IATEFL Liverpool Day 1

10-Apr-2013

Tuesday was the first day of the IATEFL conference in Liverpool. This year the talks have been cut down to 30mins and the workshops to 45mins and as a result you have a programme packed with loads of options. I think that is was a great idea to make the talks shorter as you can fit more of them in the programme, and also the presenters are really focused on the main points in their talks, so you get a great content session and a list of things to check out.

My favourite talk I went to on the first day of the conference was MLearning: is it a portable circus or just an illusion.

MLearning is about learning on the move and enables us to learn anywhere and anytime. The important thing is that it is restricted to the mobile devices as the name would suggest, but rather the range of portable devices which can be accessed regardless of our location. The key element is ‘connectivism’, which allows people to be connected and network.

The Illusion of MLearning

One of the biggest misunderstandings about using tablets is the fact that their usage is quite often restricted to the classroom work. Using tablets shouldn’t substitute the paper version of the material but rather create something that couldn’t be done without technology. When institutions and teachers are making a decision about applying tablets in their teaching they should think whether they are going to use the tablets for MLearning or MLearning for tablets. 

How to integrate MLearning

1. Set objectives
2. Provide on-going training
3. Teach kids about the staying safe online
4. Create a protocol for parents
5. Set rules about when and why to switch off the tablets

How to search for apps

One of the most popular ways to look for interesting apps is via your social network, iTunes or GooglePlay.  Additional ways of searching for apps are:

Quixey
App Crawl

Framework for teaching with apps

Apps can help teachers to teach the following online skills:

Searching- looking for content online e.g. Google
Bookmarking- saving interesting content for the future reference e.g. Evernote, Pocket
Organizing- working with the online content and organizing it e.g. edmodo, maxapp
Creating- generate online content e.g. imovie, stay kid
Sharing- exchange content using social media channels e.g. Facebook, Twitter

Other useful apps:

U-Pad Lite:
It lest you take notes but most importantly you can fill in the forms, signs it and everything takes just a couple of minutes. It’s very handy when you are applying to take part in a training session, conference, etc.

Educreations:
This app turns your iPad into a smart board as well as it lets you record your voice!

Storykit:
It’s especially useful with young learners. Students create stories, add text, pictures and as it is for the true storytelling they can record their voice when they tell the story. If you are using social media channels in your teaching you could share the stories via social networks.

Why use MLearning?

It definitely provides your students with the affective context. It’s also effective as it means learning when you need to and your students are not restricted by place or time. As for the teacher, there’s no need to push information to the students as they can pull the information themselves.

Conclusions

Schools should:

a. Develop a technology plan on how to start and work with technology
b. Create a policy for the tablet use
c. Set up a primary control over the downloading and synchronising apps.

Teachers should be involved in the decision making process; they shouldn’t be the last to find out that there’s a plan to start applying technology

Students should be allowed to keep and use tablets

Isil Boy, the presenter, delivered an ideas-packed talk, inspired by the book The Night Circus.

Pop in tomorrow to find out what’s happened on Day 2 of IATEFL 2013.

And those of you lucky ticket holders for the Macmillan Party and we will see you all at the Cavern tonight!

Joanna

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