Free Online #ELT #CPD in August

Webinars and web conferences in August:

6 Aug EdmodoCon
Organized by: Edmodo
8-9 Aug Reading and Writing Conference
Organized by: TESL Toronto and BELTA
15 Aug Language Skills 2.0: Speaking – Margarita Berezyanskaya
Organized by: English Online Inc.
16 Aug Language Skills 2.0: Speaking – Margarita Berezyanskaya
Organized by: English Online Inc. (repeat session)
30 Aug Getting the most out of online video resources – Nik Peachey
Organized by: IATEFL

In-progress and upcoming MOOCs worth taking a look:

1 Jul – 31 Aug Summer EAL MOOC for newcomers to Manitoba
Organized by: English Online Inc. -> learning materials available for use and adaptation
20 Jul – 17 Aug iTDi Summer School MOOC for English Teachers
Organized by: iTDi
28 Jul – 22 Sep Learning to Teach Online
Organized by: University of New South Wales Australia
2 Sep – 12 Dec Open Knowledge: Changing the Global Course of Learning
Organized by: Stanford University


Finally, a couple of future ELT web conferences:

iatefl web conference 2014

 -> Call for Proposals open

Free Online #ELT #CPD Opps in April

In my corner of the world we are still experiencing sub-zero temperatures and daily blizzard warnings (ugh). In these conditions, nothing is better than a cuppa in hand and a good webinar to watch. Below is my PD lineup for April:

1-5 April 48th IATEFL Conference @iateflonline
Organized by: IATEFL/British Council
6 April Mini RSCON – The Future of Education
Organized by: Steve Hargadon
9-12 April Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference
11 & 12 April Teaching with Technology
Organized by: English Online Inc.
 16 April Using texts in the Business English Classroom
Organized by:
Macmillan English
23 April Devising Appropriate Tasks for Business English and ESP Courses
Organized by: IATEFL PL
25-27 April 7th Virtual Round Table Web Conference
Organized by: Heike Philp
26 April Best Practices in Teaching EAL (topics TBC)
Organized by: English Online Inc.

Advantages and Challenges of Flipped Learning

On October 26 Margarita and I are scheduled to make a presentation on flipped learning for ELT at the 41st annual TESL Ontario conference in Toronto. Leading up to that day, I am planning to blog about my explorations of this topic.

Some initial thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of flipped learning:


  • open access resources, if shared online, free
  • sustainable
      •  materials ready for multiuse by Ts and Ls
      • materials always available for new Ls (continuous intake)
  • differentiation – Ls can go through the lessons at their own pace, catch up, review, repeat
  • facilitation – flipping allows Ts to better support individual Ls in person in class, personalized learning, building better 1-on-1 rapport
  • learner-centred – Ls take actively participate in learning and take responsibility for it
  •  thinking and discovery before class; practice, review and consolidation (interactive activities) in class
  • engaging – it creates a collaborative learning environment in the classroom since time is spent engaging deeply with the concepts being learned, rather than sitting listening to the teacher (took a French class once and that’s all we ever did)
  • Ls get instant feedback on practice activities either from peers or from the T
  • while prepping for the class time, Ls can build a list of questions – active learning


  • technology dependent, hence not accessible for all, there may be learners who have no access to a computer/internet
      • Q: Is there a computer lab at school with open hours for independent study?
  • some Ls may not have extra time to stay at a computer lab
      • Q: Has a needs assessment been done? Could this be negotiated in any way?
  • lack of digital skills
      • Q: as before, needs assessment; simple activities incorporated into lessons to build up certain skills for future ‘flipped’ tasks and projects
  • Ls miss classes or don’t do the pre-class work
      • this one is tough because life happens…Plan B?
  • lack of L motivation, with adult learners this is rarely the case although some do not believe in independent work
      • could flipping be scaffolded to bring out the value of autonomous learning?
  • time-consuming for Ts – is flipping only about making videos? or is it a wider concept encompassing autonomous learning via one’s personal learning environment/network?  T => not a sage on stage but a guide on the side? What about existing OERs?

What are your thoughts, questions? Are you aware of any research papers on the concept of flipped learning?

CIDER session on Social Networking

Today I listened to a CIDER session on Social Networking. My goal was to find out how it can benefit online learners and also gather some useful info for my presentation.

The session was delievered by researchers from the Uni of Pittsburgh. Their research was very interesting and showed some interesting differences between on-campus and online learners in their choice of tool usage.

What is Web 2.0?

– social software, 2nd phase of WWW enabling greater social nad participatory use (Anderson 2007)

– shows about 3000 e-tools available now

Learning with Web 2.0

– you are hypervisible

– breaks down barriers

– fluid learning integrated into lifestyles

– social constructivist (Huang)

The results of the research show that EMAIL is by far the most favourite communication tool followed by cell phones, wikis and Facebook. On the other end of the poll was Second Life as the least favourite. There  was some difference in the use of tools between distance and on-campus Ss. The biggest contrast in tool usage was in relation to Skype and RSS. They were mostly used by the online learners.

Someone mentioned that the usage of Web 2.0 tools makes up for the lack of classroom/face-to-face communication and also diminishes feelings of isolation in online learning.

I find it really hard to implement collaborative tasks into our provision. Newcomers are far more reserved and not used to this form of learning.

Link to the session: