September 05, 2007

EuroCALL Virtual Conference: Web 2.0 and language learning

Ulster EuroCALL, the European organisation which strives to explore new ways of teaching and learning language through technology, are having their annual conference in Coleraine, University of Ulster, this week.

There is a great virtual strand with conference presentations, papers, abstracts, streaming audio and aggregations of related content, bringing together world class academic research which shows the potential of the live web for language teaching and learning.

Given the recent hoopla [a.k.a. bunch of tosh] by Gary Stager, slating the "Web 2.0" crowd and the technology for their lack of academic backbone, this conference couldn't be better timed. In my role over the past year as Research Practitioner of new technologies, the material from these conferences is priceless and, along with the other 100 or so research reports I've read and summarised over the past two years (inspired by my old boss, Prof Johnstone), they form a steady base from which we can say with confidence why more teachers should engage their students with new technologies. You might also want to see Stephen Downes' point-by-point take on the academic backbone I'm talking about.

If you want to see why languages in particular benefit from Web 2.0, Live Web or, as I prefer, 'new technologies', then the Coleraine Virtual Strand is a pretty good place to start.

Tip of the hat to Graham Davies.

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Thanks for promoting the EUROCALL 2007 Virtual Strand, Ewan. The organisers appreciate the publicity. This morning's VS workshop got things off the ground, but the blogging won't get properly underway until the first keynote and conference sessions start tomorrow morning, 6 September.

This morning's workshop aimed familiarise the bloggers with the system that we are using. Further details can be found on the portal page that you have publicised.

Keep an eye on the blog and join in text chat: two possibilities - standard text chat, which is accessible via the blog page (you can see how many people are online if you click on the chat icon on the righthand side of the blog homepage), or Yaplet (scroll down the portal page and look for the Yaplet icon on the left).

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Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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