Programme 2014

Final programme – full details

Saturday 22 November 10:00 – 18:00


Opening plenary: Gavin Dudeney - Of Big Data & Little Data - How Numbers Have (Almost) Ruined Everything

Big numbers are everywhere we look these days: from the second stage seed funding for the latest language learning app, to the number of placement tests carried out by Publisher X, from the reach of a corporate's latest status update, to the number of comments on a popular blog. It is - it would seem - all about the numbers. But when exactly did quantity begin to surpass quality as a measurement in educators' minds? And, more importantly, why?
This talk suggests that we should be looking more closely at the two camps currently battling for control of the 'EdTech' tag, and the legitimacy to move forward as its representatives. On the one side, Big Data: represented by large corporations, colleges, publishers, TED award winners and angel-invested app and platform designers; on the other, Small Data, represented by ebook collectives, crowd-funded publishers, teachers, trainers and smaller educational establishments.
By examining both sides of the EdTech debate we may come to an understanding or what 'good' Edtech is to each of us, not through the prism of big data and even bigger numbers, but through the lens of research, case studies and examples; to an understanding that big data has little to do with classrooms, people and learning, whilst small data has everything to do with them. And to consider what part principled 'digital dissidence' has to play in our personal and professional lives.

Gavin's presentation

Invited Keynote: Dr Nellie Deutsch - Partners of their Own Learning

Teachers are expert learners who model active learning. They teach as a way to learn. Students can learn to do the same. How can teachers and students partner for learning? How can students become active learners and leaders of their own learning? The presenter will discuss ways teachers can engage students in active collaborative learning by teaching them how to teach as a way to learn.

Invited Keynote: Sylvia Guinan - Harnessing Educational Technology To Boost Confidence, Creativity & Social Intelligence

This talk highlights the natural affinity between timeless creativity and technological innovation. It aims to clarify how creative thinking strategies can take students and teachers beyond the matrix of flat curricula into a new world of intelligent self-expression.
It offers critical insights into how technology is there to help us build upon best practices we've inherited from traditional teaching methodologies. Creative ideas inherited from educational thinkers in the field can be expanded upon through translating the magic of storytelling, poetry, blogging and socially-constructed dialogue into digitally-enhanced pedagogies.
This is already being done by many grass roots teachers who dare to experiment, action researchers in the trenches, teachers who work online, and those who believe in continuous professional development and life-long learning.
Educational technology does not threaten to overthrow education as we know it. Rather it serves to enhance and empower our natural creative faculties by providing a continuum where we develop a new form of visual & intellectual literacy by personalising our own multi-media environments.
The key to success is a shift in perspectives. Teachers and learners can now collaborate and create together as never before. They can use coursebooks as springboards for connected learning instead of being tied to a dead curriculum. As teachers and students experiment together, their confidence, creativity and social intelligence will naturally flourish within a collaboratively designed zone of proximal development.

Invited speaker: Andrew Walkley - Questions for learning and some unexpected answers

It has been suggested that good questions unlock learning. In ELT what are those questions? Who asks them? When? What answers are needed? Where do they come from? What questions are in coursebooks and what might they reveal about principles underlying those materials? What questions might teachers ask themselves to develop? Why don't you come to this practical thought-provoking workshop?

An Introduction to Blended Learning - John Byrne

The talk begins with a short explanation of what blended learning is and how it can benefit students. By blending in-class activities with online ones students receive more exposure to the language. It covers: a guide to websites that can be used and a quick how-to for setting them up for online work (slide-show and/or handouts); Use of mobile apps for online classes (there will be a short demonstration during the talk) which give students more accessibility to out of class learning; Getting students started/motivated.

The Practicalities of Paperless Classes - Peter Lahiffe

For several years now there has been a feeling that the photocopier is going the way of the cassette recorder; a piece of equipment which once seemed so essential and has disappeared from classrooms. I stepped into this future when I was given the brief last year to create a paperless summer programme in a fully equipped new centre for an organisation that had no legacy issues to hold it back. This workshop will explore the practicalities of running paperless English language courses, what the limitations of it are and whether there are still things that can be done better on paper.

Digital Citizenship & ELT: a match made in heaven - Sophia Mavridi

Effective use of digital technologies can revolutionise language learning allowing us to create, connect, and share beyond the boundaries of the classroom. However, for technology integration to be pedagogically effective, being a confident user is not enough. Students need the skills to make informed decisions about the content they consume, create or share and understand its impact both on themselves and on others.
In this interactive talk, we will explore the increasingly important role of Digital Citizenship, and discuss how it can be integrated into the English classroom. Drawing on my ongoing research project, we will also look into the skills and competences our students need to be empowered with in order to be responsible and effective participants in a digital world.

MOOCs, Meetups and Migrants – is digital disruption going to eat your lunch? - Arthur McKeown

Consider the ways in which the airline industry, publishing and any business with the word ‘agency’ in its title – travel agent, estate agent, insurance agent - has had to respond to the challenges provided by the arrival of the Internet. What is the likely impact going to be on the world of education, and, in particular, the world of English language teaching?
Based on my presentation in Dublin last November and on some more recent experience in both County Cavan and Belfast, I will describe how a growing number of students are taking responsibility for their own autonomous learning, using a range of quality assured self-study material appropriate to their individual needs and the use of regular attendance at meetups ( to improve their range, accuracy and fluency in using English, especially in job-hunting and improving their employment prospects in the local economy.
To what extent might the approach they are adopting displace, if not replace, some of the services traditionally provided by language schools and third level education providers? See

Could you be a digital materials writer? - Caroline Moore

I will give an overview of the growth of digital language learning, including mobile learning, and the contexts in which digital materials are created and used by students. This will be followed by discussion of the tools that teachers and materials writers can use to create interactive learning materials, both for publication and for their own students and institutions to use. I will describe what it is like to work as a digital materials writer, and give participants the opportunity to try out a typical author test. The session will include advice on how to get published, including self-publishing.

FLiTting is not just for birds; www and widen your world - Christine Mullaney

Building an online PLN (personal learning network) is quickly becoming one of the most useful ways to enhance one's body of knowledge and develop professionally in an ever time-starved teaching world. Yet many of us feel daunted by the sheer volume of sources available and rather than dive in, chicken out, so to speak. While there are multiple sources out there, we don't need to use them all. This talk is going to outline three sources used by ELT Ireland to connect with our network and mention a couple of nice aggregator apps that make finding and storing things much easier. Online there's something for everyone!

Where do ideas come from? - Joanna Norton

Our students and the world around us are a constant source of inspiration for lesson ideas. However, finding time to document these ideas and then develop them takes time. In this session, Joanna will share a number of ideas from her sketchbooks that have informed the development of an app, and which she uses daily to foster creative thinking and risk-taking. An overriding objective of each lesson is to provide students with models that encourage them to create their own content using mobile technology. This rapid-fire session will provide participants with practical ideas that can be implemented first thing Monday morning. Participants will also be encouraged to reflect on their own practice and evaluate their role in fostering creativity within an English language classroom. This session is suitable for all English language teachers, at all stages of development.

The Importance of being a Tech Savvy Teacher - Aideen O'Sullivan

Using technology in the classroom can be an excellent way to enhance student engagement and incorporate different ways of learning into the classroom. But do you feel confident when it comes to making your own online materials? I started my career as an English teacher carrying a portable blackboard around and giving lessons outside, I now use some element of technology in all of my classes. This talk will show my personal progress through the digital jungle and share some of the invaluable resources and skills I picked up along the way. From website creation to course creation, online materials development has never been easier. Giving you a simple "how to" when it comes to creating websites and their potential uses, this talk will enable you to be the creator. So download all those ideas, upload them onto a website and and have them ready to use in an instant.

Aideen's presentation

Using Edmodo in extending the ESL classroom - Norbert Szeman

This presentation looks at the benefits of using educational social network Edmodo in order to extend the traditional classroom into an online environment.
During the presentation we will look at the options available through this platforms and the various ways it can help teachers engage and communicate with their learners. In addition, the presentation will show ways of allowing learners to practice both receptive and productive skills in English outside the classroom environment. We will also look at types of activities that promote learning and motivation.

Online space maker - John Whipple

Online Space Maker Workshop: Drawing on ideas from the Maker movement, this workshop will encourage teachers to wander around the online spaces we make, write and design (or choose the wallpaper for). It will work as a roundtable to discuss different categories of online spaces created by English language teachers. We'll discuss why we made them and what we want them to do or be. Participants are encouraged to bring their own device and demonstrate their own sites and the story behind them. The spaces can be obscure or famous, abandoned or busy, awful or awesome- as long as you made it yourself (to a degree). If you don't have an Online Space, you are especially welcome.

John's presentation

Sunday 23 November 10:00 – 14:00


Workshop 1: Me & My Mobiles - Learning in Hand - Gavin Dudeney

In this workshop we will examine a rationale for mobile and handheld learning and examine possible implementations of it in language education. Starting from a brief theoretical (yet hands on) overview we will move on to consider how mobile learning can be implemented and look at the key questions and considerations for such an implementation. We will then examine an ongoing mobile learning project in a private language school in the UK and finish up with some activities and apps for getting started. Participants will leave with:
- a clear understanding of why implementing mobile and handheld learning is a good idea
- a set of ideas and activities for getting started in their own teaching or training context
Gavin's workshop part 1
Gavin's workshop part 2

Workshop 2: Teaching as a Way to Learn - Dr Nellie Deutsch

The aim of the workshop is for participants to experience active learning through collaborative learning. Participants will learn about a simple, but effective method on how to engage students in teaching as way to learn. Through the process of documenting what they learn, students can learn to teach and become leaders of their own learning. Participants will work in teams to produce a presentation demonstrating what they have learned. Movenote and SlideSpeech will be used to create the final artefact.

Workshop 3: Transform Your Course(book) Before It Transforms You - Sylvia Guinan

A practical brainstorming and building session where we'll work in groups to transform typical coursebook exercises or handouts into multi-media alternatives.
1) We will brainstorm concepts and approaches around affective learning, critical thinking and fostering emotional & social intelligence.
2) Based on part 1, groups will plan and create a multi-media storytelling lesson plan to teach or revise a particular aspect of language using a range of tools such as: comic tools, quiz-making tools for movies or music, story boarding environments, Infographic tools, interactive posters, social sharing flyers, and class blogs.
3) Groups will go on to design interactive project work for students to take it to the next level.
This should include a social element - such as forum discussions - blogging and commenting on each other blogs, designing interactive posters and commenting on each others work, making videos, collaborative writing etc. You will have a choice of interactive tools and environments to help you with this.
What you will takeaway from this:
a) Knowledge of new interactive tools and environments.
b) The experience of working collaboratively with educational technology.
c) Your own creations, ideas and hands-on experiments.
d) New ways of thinking beyond the course book or exam.
e) A beautiful virtual library of links, recommended books, articles, and the creations from our workshop session.
f) An extra ebooklet I'm writing for the session called "Timeless Teaching Techniques For the Digital Age."

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