Joe Dale kicked off proceedings on the Saturday morning with a great keynote which belied his poor health of the week leading up to the ICT Links into Languages conference. Joe Dale set up the Twitter list of MFL teachers affectionately known as the MFL Twitterati which has gone from strength to strength, and Joe addressed the power of collaboration in this keynote.
Joe talked about the shift in governmental thinking, round to technology in education including a call by Michael Gove for a Wiki curriculum in the Guardian to better enable a collaborative approach as well as his call at the BETT Show 2012 for teachers to be trained to best use the technology available.
Joe talked about the #pencilchat Twitter phenomenon which had us laughing out loud as well as nodding our heads in agreement to the Twitter thread which had focused on attitudes to technology:
He then talked about our pupils as 'prosumers', producing as well as consuming social media and being saturated by it. Social media is the #1 pastime for teenagers and we need to use that in our teaching.
As a facet of this, the fabulous Deputy Mitchell was encouraging all to blog on 29th February. Deputy Mitchell's Twitter blurb reads "Quadblogging/ Feb29th.net founder, keynote speaker on mission to get kids everywhere blogging to a GLOBAL audience" His aim is to get pupils to think about the power of an audience,something which is a no brainer for linguists who are constantly aiming to show pupils the relevance of our subjects. The idea behind quadblogging for those who are unfamiliar with the concept is that four schools from around the globe get together and blog about a like-minded theme. Joe talked about further ways to show pupils the relevance of languages such as his experiences on the European Day of Languages,at the Ashcombe School, where he did a live 1 hour broadcast.
Moving on, he then talked about his current blog ipad366.posterous.com where Joe produces a 2-3 minute podcast giving a tip a day about using iPads.
Mentioning the site education.skype.com Joe encouraged all language teachers to find a class to share educational goals with you. This tied in nicely with Suzi Bewell's TES article Modern foreign languages – Skype makes sense
Alex Bellars got a shoutout with the excellent tools that he had talked about at the Show and Tell in Newcastle namely Class Dojo, Triptico, and Lingro And finally in this section, with another article SecEd ICT in MFL Suzi Bewell talks about using Vocaroo as a way of spicing up language learning outside the classroom by doing a speaking homework. Joe tied all of the practical examples into his talk by saying this is what Ofsted is looking for according to their guidelines.
The final section of Joe's talk was called 'Dropbox out!' The aforementioned #MFL Twitterati is now at maximum capacity with 500 on the list. All conference attendees were invited to ‘join the conversation’ All would agree that support is the biggest and most important aspect of Twitter for the #mfltwitterati.We have set up a generic Dropbox for Modern Languages, as well as separate ones for French, German and Spanish. Get in touch with any of the MFL Twitterati if you are interested in joining.
Other areas of support include aPLaNet which is European funded,and which has a huge number of resources to help ML teachers with resources, mentoring and to help those who don’t normally use social media. Joe talked about the MFL Show and Tells that have taken place around the UK, as well as digital sharing of support and ideas via paper.li/mfltimes which you can receive free by email, full of the best tweets, links and ideas each day. MFL Digital Stories got a mention as well as the wonderful MFL Storybirds
The final mention went to QR codes in education. Ideas for include sticking the QR code into the pupils' exercise books once kids have had their work marked as well as
Kelda Richards' amazing work with QR codes and Aurasma. See Kelda's blogpost Le Mur Parlant The note I typed when Joe mentioned this was "DO THIS!!"
Joe drew his keynote to a close saying that one in three is overwhelmed by technology whilst promting the study of languages with Barack Obama's quote "If you have a foreign language that is a powerful tool to get a job… you are so much more employable, you can be part of international business" Joe had tweeted in the weeks leading up to #ILILC2, asking us to tweet our pupils' favourite method of learning, using the hashtag #groovymfl. Ironically, most responses favoured a more low tech approach. The lesson we must learn as language teachers and tech lovers is that a blended approach works best, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.