Saturday, May 19, 2007

WiAOC 2007 Webcastathon

The Webheads in Action Online Convergence (WiAOC 2007) is now well underway, with so much activity going on it's impossible to keep up.

Fortunately, most of it, if not all, is being recorded, so we can go back and listen and watch to the presentations that we missed becuase we were too busy to attend them live, or because time zone factors made them impractical to attend.

Details of the presentations to come are here :

I really do encourage everyone to go along to some of them

I gave a presentation yesterday, with my British Council colleague Kyle Mawer. It was essentially a repeat of the presentation that we gave at APAC and IATEFL, on 'Computer Games & Language Learning: From Space Invaders to Second Life', although
we end up changing the format every time we do it: adding or removing slides, etc.

It's also been interesting to see how we have decided to change the pitch depending on the audience and how the experience has differed because of the participants and the venue.

Of course, yesterday was the first time we presented it online, and that in itself led to additional challenges and a totally different dynamic. One thing that was very different was not actually showing the games themselves, which we normally do when we've presented this f2f.

We also had some annoying hiccups to yesterday's presentation. Here's a copy of an email that I've just sent to the Webheads list that detils what happened:

Thanks to everyone who attended our presentation at Learning Times

We had a few problems with Elluminate, which I thought I'd share with
you all in case it helps others - it all went to show you that you can
prepare as much as you like, but you can never prepare for the unexpected!

- We used jpgs for our presentation, and when we'd uploaded the images
for the presentation, we found that if you use anything other than
Safari, they are huge. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to do
anything about this.

- We had 80 slides, and exceeded the Elluminate maximum. So, as we got
near the end of the uploaded slides, we had to delete some to make
space. You can delete slides by right-clicking over the slide (you'll
find the erase slide option if you are a moderator)

- We were able to view the slides fine when they were uploaded, but
just as we started, the screen section of Elluminate went blank for us
and we couldn't see any of the slides. Fortunately our audience could!

It did make it difficult speaking about the slides without being able
to see them, and I had to switch between my Powerpoint and the
Elluminate interface, which made things a little awkward.

- Kyle Mawer, my co-presenter's headphones stopped working just before
we were going to start (we were physically in the same space, so we
decided to share headphones). Then, just after Vance introduced us, my
(bluetooth) headphones cut out, so I had to scramble for another pair.

What a combination of gremlins! We were exhausted when it was finally
over, but it was a lot of fun.

Details of this presentation and the other WiAOC recordings are here:

The direct link to the elluminate recording is here

You'll need to create an account (free) to access the Learning Times recording, but this is well worth it - the community has lots of very interesting resources, and you'll meet some great people there.


  1. I just wanted to let you know that, after coming upon your blog and some things you've written, I recently became inspired to explore how to more effectively integrate games in teaching my English Language Learners.

    It's been a lot of fun, and effective. I've found a lot of online games that have been useful, fun and effective.

    Here are couple of links to posts on my blog that you might find interesting:

    Thanks again for your creative work in this arena.

  2. Thanks, Larry - I came across Virtual Villagers a while ago, but didn't really check it out. I'll be sure to do so now. Great blog, by-the-way. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Graham,

    Thanks for your positive feedback. If you go to:'ll also find about thirty other online games at the bottom of that category that I've recently found that my students are using.

  4. This is great, Larry - lots of links to explore here. Thanks for letting me know.