#ilic4, otherwise known as the fourth running of what used to be known as the ICT Links into Languages Conference, an idea kickstarted by 3 great people back in 2011 (Zena Hilton, Joe Dale and Jo Rhys-Jones) has grown into the country's leading conference specifically about the use of technology in languages.
Normally I don't like talking about technology without putting it in context. However this year I was very proud to have had a say in develeloping the conference's title- "Putting the Pedagogy in the Technology". For me technology is nothing without a sound ground in understanding what it is beign used- and that purpose MUST be more than just creating bangs, whizzes and engagement through bright lights.
This time last year I felt disillusioned with teaching and I didn't go. I couldn't see the point, to be honest. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be in education any more. This year I walked through the weekend with a smile on my face. Fascinating people lead fascinating sessions and the learning conversations which ensued were both provoking and intriguing. Just the way I like them.
I have to confess that I went with a selfish shopping list of desires to supplement my previous blog post outlining the basic foundations for the department that I intend to develop over the next few months.
- Sam Broom spoke about the implementation of SOLO taxonomy in her teaching. Sam is someone I've long wanted to meet after many conversations and work on projects together over the years. It was an absolute pleasure to finally meet her, and her session was really stimulating as well. SOLO is something that, since I was first introduced to it back in 2010 by my heroes Chris Harte and Darren Mead, I have been thoroughly intrigued by. Even after having done a fair bit of reading on the subject I still wasn't sure how to use the taxonomy. Now, hopefully, I do.
- Sadie McLachlan - Flipping the MFL classroom. I want to be able to keep my students on their feet, making sure that lessons and lesson structures are varied. The school is also founded on Project Based Learning, so I want to maximise the learning time available for DOING. Flipping is a great way to do that, then allowing the following lesson to be heavily differentiated to allow those students who already understand a concept to be allowed to get on with applying their knowledge whilst extra layers of support can be provided for those who still need it. Sadie is incredibly reticent about the work that they've been doing at Wildern, yet, although she openly admits that what they have been doing isn't perfect, I actually think that it's a fantastic example for departments across the country to follow. Their use of Google Docs to gauge comprehension (many thanks to Rachel Smith as well for Flubaroo for the automated marking of Google Docs, definitely one to explore) is one that I will definitely take on board.
- Dominic McGladdery- differentiation. Dom's take on differentiation was a fascinating one, reminding us how ICT tools can be used to provide access to all. It's good to be reminded that sometimes the old classics really are the best- and I mean that as the highest praise.
- James Gardner- Edmodo. I want my students to be able to work on projects when they are not sat in front of me. I think Edmodo might fill this hole in how I've operated before due to the fact that both our IT savvy and our IT comfortable students are happy with the way that a Facebook-esque tool operates. I'm going to run a pilot group on this and see how they get on.
Now to take it all forward and see what I can make of the ideas- so thank you to everyone involved for a fantastic weekend. I just really, really wish I could have been to many of the other sessions- but I look forward to scouring the blogosphere in the near future to keep piling on the ideas!