Friday, March 28, 2014

Harrogate Online registered bloggers: Mercedes Viola

Here's the last of my three Harrogate Online Registered Bloggers interviews, this time with Mercedes Viola, who I have known for many years online and have been able to meet up with in person several times since moving to Montevideo. I've always been impressed with just how dynamic she is, and how active and enthusiastic she is both online and in person.
Please introduce yourself
I’m Mercedes Viola, an English teacher from Uruguay, South America.
I’ve been running a language school for more than 20 years designing and implementing general English and business English learning experiences.
I’m a member of the IATEFL Electronic Committee and BESIG Joint Web coordinator.
If you want to know something more about me, you can visit this page
Could you give us brief details about your session at IATEFL 2014?
I’ll be talking about Ceibal en Ingles, a truly innovative English project in Uruguay. This project is being implemented by Plan Ceibal ( in partnership with the British Council. I’m leading a team of “remote teachers” and in this talk I´ll share what I’m learning from this experience. You can read more here
What should your audience expect to learn?
About this project, about new pedagogies, new ways of co-creating knowledge. I expect that, at least J
What areas of the conference are you interested in?
Difficult question! I’m a curious person and love learning new things, so it’s difficult to choose what sessions to attend. I’m interested in learning technologies, debates about new pedagogies, new methodologies, new ideas, business English.
What other aspects of the conference are you looking forward to?
Meeting people! I work a lot online and I don’t know most of the people I work with - the IATEFL team, the BESIG team. So, I’m really looking forward to meeting them in person, chat, and go for a drink.
Do you blog?
I do blog. I love technology and think it offers us the opportunity of sharing, sharing knowledge, images, ideas, music, anything. Blogging is one way of sharing.
Could you tell us about your blog(s)?
I have two blogs.
One blog is more “personal”, let’s say. I share music, quotes, poetries, photos – I’m an architect and as such I’ve been surrounded by images, photography. And I can I say, photography has been a passion since I was a teenager
The other one is about language teaching and learning. I mostly post about things that are happening in the ELT world. I don’t write that much, I use videos, images and words.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Harrogate Online registered bloggers: Chris Lima

Continuing the interview posts about other IATEFL Harrogate Online registered bloggers, it's my pleasure to introduce Chris Lima to those of you who don't already know her. I first met Chris at the BRAZ-TESOL conference in Fortaleza in 2008 and have bumped into her at conferences ever since. 

Please introduce yourself
My name is Chris Lima, I am a teacher, teacher trainer and researcher.

Could you give us brief details about your session at IATEFL 2014? 
In my talk I will discuss how integrating the reading of literary and creative material into teacher education and development programmes can give ELT professionals the opportunity to better understand the role of literature in language learning, participate in discussions of relevant issues, engage with different points of view, and develop their own language skills.

What areas of the conference are you interested in? 
Literature and language teaching, creativity in ELT, English for Academic Purposes.

What should your audience expect to learn? 
About ways of making the reading of literature more interactive and how to participate or perhaps start your own reading group

Do you blog? 
Yes, I have been blogging for 8 years – I wrote my first post in January 2006.

Could you tell us about your blog(s)? 
My main blog is simply called Chris Lima’sBlog (not very creative at all). I started it blog in 2006 as a simple experiment with web technology and as a way to reflect on my professional experiences. It has grown to encompass all aspects of my teaching, my involvement with teachers' and other educational associations as well as my research interests. I also have anotherblog that I devote to my literary interests.

What other aspects of the conference are you looking forward to? 
Meeting my friends, advancing a couple of projects with some colleagues, and meeting new people.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Harrogate Online registered bloggers: David Read

One of the other registered bloggers, Adam Simpson (blogging at has come up with the idea of a blog chain reaction in the lead up to the 2014 IATEFL conference. The idea is for each registered Harrogate Online blogger "to choose two or three of this year’s registered bloggers and introduce them on their blog. These bloggers then in turn choose other registered bloggers and interview them…and so it goes on until we all have a good idea of who will be blogging about this year’s event."

My first choice is David Read, and here are his answers to the blog challenge questions:

Please introduce yourself
Please introduce yourself My name’s David Read, I’m from the UK and work as Technology Director at the English Language Teaching Centre, part of the University of Sheffield. I’ve been an EFL teacher for about 20 years and worked in 14 countries (don’t worry, I won’t list them!). As my job title suggests, my main interest is technology, particularly mobile and web apps for developing digital literacy. 

Could you give us brief details about your session at IATEFL 2014? 
Not doing one this year, did one last year and just wanted to be able to enjoy IATEFL this time without having that performance anxiety banging around in the back of my head! So decided instead to become a registered blogger and put pressure on myself to churn out a few posts during the conference… 

What areas of the conference are you interested in? 
My two main interests are technology and English for Academic Purposes, so anything related to those. Any mobile stuff particularly, there seems to be a constant stream of new apps coming out and hearing what other teachers are using is alway useful. 

What should your audience expect to learn? 
If you mean my audience for my session - very little! If you mean my blog, hopefully some useful reflections on the sessions. 

Do you blog? Could you tell us about your blog(s)? 
I’ve been blogging on and off since about 2003, to start with it was mainly travelogue stuff but then later I started using it as part of my own professional development. I had a blog on mobile learning in ESL ( but decided to move over to Google+ and use the communities there as a way of sharing ideas and information. I moderate an ESL teacher community there that has nearly 2000 members. But recently I decided to start up again, this time as an unofficial blog of our school. I wanted a space where our centre’s teachers and students could share experiences and knowledge and so started up this: 

What other aspects of the conference are you looking forward to? 
Just meeting up with other teachers, especially those I’ve worked with in the past. IATEFL is a great whirl through your recent and distant past!

Monday, March 24, 2014

IATEFL Harrogate online

Sad to say, that due to work, this is the first year I won't be attending the IATEFL annual conference in 7 years, since the one held in Aberdeen in 2007. Fortunately, much of the conference is streamed online, thanks to the British Council, and IATEFL Harrogate Online is now live.

I've signed up to be a 'Harrogate Online Registered Blogger' and expect this will encourage me to participate virtually and report about the conference even though I'm miles away in Montevideo. I signed up last year and it encouraged me to live blog a number of the sessions form the conference, so I'm hoping this year it will have the same effect.

If you are an ELT blogger and want to participate in the scheme, then it's definitely worth doing. In return for applying, you get:-

* Your name/blog listed as 'Harrogate Online Registered Blogger' on the Harrogate Online site

* The ability to embed exclusive video content from Harrogate Online on your blog

* A special 'Harrogate Online Registered Blogger' badge/banner for your blog

More than anything, I find it's one of the best ways to keep track of what people are talking about on the blogosphere during the conference and there are already 19 blogs listed on the site
I've also said I'll participate in the following session on Friday:
After hours - Live from Harrogate and the world  

Want to know more about what’s going on at the conference?
Want to share your experiences as f2f or online participant?

On Friday 4th April, 2014 at 17:00 GMT delegates from Harrogate and online participants from all over the world are meeting to discuss and exchange views of different talks, worshops, plenaries and interviews.
Some guests will also be joining us to interact with the online audience. from Harrogate and online participants from all over the world are meeting in a special webcast live from the venue to discuss and exchange ideas.

Moderators: Caroline Moore, Mercedes Viola and Heike Philip
To join us click on the link to be advertised shortly on Harrogate Online, select the “Enter as Guest” option, write your name and country, then click “Enter room”
You can check your local time here.