was wondering - what sort of information comes your way on a daily basis, and how do you manage it?

These last two days I've been attending (and speaking at) a variety of sessions at an online conference called the 'Virtual Round Table', which I mentioned in a previous post. You can find more information here, but you'll need to hurry as it finishes today. Once again it's been great to see so many educators giving their time freely to attend and speak at an entirely free event, and the generosity of the organisers, who have done a great job. As the organiser of an annual online event myself, I know exactly how much work this involves. But it's thanks to this effort that many peope get a chance to get some professional development without having to find a lot of money to get to a face-to-face event. I know, of course, that online events are as much a dream for many people as f2f ones, but I do think initiatives like this are a start. Have any of you attended (or spoken at) online events? What do you think of them? How do they compare with the 'real thing'?

And so on to my weekend... I'm leaving on Monday for five days in Beirut, doing some work for a large non-profit organisation that engages in teaching and teacher training in the Middle East and North Africa. It's going to be my first time in Lebanon and I'm very much looking forward to finding out a bit about the country and trying some of the (famously) good food and wine! I've even managed to arrange to stay an extra day so I can see the city a little. But, due to work and time constraints, that means I'll be spending most of the weekend working on the planning for the training I have to do there. I guess I'll manage to slip out for lunch either Saturday or Sunday, but other than that it's going to be another working weekend.

How about yours - work or play? Whichever, I hope you have a good one.



Gavin's now finished blogging on the site - check the Guest Writers page to see who our current blogger is.


Good morning god, It may be evening there, It is good morning for Indians. Your hectic schedule has not surprised me a bit. How can the god of tech be without being divinely active! When you dedicate your life to a noble cause, God gives you the inestimable and inexhaustible energy to fulfill it. That is the secret of mother Teresa; that may be the secret of all great men and women (human beings) like you. I hope you will continue to inspire the enthusiasts of the English language like me. I am slowly becoming computer and internet savvy. Your technical expertise and knowledge will surely go a long way in enriching and expanding the beautiful, stylish and highly resourceful global language, English much farther. With yours  and the British council's timely help I am able to know something about twitter, virtual round table, face book and the like. I have already been invited to attend teachers work shop to be held by Face Book in Hyderabad on 28th November. I am waiting for the call from the BC to be the guest teacher's honor by and by..I hope I will reach the destination with the grace of tech god and The ALL MIGHTY hoping TO GET YOUR INVALUABLE COMMENTS AT THE EARLIEST, with kind regards, sincerely yours, JVL NARASIMHARAO.

Hi Gavin and allThe first half of your post sounds very familiar.You ask:"there is this overwhelming quantity of information coming our way these days: Twitter, blogs, email, news sites, Facebook.... and it's very easy to find yourself drowning unless you have strategies for dealing with the information overload. So I was wondering - what sort of information comes your way on a daily basis, and how do you manage it?"How do I manage it? Not very well. But I try. I self-imposed a 'no Twitter from 9-5' rule which I have managed to keep to. I find Twitter is the biggest time-eater. I'm following amazing people ( ) who have so much great stuff to share. It's fascinating and I have learnt so much from them but...I find I need to be conscious of INPUTand OUTPUT. There is a wealth of input available and of a very high quality. I am naturally greedy for it - it's there, it's free, it's good for me, I enjoy it. But if I consu,me too much of it I don't remember much anyway. And there must be output - otherwise there'll be no food on the table and I've got things I want to say. I do find the output ultimately more satisfying but of course it's much harder work.Anyway, better go and output now.Thanks for the topic.Johanna 

Weekends - for me usually a time to catch up REAL work instead of what I am paid for :-) Probably get the sack now! Friday night took part in an on-line conference, also got final bits ready for four sessions on Monday - a training session in the morning, Learning Platform consultancy after lunch, staff meeting training session on the LP after school followed by presentation to some Governors at 7.30pm.Saturday, apart from changing beds, doing laundry etc., have been most of the day in a superb conference in Second Life. I recorded it so have just finished the editing and uploading of audio files, I Would like to blog it but energy flagging slightly! Can I find a little more of what it takes?Tomorrow - early -  I really have to clean the house then hopefully a few of the family will visit :-) especially any of the ones with little ones that I can play with. By tomorrow evening maybe a visit to SL - where I do not seem to have spent much time in the last three weeks - sadly!So - my sort of work - but - like you, blurred lines between work and play, it invoves lots of fun and enjoyment on a good weekend as well as some learning. I think I would go crazy without my wonderful weekends!!

JVL Narasimharao,It's great to hear from you again and to hear of all the training opportunities you're taking advantage of when you can. My feeling is that not all technologies are appropriate in every given context, but it can do no harm to know about them, and then to evaluate them from our individual perspectives to figure out where they might fit into our teaching and training, and if they are worth pursuing.I think you have the wrong end of the stick about me, if you'll permit to say so - far from being the 'god of tech' I'm simply somoebody who works too many hours each day. That's my secret! So what's your secret - how do you find so much time to do your job, get all this training and still have time left over to read these blogs, write your own and everything else you do?Gavin

Johanna,Good and sensible points, thank you. I think the idea of turning things like Twitter off for a while is a very good one. The world and everybody will still be there when you get back. I tend to keep my email open all day (as it's almost all work-related) and delve into Twitter during coffee and lunch breaks. But it's easy to feel the compulsion to 'just have a quick look' now and again.You're right about 'input' and 'output' - can't really live by what you write on Twitter, and also it would be unsatisfying simply to do this. When I started using Twitter I was very scpetical, but I have to say it's now my number one course of professional development: links to articles, interesting websites, etc. and I would be hard-pushed to drop it completely.As I keep saying, it's all about the balance, and not getting too hung up if things happen while we're working, eating, sleeping, etc., and we miss them. Graham Davies (@diasybundle) the other day had this to say in a Twitter post: "I don't suffer from information overload. If the information is important it will find me!"and I think that's a good way of looking at it.Hope the output went well!Gavin

Hello Gavin,I am Khouloud Kleshko, a Lebanese. I would like to tell you that i attended a workshop on ESOL exaallminations on Saturday 14th, November. It was organised by ATEL(Association of Teachers of English in Lebanon) and the British Council. It was fruitful and up to my expectations.Actually, the main reason behind writing my comment is that I'd like to welcome you in my dear country Lebanon.I hope you will enjoy your stay in Lebanon and good luck with your mission.Regards khouloud kleshko

Carol,Nice to see you over here! What can I say - it's no surprise to hear of everything you're doing, and everything you do on a typical weekend. That sounds pretty normal for you. Perhaps what's less normal is that you don't have anything to do with the world of ELT, but you probably spend more time in this world than your own! Perhaps I should keep quiet before your boss finds out :-)Talking of bosses - the bosses of the olden days would have been delighted at the thought of us all working away at the weekends as well as during the week. Although, come to think of it, they possibly wouldn't be so delighted with the fact that some of that 'work time' is spent on Twitter, Facebook, etc.Enjoy the rest of the weekend.Gavin

Dear Mr Gavin Dudeney. Thank you for your prompt comments. In fact have had a very bad week. My 70 year old mother has been hospitalized. She has been a problem for me right from my childhood. I have surmounted all my problems by the grace of God. No great  person ever admit that he/she is great but their capability and work show their greatness. I consider one who  guides me a god. This is  not flattery. I believe no human being can become great  without the grace of God. I accept your comment that all technology is not good for us. As you have rightly pointed out, It depends on how well you use it, what is your mission in life? There is a limit for anything. The secret of my energy and the time I have to do all these things  may be  the fascination for English and the English and may be the grace of God. I have achieved a little and I have to achieve a lot. I think education is an unending experiment Though I am not a great man like you, I have an incessant urge to learn English. Even when I was a child I dreamed of going to London.I have got here against great odds. I am just writing blogs for British council. I would like to be invited there one day. I don't know whether God will let me fulfill my dreams. Sorry I am talking too much about myself. Awaiting your godly message, with kind regards.  Your sincerely. JVL NARASIMHARAO    

Khouloud,Welcome to 'my month' on this site, and thank you very much for your comment. I'm really looking forward to my visit to Lebanon tomorrow - I've heard so much about Beirut that I am really excited to see the city and looking forward to a couple of days' work there, as well as one day off to see the city. Do you work in Beirut? Any tips for things to see  in the city (if you're a tourist and have a free day)?Gavin 

Yes - blurred lines indeed! The reason - there is so much information about teaching and learning, with or without ICT in this community, so much more than in the narrow community where I live and work, that having found it -  because of you, EduNation, its inhabitants, the seminars and conferences there, that I would really miss it if everyone threw me out as an interloper now! I have learned so much from the ELT community, much of which is just about teaching and learning, not specifically language learning, or that translates into any learning situation I can't begin to measure it, I just know that I would really miss it if it was not there and am extremely grateful for the opportunities to join in where I can. Sadly - I can’t see a way that I will ever bring anything useful to the community :-( Thanks to all for putting up with me :-)

Add new comment

Log in or register to post comments