Saturday, September 18, 2010

6 Tips for effective ICT use - ELT Peru Networks workshop for Teachers

I was recently honoured when Leo Marin in Peru invited me to prepare a video message for teachers attending the ELT Peru Networks Event, Transforming English through Technology! that took place today. This is the video I made for the teachers:

I hope the event went well - I have now found a programme of the workshop online and see that my video (which lasts just over 3 minutes) and my colleague Graeme Hodgson's presentation was scheduled for an hour! I hope Graeme prepared a longer video session, or that they were able to have a discussion about the contents of both videos! Still waiting for feedback from Leo to find out...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Is the ELT blogging honeymoon over?

Recently, Alex Case of TEFLTASTIC asked if the TEFL blogging boom was over. He was, of course, referring to the blogging explosion that happened over the last year or so in ELT, with lots of teachers who'd previously never done so starting blogs, and the fact that the hyper-activity of nine months or so has now died down. In particular, he cited the reduction in mutual linking and commenting.

I'm not sure if this lull has to do with the summer, and that once the new term begins (at least for many teachers in Europe), there'll be an increase in activity again. Time will tell. Alex wondered if the drop in activity was due to Twitter, but if anything, I think Twitter was probably behind the increase in blogging that ocurred in 2009. As this micro-blogging site took off and lots more teachers saw the value of it and got used to sharing their thoughts in 140 characters, I believe many of them then realised that sometimes, 140 characters wasn't enough, and the logical progression was for them to start a blog.

Taken together, Twitter and a blog are like Batman and Robin, a dynamic duo which has come to form the basis of a PLN (personal learning network) for many people. People pick up on trends using Twitter and expand upon them, writing posts on their blog, which they tell everyone about using Twitter, and so on.

There's also the Wow!factor of course. When someone first discovers blogging and gets a taste for it, then it's typical that they spend lots of time writing posts. It's new and it's fun and most people get a taste for it, especially when they have people visit and leave comments (the 'Hey! Someone is interested in what I have to say!' factor). As time goes by, however, and especially if the comments drop off, then it's not surprising if people start wondering if it's all worthwhile and post less frequently. Some will also stop blogging altogether.

As for me, I've gone through all of this, and have repeatedly told myself to be more of an active blogger, but, looking at my blogging statistics (below), in the eight years I have been blogging (2003-2010) seems to show that blogging is only something I do occasionally these days, and has been for a number of years. Making the chart below and tracking my blogging progress surprised me. Why? Because I still think of myself as a blogger, but I think I now read other people's blogs more and spend more time commenting upon them than I do on writing in my own blog. The exception, of course, is the Digital Play blog, which I share with my colleague Kyle Mawer – there we have been regularly blogging once a week and have every intention of carrying on doing so starting again this month.

So, what now for blog-efl? Well, I noticed that I've publicly stated on this blog that I was going to get back into blogging again and it never happened. Why was that? I think it was mainly because there were too many other things going on to occupy my attention, but I do keep coming back here, and I have every intention of becoming more of an active blogger. I think I've got my appetite back again. At least it now seems that my blogging activity is increasing (I've written one more post than I did last year) – I wonder if I'll ever return to the hyper-activity of 2003-4...