Showing posts from 2014

Remote Teaching, distance learning, team teaching or blended learning? (updated)

Update on presentation given previously. Remote Teaching? Plan Ceibal English from Graham Stanley

UruTESOL presentation: November 2014

UruTESOL 2014: Language Learning & Technology from Graham Stanley

Ceibal English project: Results of the 2013 Impact Test

Ceibal en Ingles - Evaluacion - resultados de las pruebas de 2013 from Graham Stanley

Killer bunnies and the Quest for the magic carrot - IATEFL web conference

I was very proud to be asked to participate in the first IATEFL Web conference in October 2014. My presentation can be found below: Killer bunnies and the quest for the magic carrot: gamification and ELT from Graham Stanley

Digital Games in ELT - FLA7 presentation, Montevideo, October 2014

Digital Games in ELT - FLA7 Montevideo from Graham Stanley

Interviews with Plan Ceibal English Remote Teachers

Last week, we held two more training days for remote teachers working on the Plan Ceibal English project . In Buenos Aires, this was the first training day that the British Council and Plan Ceibal have organised since the project began, and this was followed the day after with the third RT training day in Montevideo.  On both days, while waiting for the sessions to begin, I interviewed some of the teachers to find out what they thought were the challenges of teaching children English via video conferencing and what they enjoy the most about the project . Interviews with RTs in Buenos Aires: Interview with RT Isabel Aurelio from Graham Stanley on Vimeo . Plan Ceibal English RT Training Day Interviews - Buenos Aires from Graham Stanley on Vimeo . Interviews with RTs in Montevideo: Interviews with RTs in Montevideo Sep 2014 from Graham Stanley on Vimeo . Interview with British Council quality manager Mem from Graham Stanley on Vimeo .   Read more about th

Teaching and Learning English Under Difficult Circumstances

Last week, Dr.Richard Smith had been due to give a workshop and attend an English breakfast in Buenos Aires prior to presenting at the 39th FAAPI / APISE congress in Santiago del Estero, Argentina . Unfortunately, he had to cancel at the last minute and the British Council Argentina asked me if I could come to Argentina earlier than I'd planned to so they could fulfill their commitments to the embassy and the school they'd planned the workshop for. I was happy that I could do so and decided to keep the theme of the workshop that Richard had planned. I prepared slides to go with it, but there wasn't a projector at the school, so I abandoned this and stuck to the low tech of paper, pens and post-its on the day. I told the 80 participants that I'd share the slides here and also summarise what they prepared, so here it is! Abstract:  Many English teachers find themselves teaching in difficult circumstances. Large classes, multiple levels, and demotivated students are

Using Digital Games to Demand Higher

Last Friday, thanks to the British Council Buenos Aires , I had the pleasure of leading this workshop with 300 participants at the 39th annual FAAPI conference in Santiago del Estero, Argentina . Photo by Pablo Toledo, British Council Argentina Apart from being surprised at the number of participants, I was encouraged to see so many hands being raised when I asked how many of the teachers in the audience played games themselves.  Normally, when I ask this question, less than half the audience put up their hands, but this time more than half of the audience raised their hands.  After running through reasons for using games in the language classroom and showing how graphics in games have changed since the early days, I had time to work through two digital games-based activities with the participants ( Droppy and Spent ) and to talk briefly about other games that can be played. Because Jim Scrivener had been one of the plenary speakers, and the focus of his opening

Presenting at the 39th FAAPI congress in Argentina

Today, I was able to present the Plan Ceibal English project, along with Serrana Muiz of Plan Ceibal, at the 39th annual FAAPI congress in Argentina. Photo by Maria Paola Sviatschi Here are the slides from the presentation: Remote teaching - FAAPI 2014 from Graham Stanley

Joan Shin Kang & the end of the 11th Anglo Congress

The final plenary  of the  the 11th Anglo Congress   invited us to ask ourselves the question ' Are you a 21st Century Teacher? ' and Joan Kang Shin started by saying that she believes the most commonly used approach to teaching young learners in the 20th Century led to separation between local and global.  Joan shared the stunning TED Talk by Eric Whitacre , featuring a virtual choir of 200+ voices singing one of his pieces. This kind of collaboration is an example of what was beyond imagining in the 20th century. Mentioning Kachru's classification of English as a world language consisting of three circles (1988) and in particular the importance the outer circle has taken, with English being used more by non-native speakers among themselves than by native speakers with non-native speakers, with all that this signifies when it comes to the English we teach in the classroom.  She encouraged the audience to bring both the local and the global into the classroom th

Interactive Stories

I first came across Mark White's Interactive Stories  quite some years ago, but I haven't ever blogged about them.  I did use some of the techniques that Mark outlines on the English Conversations website in class and was impressed at the results. I also did a couple of training sessions with them in 2005, which seemed to go down well. I'm now revisiting this storytelling technique, preparing to use the ideas as part of a presentation I'm preparing on Storytelling games and activities for the 11th Anglo Congress in Montevideo , in August. For this reason, I thought it would be good to write about it here as part of that preparation.  What is an Interactive Story? As Mark puts it, "the technique consists of a story, which includes both sentences and questions so that as one student reads it to the other, the listener can respond to the questions and interact with the storyteller and the story itself by making it up as they go along." T

Engaging Learners Online

I had a lot of fun during my presentation yesterday for the Teachers Teaching Online (TTO) MOOC , with my session 'Engaging Online Learners' , splitting the participants into teams and using a quiz format for the presentation. I wondered beforehand whether it would work and how best to split the participants up into teams. The quiz was designed to get away from a linear presentation format. The idea was to ask the audience to select a category and a question (each had a different number of points) and then jump to that question. In the end, this didn't work in the webinar and I had to do the quiz in a different way (linear), but it seemed to work out well. I asked the participants to choose a colour (blue or red) and to change their text chat and then I asked the questions and the first member of team red or team blue to answer correctly won 10 points.  If the comments on the session page are anything to go by, participants enjoyed it: Miroslava Takeva Amazing

Gamification: Magic Bullet or Broken Sword?

 A pesentation I did for the following conference: IATEFL LTSIG & TESOL CALL IS 2nd Web Conference - June 14th 2014 Can gamification be used effectively in language teaching? Or is it just another passing fad? Although at first glance, the 'adding of game elements to non-game contexts' using points, badges, and leader-boards, etc. seems to be an attractive proposition for teachers, there is more to gamification than first meets the eye. In this session we'll look at the meaning of fun and games, examine play and players and explore how different game elements might be used in the classroom and for what purpose. Gamification in ELT: Magic Bullet or Broken Sword? from Graham Stanley

ICT in the Primary Classroom MOOC

I've just joined the Coursera MOOC ICT in the Primary Classroom: Transforming children's learning across the curriculum and am going to use this blog to reflect on the content as I follow the course.  The lead tutor on the course is Diana Laurillard , who I saw give an excellent plenary at the IATEFL Conference in Glasgow in 2012 on ' Supporting the Teacher as Innovative Learning Designer ' (see video recording of her plenary below). It's the first week of the course, and people are introducing themselves in the forum - already I've come across some familiar faces and have reconnected with some people from the past as well as making some interesting new connections. There's been a lot of criticism of MOOCs (e.g. here and here and here ) by many people who point to the fact that few people who sign up for them actually finish the course and get the certificate. I think this is missing the point - I am not taking the course to necessarily co

Language Learning with Technology: Skills Course (July 2014)

I've decided to run a free month-long course in July based on four of the units in the handbook for teachers, Language Learning with Technology. Here are the details: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening with technology. Join me in July 2014 for the free pilot month-long course in  Language Learning with Technology: Skills .  During July, participants will be examining good practice when using technology to help students with the skills of reading, writing, listening & speaking. We'll be examining different ideas and approaches and then share our experience in the course forum. At the end of each week, participants will write an activity for the language classroom as an assignment. Upon completing this course, participants will be able to be in a better position to know how best to implement technology in their classroom situation to help their students with skills work. Please note, we will be using the handbook for teachers ' Language Learning with Te

Use of L1 in Plan Ceibal English

Recently there has been much discussion of the use of L1 in the English classroom. One of the impulses to this has been the handbook for teachers by Philip Kerr: Translation and own language activities (CUP, 2014) . In the very first part of the introduction to this book, Kerr (2014:1) cites from some blog posts relating to the theme from (2009-10) that shows the strength of feeling for or against the use of the learners' own language in the ELT classroom: No matter what nationality you are, Mother tongue is always there interfering in our lessons (Translating in the classroom) got so out-of-hand that even I was looking up Spanish and (heaven forbid) writing translations on the board. After a few months of this, I realized that this has to stop and STOP now  We treat the mother tongue as a problem because of the stupidity of our immersion methodology Kerr goes on to state that although this is "a contentious issue" which has largely been ignored

Plan Ceibal update - May 2014

During March and April 2014, the Plan Ceibal English project expanded to just under 1,000 classes a week The Spanish version of this video is here

The Rise of SOLEs (part 2): At the Heart of a SOLE

This is part 2 of a three-part series about SOLEs. (see also  Part 1  and Part 3) One of the keystones of  Sugata Mitra's controversial plenary at the IATEFL conference this year was his belief in the positive effects of getting children learning with the Internet, clustered in groups around computers, solving a 'big question' on their own. This he has named the SOLE . What is a SOLE? SOLE stands for ' Self-Organised Learning Environment ' and it is an idea which developed out of Sugata Mitra's interest in further exploring  Minimally Invasive Education (MIE)  - something which he experimented with during the Hole-in-the -Wall project .   MIE has been defined by Sugata Mitra as a " pedagogic method that uses the learning environment to generate an adequate level of motivation to induce learning in groups of children, with minimal, or no, intervention by a teacher." Sugata believes that the beauty of MIE is that children are 'd riven pur