In my previous post, I mentioned that in Istanbul, there would be great events for teachers who believe in professional development this spring. The first one is over and the second one is about to happen. I’ll present at this conference and I’ll also blog about the sessions. Yes, I’m talking about EdTechIst, which will take place on April 18th-19th 2015.
Actually the conference is a three-day event. On the pre-conference day, the participants will get the chance to attend full day workshops with the experts.
On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll have the chance to do some deep learning with the experts and the sessions will be both on Saturday and Sunday so we’ll have the opportunity to focus on two main areas and have a broader view on them. These workshops will last for three days. In the afternoon, we’ll listen to some inspirational sessions, which will be delivered by the teachers, instructors, trainers who are using, integrating technology in their lessons. Even this format or the feature of this conference makes me eager to attend it.
The surprises of the conference are not over. There’ll be a TeachMeet, which is an organised but informal meeting for teachers to share practical tips and best practices. This will give the participants a great opportunity to share, network and learn with and from their peers in an informal setting. The Edtechist TeachMeet will take place from 4.30pm on Saturday 18th April, 2015.
You can follow the conference on social media with the hashtag #Edtechist or an twitter as @Edtechist
For more information about the speakers and sessions, please check the conference website and hope we’ll meet there.
Even a week before the conference I was excited as I knew what was expecting me… Two days of professional Development with people I admire, with people I share a lot.
The day came with an extraordinary opening: A show of drawing pictures with sand and my mind already focused on P.D was telling me that “Aren’t we all sand artists, drawing pictures throwing san to the air.”
The theme of the conference was ‘Through Their Eyes’. It was a privilege for the participants to listen to inspirational Sugata Mitra. A few years ago I had watched a documentary on his experiment ‘Hole in the Wall’ and I was mesmerized with the thought. How on earth could a person think such an incredible idea? And how lucky he was that what he started has worked and led us to see education from other perspectives.
Listening to Herbert Puchta talk has always been a great chance and Zeynep Urkun’s talk became one of my favourites from the conference. Could a boring subject like assessment be dealt as interesting as Ms Urkun did. And what a final was there to surprise the whole audience and left us with smiling faces.
Concurrent Keynote/ Saturday:
I attended Daniel Bank’s session entitled How Teaching Less Can Help Your Students to Learn More.
Daniel shared how he helped his students to take responsibility in their own learning and had the chance to watch his student teachers in action.
He suggested that teachers remove themselves from the front of the classroom and delegate responsibility. He told us to sit back and let them go, let them teach. This way, he said, they will be able to fill in the gaps in their own knowledge.
He also suggested the followings
- Flip the classroom
- Invite guest teachers, older students to be guest speakers
- Let them debate ( but assign the roles carefully so that all benefit from the process)
- Class Dojo to check homework
After a long but fruitful day 1, we started day 2 with another inspiring show. Jeremy Harmer reading stories and Steve Bingham playing the violin. My mind, again playing teacher, was telling me “can this be a reading club project for my students next year?’
JJ Wilson’s plenary was packed with strategies for learning vocabulary and dealing with errors and as always it was a great opportunity to see Jan Blake telling her stories involving the audience in the story and the songs. Even days later I still catch myself humming the tunes I learned from her on Sunday.
Concurrent Keynote / Sunday
Nina lauder’s session entitled Creating Curiosity in the Classroom was on my list when I got the programme of the conference. It was an amazing session full of great activities and thought provoking moments. Nina reminded us how curiosity is important for motivating students and said if we kill curiosity, we will kill the need to learn. She suggested we teachers build up curiosity before the lessons begin. For instance, using props, costumes, images and realia will help the teacher to evoke curiosity among students. We discussed how to use project work, riddles, quests, drama, songs, close-ups, brainstorming in the classroom. Nina Lauder suggested that we give the clues for the riddles one by one and invite students to make guesses after each clue is given. She also reminded that a relaxed learning environment is a must.
A very important lesson learned from Nina’s session
Keep in mind: different students are curious about different things.
Congratulations to Burcu Akyol and the conference organizing team for this wonderful event. We are all looking forward to the next conference.
A little bit Paris before the conference
I’m experiencing another post conference blues. I just came home from one of my favourite conferences. I started TESOL France from day 2. I met friends whom I had met before and missed a lot and I met friends who had been my online PLN for more than 2 years.
The first session I attended was “What’cha listening to?” and the speakers were Julia Aliverti and Jeffrey Doonan. Their talk was, just like me, using songs in the classroom. According to the speakers, music is the only language teenagers speak. I am not going to tell more about their session, hoping that they will continue to share the presentation in future conferences. It was a great talk and I enjoyed every minute of it.
They also mentioned about Disabled Access Friendly where teachers can find or donate lessons and raise awareness.
Imagine how life would be difficult or different for you if you were disabled. Some societies are very well aware of their disabled citizens and some are still learning. Some parents help their kids become Oscar Pistoriuses and some others are ashamed of them. Instead of feeling sorry for disabled kids, we can teach our able kids that they are not different from them.
Yesim Cakir’s session was full of great engaging speaking activities. It was a lively talk and all the activities she demonstrated were very useful.
Literature Strikes Back was another talk I attended. Dimitris Primalis reminded us how reading books are important and how today’s learners have changed. To be able to motivate our kids we can vary the tasks and add a touch of technology to the activities.
The Drama Queen of TESOL France, Anna Musielac shared engaging drama activities which can be used to teach/ revise / drill grammar.
Anna Varna”s talk was on Critical Thinking and how we can maintain it. She was very well-organized and explained how we can achieve higher order thinking skills with our students. You can read more about it on Anna’s blog
On of the talks I enjoyed very much was the unworkshop of Eduardo de Santos, AKA @ELTbakery.
We asked six questions on creativity and chose our groups according to the questions we wanted to discuss and talked about it for a while, shared our ideas and then listened to Eduardo how he achieves creativity in his classes.
Eduardo’s conclusion was “creativity is not about thinking outside the box as defined mostly but it is about thinking there is no box”. You can also find more about his talk on his blog. (http://eltbakery.edublogs.org/2012/07/25/promoting-creative-thinking-through-classroom-activities/)
Elinda Gjondedaj’s mobile storytelling was very interesting and full of apps that can be used to tell stories. She especially mentioned about the free ones and how a student easily can create a story using her smart phone.
The conference ended with an unforgettable plenary. Chia Suan Chong took us to a journey in the history of language teaching, from Grammar Translation to today. She highlighted why she still favours these methods and how the teacher chooses her style and arrives to principled eclecticism.
I’d like to thank Bethany Cagnol and her highly motivated, helpful and friendly team for organizing such a great event. TESOL France is a conference where the delegates feel they are home and among friends. You never feel alone there and enjoy being with the community, with the teachers who are ready to go out of the box, leave their comfort zones and make a difference.
I will be at YTU ELT symposium next week in Istanbul. I sense fro now that it will be another great conference.