New Tools, New Opportunities

Conference Venue: Yeditepe University

Date: 22 September, 2012

Speaker: Joe Dale/ www.joedale.typepad.com

Title: New Tools, New Opportunities, Personal Learning Networks

In his talk, Joe emphasized a huge cultural shift among young people. Nowadays they prefer social media to TV. Joe said, ‘When we go through websites all the information comes back to us, so we need to organise our PLN’. He recommended www.tweetdeck.com for this. Then he shared some URLs such as http://paper.li/MFLTimes , a newspaper updated daily with a curated selection of articles, blog posts, videos and photos.  Another site he recommended was http://www.boxoftricks.net/on which you can find tried and tested Internet tools for classrooms. You can also find tools and tutorials for digital storytelling on http://mfl-digitalstories.wikispaces.com/Tools+and+Tutorials.

The most interesting part of  Joe’s presentation was the ‘QR Codes in Education.’ Hidden messages can be revealed when students scan the codes by their smart phones.

Thanks to Joe for letting us download his presentation from http://tinyurl.com/9c4ksp3

Gülnur Şahin

British Council Roving Reporter

 

LLP-PopuLLar

Conference venue: Yeditepe University

Date: 22 September, 2012

Speaker: Meral Şeker/ Çukurova University

Subject: Priorities and key competencies within the lifelong Learning Programme

Content: Meral Şeker’s talk was about their school Project called ‘PopuLLar.’ With this Project, students can write their own lyrics. They need to play the music themselves and record the music. PopuLLar wants students to create autonomy. They will become singers, instrument players. As for the relevancy; technology is integrated.The UK, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic and Germany are they partners of the Project, which started almost a year ago.The guidelines have been prepared for students and teachers. Suggestopedia will also be used to make students write their lyrics to the song. The background of the Project reflects the subjects connected with social media environment.

Gülnur Şahin

British Council Roving Reporter

In order not to die, let’s keep moving!

Conference venue: Yeditepe University

Date: 22 September, 2012

Speaker:Nik Peachey

Title: Grow your PLN to develop your teaching online- From Information to Knowledge

I believe Nik Peachey is one of the right people who should be followed for professional development. I have been following him since I read an article of him about ELT-related web tools a couple of years ago.

He didn’t surprise me when he started his talk by asking the audience to leave comments and answer his questions via www.todaysmeet.com/aplanet that helps people connect realtime. Nik defined PLN as people, not a software. He suggested Twitter to reach and follow professionals. To reduce overload we need to follow the right people. His first suggestion was http://chiewpang.blogspot.co.uk/ that shows highly recommended ELT blogs. His second suggestion was RSS webpage, www.netvibes.com, to track the blogs that matter to you so that you can save time as everything is on one dashboard and continually updated. Another simple tool to save web pages to read later was  http://www.instapaper.com/

Nik’s talk was mainly about how to turn information into knowledge by using, reflecting, reformulating and republishing it. We can do this by personal journals (e.g. www.evernote.com) and blogs such as http://posterous.com mainly for mobile blogging. When I asked his advice for the teachers who are new but tech savvy and who not so close to technology, he, like the aim of aPLaNet project, suggested that they should work together as mentors and mentees. Thanks to Nik for sharing his presentation on  http://tinyurl.com/dxwmu3y

Gülnur Şahin

British Council Roving Reporter

aPLaNet Project Launch Conference Opening

Conference venue: Yeditepe University

Date: 22 September, 2012

Speakers: aPLaNet Project Partners: Burcu Akyol-İSTEK Schools, Turkey, Graham Stanley-British Council, Spain, Joel Josephson-University of West of Scotland, UK, Lenka Kroupova-Language School Pelikan, Czech Republic, Marisa Constantinides, CELT Athens, Greece, Monica Vlad-EuroED, Romania, Nina Tsvetkova-Sofia University, Bulgaria.

Title: aPLaNet Project Presentation

AutonomousPersonal Learning Networks’ for Language Teachers (aPLaNet) Project Launch Conference took place on 22 September, 2012 at Yeditepe University. aPLaNet is a European Union funded Project for language educators. It is especially for those who are new or do not use Internet Social Networks. The special event started with ISTEK Chamber Orchestra. Then the aPLaNet Project partners from Turkey, Greece, UK, Bulgaria, Spain, Romania and Czech Republic introduced their Project to us. The starting point of the Project is that PLN is a very important concept in order to develop professionally.

The Project partners shared the outcome of  the questionnaire they had prepared to start the Project. According to the questionnaire, Twitter and Ning are the most fashionable tools among a large number of teachers. The partners  informed the audience that the aim of the Project was to encourage them to volunteer to be mentors or mentees on using social networks and online tools for professional reasons. Graham Stanley – British Council, Spain said there were 85 volunteer mentors from 24 countries and 61 mentees from 16 countries for this Project. The Results of this Project are that the volunteered teachers taught English, Spanish, French, Russian, Bulgarian. They witnessed the creativity and growing confidence. They also produced a methodology guide for this project. For the best quality, they had internal evaluation, external evaluation, feedback and questionnaires. They created a website, aPlanet Ning community, facebook-open interaction, twitter-conversation.

To me, autonomous professional development with the help of mentor-mentee relationship has worked well. I hope, this Project will be the base of upcoming projects.

Gülnur Şahin

British Council Roving Reporter

Autonomy, Social Networking and Professional Development

Marisa Constantinides is one of project partners of aPLaNet and she gave a concurrent keynote entitled “Autonomous Professional Development Begins at Home”.  In this session, Marisa outlined ample opportunities that could be found on the internet for professional development of teachers and discussed various ways of getting involved in networks of community of practice.

How can social networks help with professional development?

Marisa argued that social networks have great potential for enriching professional development because they are flexible, continuous, multi-dimensional, and available to be used at the convenience of participants. Moreover, other participants of these networks are often generous in providing collegial support in the form of feedback, suggestions, and examples of good practice. Marisa suggested EFL Classroom 2.0 and ELT Teachers’ Network, as well as ELTChat. Also, she mentioned “grou.ps” as a web provider for creating one’s own Ning.

Marisa mentioned several ways of getting connected with other professionals from home and evaluating what’s available on the net. She suggested training videos on YouTube, webcasts of webinars, TED talks (for auditory visual learners), blogs and books (for visual learners) and social bookmarking such as Diigo for sharing information.

Why?

At the beginning of the session Marisa focused on “multidisciplinary information” that teachers’ should acquire including methodology, linguistics, sociolinguistics, and semantics, reminded audience about expectations of the students by sharing a research that is conducted about concept of ideal teacher in students’ mind and stressed the importance of life-long learning for the professional growth. Therefore, small doses of personal development that autonomous teachers can get from on-line networks can, in the end, put us in “hall of fame teachers” row.

Asli Saglam for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

aPLaNet Project Launch Conference

Autonomous ‘Personal learning Networks’ for Language Teachers (aPLaNet) Project Launch Conference

Today I attended project launch conference of PLaNet in Yeditepe University. This is a very inspiring EU funded project with the aim of providing language teachers in Europe with chances of professional development and in the first plenary keynote project members explained different aspects of the Project and the on-line resources that are created.

In aPLaNet project language teachers are assisted in their professional development by aPLaNet mentoring programme. Participating teachers can become mentees and mentors assist them in using social networks and online tools for professional development and building their own personal learning network (PLN).

Project members talked about aims of the project, mentor guides, mentee guides, methodology guide, case studies and results of the project briefly in the plenary keynote. Here is the link to the project’s self-access webquest for Twitter, Facebook and Ning that outlines numerous useful links.

This project is a living proof of the role of on-line Community of Practice (COP) for enhancing professional development of language teachers.

Asli Saglam for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

aPLaNet Conference Program

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