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ICT skills and the ELT teacher

This is a summary of the #eltchat which took place on October 16. The transcript can be found here:

Why ICT? ICT is critical for ensuring tasks are current, realistic and relevant to learners (via @adi_rajan). Our learners use it and teachers should use IT to enhance learning, not for the teacher’s convenience. It was said tools are useful when they serve a pedagogical purpose and promote or facilitate learning (via @Shh40Hughes).

Problems: It can be difficult to convince colleagues to make meaningful use of ICT. Often, it’s hard to stay on top of developments, maybe due to a lack of time. There’s also an overwhelming quantity of tools which begged the question should we learn at lot of new tools or make the most of what we have?

Skills: Firstly, we shouldn’t be afraid to use ICT, a basic toolkit is fine, we as teachers need not to be experts. Therefore, however, we mustn’t be afraid to ask for help, perhaps our students :). Being able to find, collect, organize and present information is crucial (via @adi_rajan).

ICT tools can be used for instance for recording, screen-casting, curating, sharing info, discussion set ups or groups  and this is what we came up with during the chat (I added links for some tools):


augmented reality

RIA (Rich Internet Application)


Speech Analyzer

voice recording on mobile phones











platforms like or

MOOCs (eg or



And always useful when exploring ICT is Russell Stannard’s website

Staging successful speaking activities with large classes

This was the topic of the weekly #eltchat on October 2, moderated by @Marisa_C and @Shaunwilden. What follows is a summary of one hour of productive tweeting. I’m also writing a summary for the first time, so please bear with me.

1) Initial thoughts and lesson-prep:

How large is a large class?

This posed an important and not-easy-to-answer question, with some of the chat participants never having taught classes before.

‘Large is anything you feel is too large to manage I guess’ via @Marisa_C and this perception seems to differ from country to country.

@PatrickAndrews and @MrChrisJWilson pointed out that the size of the room and the layout matter.

2) Problems during the speaking activity and how to deal with them:

Monitoring (@teacherkristina) and Managing T-S interaction (@Penultimate_K)

Could be dealt with by appointing monitors and encouraging peer-correction (@Marisa_C, @jobethsteel, @esolcourse, @BobK99) or by using a role-play approach or theater (@dspeicher27, @esolcourses).

Feedback (@ Shaunwilden)

Using the monitor-approach and having students take notes during the activity (aka ‘spying’), then report back was seen as very effective (@esolcourse, @Marisa_C, @teacherkristina, @BobK99).

3) Beyond the lesson

‘I think so far we have all agreed that you really need thorough prepping and strong class management re ICQs etc as a start point’ via @Marisa_C

‘from my experience, management/task allocation becomes more important’ via @teacherkristina

@louisealix68, @Marisa_C, @jobethsteel and @Penultimate_K suggested to use the classroom as rehearsal and then record students using soundcloud (

The transcript of the complete #eltchat can be found here: via @Shaunwilden

Science Shutdown

Doing science a felony? I thought the Dark Ages were over …

Snapshot Serengeti

It’s Day 2 of the U.S. government shutdown. While the media blares about congressional politics and occasionally offers a run-down of what the shutdown may or may not mean for the average Joe, the impacts of the shutdown on science are not generally noted. Notice that I said ‘science’ and not ‘U.S. science’ because this shutdown affects scientists around the globe.

For starters, all the federal grant-making agencies are shut. This means no processing of grants, no review of proposals. Everything grinds to a halt. At best, it causes delays. But at worst, it means important science that depends on continuity gets interrupted, forcing some scientists to start their experiments over from scratch; for expensive experiments, it could mean a death knell. Other research that depends on getting funding before a field season may be delayed a year even if the government is shut down for only a few days.

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