Category Archives: Conferences

Bring your own vocab’

Hi! – Thanks for reading! Apologies for being so quiet over the past few months. This first year in my new job (well, not so new anymore) has been keeping me very busy. That’s something I should reflect on in a future blog post.

For now, I just want to talk about last Friday’s conference. I attended and presented at the “Innovative Language Teaching and Learning at University: Enhancing the Learning Experience through Student Engagement” conference, organised by the University of Manchester on Friday 28th June 2013.

First, I want to say a big thanks to my colleagues Catherine France, Annie Morton, Susana Lorenzo-Zamorano and Noelia Alcarazo for organising such a great and fruitful day. Also, I’m very happy that I was invited to present what I’ve been working on this past semester.

The conference (programme here) was a great opportunity to discover what colleagues around the country have been doing, to discuss the state of the language teaching sector under the new fee regime (and the tragedies it’s brought about) and on a lighter note to catch up with colleagues (and by the way, I re-iterate my congratulations to the great @AngloFLE for his new job!). I also got to meet, and briefly chat with, the very inspiring @jwyburd, whom I’d heard so much about here at Manchester.

My contribution to the day was a presentation reporting on how I used the vocabulary app Quizlet with 3 of my classes during this past semester. I’ve expressed my love for Quizlet in a previous post, and if you’re a language teacher, I really recommend you give it a go.

Anyway, if you’re interested, I suggest you have a look at my abstract and check the slides below.

Thanks again for reading!

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LLAS e-learning symposium 2013 pt1: A sense of community

I’ve just come back from attending the LLAS’ 8th e-learning symposium at the University of Southampton. I really enjoyed the event: the talks were great, full of ideas and directions to explore (the keynotes in particular), but above all it is really the people who made it worthwhile for me.

When I presented at this event last year, I met a few fellow HE language tutors, a good number of which I got to see again this year: @AngloFLE, @CeciliaGoria, @languageforall, @nkthorne and @Citricky, to name a few. And it was great to see the ever-enthusiastic organisers @AliDickens, @johngcanning, @KBorthwick, @laurencegeorgin, @eri_llas, @37Nasher and the rest of the LLAS team.

The event was also the oportunity to meet face-to-face with a few people whom I’d been following, reading or and interacting with on Twitter. It was really great to meet @WarwickLanguage, @nikpeachey & @mikeneary!

By the end of the second day, I’d spoken to people from dozens of institutions, teaching every language you can think of and sharing an interst for technology-enhanced learning and innovative teaching practices. It really was a breath of fresh air in the middle of a busy academic year!

But the best thing about this event is that I truly began to get a sense of community. This is probably the most important thing I’ll take back with me: the feeling that I’m starting to know a few people around the country, whom I meet online or offline once in a while, and I have an idea of who they are, what they do, and we can count on one another for ideas, support, inspiration and so on. It was great speaking to you all – see you next year!

My next post (or two) will be about the content of the event. Too much to write about in just one post!

A fresh start

 I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. And the longer I wait, the more difficult it seems to get back into writing. My last post dates back to April so it’s more than time I resumed my blogging enterprise.

A lot has happened since then, so the purpose of this post will be to try and summarise the last five months as concisely as possible.

In May I conducted a short survey among my colleagues to try and formalise some of the observations I had made during the various e-learning sessions I had organised. I focused specifically on uses and attitudes towards three different learning technologies, namely Interactive Whiteboards, VLEs and social media (in the broadest possible sense of the word – and it is broad). The results were rather interesting, showing a (predictable) lack of engagement with IWBs and a lack of awareness of all things relating to social media. I presented my conclusions in more detail at the LLAS’ annual conference in Edinburgh in July.

In June I also presented in Paris the results of a study which I had been working on (and discussed some preliminary elements at the LLAS’ e-learning symposium 2012 in January). The presentation was well received and the feedback was very useful. I am currently working on take-awayable guidelines for fostering collaboration among students on online platforms.

Pen and paper

Then there was the job thing. After five years working at Manchester Metropolitan University as a language tutor, I accepted a job at the University of Manchester’s language centre, in a position involving some coordination as well as language teaching. It’s now been 6 weeks and although it is keeping me very busy, it’s an extremely enjoyable and refreshing experience. I’ve just volunteered to deliver a couple of e-learning sessions which will soon be made available on these pages.

Anyhow, this was my dreaded attempt at getting back into blogging. I’m thinking of following fellow blogger Eljee Javier’s advice and to undertake one of those 30-day challenges for better blogging. So, you’ve been warned – there is more where this post came from.