Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hats off to WiAOC

I think everyone who participated in the Webheads in Action Online convergence (WiAOC) was deeply impressed by the undertaking. Of course, with so many events happening, it was impossible to attend all the presentations, although I know a lot of people tried to skip on sleep to be able to attend some of the presentations. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if part of the 'Becoming a Webhead' session of evo2006 includes a session on 'How to sleep less and spend more time online :-)

As I was travelling (in Bilbao, for some talks to teachers on blogging), I didn't get to attend many sessions, but the great thing about this event is that most (if not all) of the presentations have been recorded for posterity, and are available to listen to. I've just started doing this, and am trying to find the time to listen to more, as there are so many great presentations. The conference Moodle is also still active, and it's worth checking in there if you haven't already done so.

Apart from my presentation on interactive listening mazes at Tapped In, and being asked to participate in the Dublin Brunch, which was broadcast live on NEAR FM, and Irish radio station with 20,000 listeners, I managed to get to the opening session by Curtis Bonk on Blended Learning, available to listen to at Learning Times (this requires registration, but is well worth it. There were some great ideas presented and discussed here.

I also attended the sessions on:

'Teacher blogs in action' by Renata Suzuki and Karen Garcia (again available to listen to at Learning Times). This was an extremely interesting presentation, which turned into a stimulating debate about various aspects of blogging.

'Going Global with the Webheads in Action' (this link will take you directly to the recording of the session, at the Alado Webheads voice classroom) by the one Webhead that I've actually met in person, and who was instrumental in getting me involved with blogging, Teresa Almeida d'Eça. I think Teresa's presentation took a lot of people's breath away as she outlined her activities with the Webheads. This was a great session, and one that should inspire a lot of people to become involved with Webheads in Action...

And catching up, I have been able to listen to:

Bee and Aaron's presentation about Dekita and P2P in EFL/ESL(direct link to voice room recording), also available to listen to through the Webheads room in Alado. The Dekita project presentation should be essential listening to anyone involved in blogging with students, especially if the idea is to publicise and create connections with other weblogging classes and students around the world. Inspiring stuff, as always.

the Worldbridges podcast of the session by Dave Sperling, someone who did more than anyone to promote ESL online activities in the days when the Web was young. He talks about the tenth year anniversary of his ESL cafe, and some of the changes that he has gone through since it started. It was interesting to hear how he is now able to earn a living from the site, and that he has not been teaching ESL since 1999.

And if the quality and interest value of the other presentations is anything like those I've already listened to (I don't doubt it), I think I'm going to have to take a month and listen to them all. It was truly an inspiring event.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tapped In transcript: Interactive Listening Mazes

Here is a link to the chat transcript of today's session on Interactive Listening Mazes at Tapped In

I really enjoyed myself - thanks to everyone for taking part

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Podcasting article

I've just had an article about podcasting published on the British Council / BBC website Teaching English.

When I first came across podcasting, I was more interested in podcasting as a way of providing extra listening material for students, but now I find I'm more attracted to the idea of publishing student work using podcasts. In the same way that students publishing a blog have to take into account an audience, students involved in creating a podcast also have to consider who is going to be listening. And the very fact that there is a real audience out there means they take more care when it comes to preparing the material and recording it than if it was solely meant to be listened to by their teacher.

I have started several podcasts, but the one I'm most enthusiastic about now is the Theme Tourism one.

Interactive Listening Mazes

I am presenting a session on Interactive Listening Mazes online on Saturday 19th November (17.00-17.50 GMT) as part of the Webheads in Action Online Convergence (WiAOC).

The Conference Moodle is now open to visitors, and there are lots of interesting things already starting to happen (including a schedule of pre-conference online talks - see the WiAOC portal page for details)

I am currently preparing the asynchronous materials for the synchronous text chat presentation (audio, text) which will take place at Tapped In.

So far, I have set up the blog for Travel, one of the Interactive Listening Mazes, and I am in the process of uploading the audio files, inputting the accompanying text, and reconfiguring the blog so that it acts less like a blog and more like a regular website.

Why use a blog for this and not a regular website? Well, basically because of the ease of use factor - it's so easy to set up blogs with Blogger, and once you know your way around the template, and if you understand a little about html and Blogger's codes, it's easy enough to adapt them to your needs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I've signed up for a free edublog and am now wondering why I didn't do this a long time ago.

It's a joy to use, and I'm sure I'll end up switching from Blogger, but for the meantime I'll run this blog and the other one, which I've named Blog-efl 2.0 in tandem.

I've tried...

...out other blogging hosts before, and have always returned to Blogger, but this time I can not only see the advantages of using these free Wordpress blogs myself, but also encouraging students to use them too. They are easy to use and have features (categories, for example) which Blogger doesn't have that are great for organisational purposes.

I'd always heard people talk about Wordpress and how comfortable and flexible this blogging tool was. I'd never tried it before because it was a paid service, but now with James Farmer's kind offer of Wordpress blogs for school students and higher education students, I can safely say that I'll be moving away from Blogger in the future.

edublogs and elgg.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

WiA Bridges Across Cyberspace

'Bridges Across Cyberspace', The Webheads in Action online convergence (conference) is fast approaching, and I'm really excited about the number and range of guest speakers. I'm also honoured to have been chosen as a speaker too, and am excited about preparing my own presentation, Interactive Listening Mazes.

The conference is free to attend and promises to be a really memorable event, so book a place in your calendar between Friday 18th and Sunday 20th November. I've just heard, however, that I'll be going to the British Council in Bilbao, that same weekend, and so will miss a lot of the sessions. I'm going to be giving a couple of f2f presentations on efl blogging, which I'm also really looking forward too.

I an just imagine the scene that weekend already

I'll be rushing home from my Saturday class to get ready for my online presentation and catch some of the others. As soon as it finishes, I'll be out the door en route for the airport.