Wednesday 24 June 2009

Guest posting and my year of web 2.0

I was genuinely flattered to be asked by Ken Royal to be a guest author for his blog, although I asked him what he felt I had to offer as I really feel like a complete novice at this whole malarkey! It is true that I have a great enthusiasm for all that I use in my classroom, but I would never profess to be any kind of expert. I work on the theory that if I want to do something, it is surely possible, so it is just a matter of working out how So I settled down to it, and here is my post for Ken's site.

Today I led a whole-day event on ICT & MFL teaching and learning, which included my own department as well as 12 members of staff from several other schools. I have never led such an event before and therefore wanted to keep the numbers manageable.
Why did I even want to run such an event? Believe me, I was asking myself the same question last night, as I prepared the last of the handouts. But yet I am so glad that I did, for it has benefited me as well hopefully as those who attended. As teachers, we are told that we should be reflective practitioners, and yet it is rare that we have time to take stock and really evaluate what we have learnt over a given period of time. The aim of running this day was to show people some of the new stuff I have learnt over the past year, and let them have a go too. It was only when I started to map out the agenda that I realised just how much I have learnt since last July, when I had the extreme good fortune to be sent to BLC 08, in Boston. The November Learning conference was mind-blowing and I came home enthused, armed with a list of of sites to visit and web 2.0 tools to check out.
I followed the instructions of David Truss ( and Ewan McIntosh ( who both said that if we did nothing else, we should start a blog when we went home. This I did, with my "Languages and Learning" blog at I also joined Twitter, although I found it a lonely and pointless activity initially. I now find it to be one of my main sources of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and also a place where people are generous with their praise and genuine in their concern.
A visit to the Isle of Wight for a languages and ICT conference, organised by the amazing Joe Dale (, added to my enthusiasm, and as I approach the end of this academic year, I have created a wiki for my pupils ( and also dabbled with Audacity, Goanimate, Voki, ToonDoo, Animoto and Voice Thread, amongst others.Today I ran workshops on all of these as well as an overview of blogging, Twitter and Diigo.
The format seemed to work well, with a very hands-on approach by the participants, and a vast quantity of helpsheets to take home. They were amazed that I did none of this before last summer, ut in a way, I think that reassured them. I do not profess to be an expert at any of these, yet I find my approach to teaching re-energised and my pupils highly motivated. I too have much to learn, and it is a true pleasure to show others all that this brave 2.0 world has to offer us.

Sunday 21 June 2009

MFL Flashmeeting

I cannot believe that I have not posted since the Flashmeeting, and apologies for not blogging about the meeting itself. It was amazing and a fabulous experience, and I am so glad that I took the plunge. I was very nervous beforehand yet once it started, I really enjoyed it. A few technical difficulties arose as I tried to log in, and I fear that I need to read my instruction book for the webcam, as I was in extreme closeup with no idea how to fix it, but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The format is brilliant, although it took me a while to get used to listening to whoever was speaking whilst reading the comments at the bottom, and I had a headache after, from concentrating for so long on both!
The ideas were great and it was good to hear people explain things, pulling up websites for us as they talked. I contributed, although I don't know if what I said made much sense and I look forward to the next one. Joe Dale blogged about the flashmeeting with lots of notes, on, whilst Isabelle Jones is promoting the next one on Sign up here