I was delighted to be elected as Chair of IATEFL’s Electronic Committee and look forward to working with committee members over the next 3 years. I will do my best to fulfil my election commitments:
• Review and streamline important online “customer journeys”
• Help SIGs with their websites and online coverage of SIG events
• Create a searchable archive of articles and videos from past events
• Help SIGs offer more webinars
• Continue to develop a network of conference and event bloggers
• Make all resources mobile friendly
• Use Social Media to generate more interaction with members as we are beginning to see on IATEFL’s Facebook Group (now 2000+ members)
• Extend access and interaction with Associates and the Wider Membership scheme.
I will work to ensure that our use of technology is flexible and responsive, so we can build a online presence and community that reflects the ethos of IATEFL and its members.
Word Carrot is LearnAhead’s first iPhone app published on the app store on 5 January 2012. It’s a free app with 90 words and will soon be updated to enable learners to buy more words through in-app purchase. We will then release a US English version, and an iPad version, though the current version also works on iPad. In the longer term we hope to publish for Android and in other languages. The accompanying website has articles and free worksheets that teachers can use for teaching the word sets featured in the apps.
I’m greatly looking forward to my mobile learning presentation this weekend for the IATEFL Learning Technology SIG, see details on their web page. I will report on a survey of language learning apps carried out with Paul Sweeney, and the features that we liked and those we didn’t and describe how I have applied this learning in two mobile app projects that I am working on.
The first is an arcade style iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad vocabulary learning game called Word Carrot that I have been working on the past few months with three colleagues in our new company, LearnAhead Ltd. The app will appear on the Apple App store in early January 2012.
It was fun to attend the ELTONS last week, the first time since I left the British Council last year, free of any sense of responsibility for the event, and with an “outsider” perspective. The awards were started by my former colleague Cherry Gough in 2003, and I have been involved as a judge for several of the intervening years.
Having seen some of the entries already when helping judge last year’s ESU President’s Award, I rather rated Macmillan Global’s chances, but Macmillan, along with the other major UK ELT publishers, came away empty handed. Instead United International College (UIC), a London-based language school won with their entry Communication Station, alongside the BBC, with two web-based learning resources.
After two months of owning an iPad, I finally went to my local newsagent today and cancelled my daily newspaper. I had delayed this partly because I had a subscription arrangement that made it more complicated, and partly for nostalgic reasons, I really enjoy breakfast and my morning paper. But the iPad will do the job just fine, and it is good to reduce our paper consumption. The newsagent seemed uninterested, despite the fact that we must have spent thousands of pounds with him over the 12 years we have lived here, and even the newspaper subscription department did not bother to ask me why I was cancelling the subscription. Are they both resigned to their fate? And what is their fate? The Guardian is developing a digital strategy, but the newsagent may find it harder to find a new niche or business model, as a Tesco Metro has recently opened near him.