Friday, June 26, 2009

Who would you like to have a learning conversation with?

Today, LANCELOT School had another really good Virtual Round Table on Demand. The idea for these virtual round tables is to invite famous authors, teachers or professors into a virtual classroom and to have a learning conversation with him/her. We started with Noam Chomsky back in February and then Scott Thornbury later in the spring. When I was asked who my favorite textbook author was it was a no-brainer: Vicki Hollett. We found her quite easily thanks to web 2.0 and Linked-in. I had the privilege of inviting people to this event and also talking to Vicki before the event--it was a great honor. I've now become a fan of her blog, which is something I totally identify with--she is British and living in the states and comparing the language. Her blog is called Learning to speak 'merican and I think it is one of my favorite blogs so far. Anyway, today we had a Virtual Round Table for teachers who teach Aviation English. I've been involved in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) for quite a while and this is one area I have never taught. I went because I was helping with the audio and found it fascinating anyway. Personally, I'm looking forward to more Virtual Round Table on Demands. I've put in another request for an author. How about you? Who would you like to have a learning conversation with? There is a forum discussion on the ning site that you can put in your request.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Advantages of Live Online!

After 11 years in Finland, I have decided to return to the USA! This actually came as a shock to many people and several have asked if I have a job there or what will I do when I get there. This has kind of surprised me as I have been teaching live online and working with LANCELOT School for quite some time... Anyway, the advantages of teaching live online is that I will be taking my students with me! Right now, I have some students in Germany at 8:30 PM Finnish time on Wednesday and Thursdays. I will continue teaching them, but will now be teaching them at 11:30 AM mountain standard time. I'm quite excited about this move and especially to see just what will happen in the future regarding this live online teaching-->is it going to take off or is it going to fizzle? My plan is for it to become popular, but only time will tell. So, anyway, I am moving back to the states, but my professional teaching life is going to continue growing live online--the advantages of teaching live online: I can be anywhere in the world with internet connection!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Social Networking: How many is too many?

I admit it! I'm an addict! I'm addicted to Social Networking sites... My question to whoever in the blogosphere reads this--how many social networking sites are too many?

I actually started blogging in 2004 as a way to communicate with my family since I live in Finland and they live in the USA. My father had recently passed on and he was the telephone king who kept us all up on each others' lives. When he passed away, we had to come up with other ways to communicate. I then started getting readers whom I didn't know and we started commenting on other each others' posts and I saw how fun it could be. So, my entrance into this type of communication was for personal reasons and I was pretty slow and cautious--it is the internet after all.

In 2006 I started my own company and as a result started using the internet even more... In 2007, a friend invited me to join facebook and I quickly found friends from years past--WOW! People who I thought I would never see or hear from again are still cropping up through this site. With Facebook, I try to be very careful as to who is allowed to see my site (a friend list if you will) and pretty much there are no strangers amongst my friends and I only post about work at times, but this site is more for reconnecting and keeping up with friends and family.

Anyway, in 2008, I got some training on teaching in a virtual classroom and then slowly I started joining all these different websites. Now, I'm starting to wonder--how many can I handle? The following are badges of the many sites (mostly ning sites) that I belong to because of language training or professional reasons. I'm thinking it is a bit too many and I need a support group...


Visit Corporate Learning Trends and Innovation

Visit Virtual Worlds and Language Learning

Visit Virtual Round Table

Visit Corporate Learning Trends and Innovation

Visit Webheads in Action

Visit AVALON-project

Visit ESL United - ESL Jobs, ESL lesson plans, ESL teacher community!

Visit LearningTown!


Visit RezEd

Visit The Innovative Christian

And of course I also belong to linked in and Xing...

So, how much is too much?

Virtual Round Table on Demand

A few months ago I was asked what famous author, teacher or professor I would want to have a learning conversation with in a virtual classroom. Without skipping a beat I said--Vicki Hollett, the author of Business Objectives, Business Opportunities and In at the Deep End as well as the Tech Talk series. The main reason and motivation for me to invite her is that I love her books, but would love to know whether there is more from her coming out. Anyway, yesterday was the learning conversation with Vicki Hollett and it totally exceeded my expectations. We had about six questions from various trainers located mostly here in Europe. The trainers were able to come 'on stage' and have a conversation with Vicki. This was Vicki's first time in this type of environment and she did a very good job. Here are the questions that she was asked:

Jeremy, a teacher in Poland asked:
I'd be very interested in "the Vicki Hollett story", particularly how you came to write BObjs and BOpps (my two all-time favourite Business English course books), and what you have been doing since then.

The best thing about BObjs and BOpps was (sorry to use past tense, but it's been a long time since I used them) the incredibly systematic and innovative grammar syllabus, which to my mind has never been matched in another BE coursebook that I know. But it took me about 2 years to discover it - there was next to nothing in the teacher's book or task rubrics to point out the 'hidden' purpose of most of the exercises. Was the grammar syllabus deliberately buried? Or did I just imagine the grammar syllabus?

Lindsay, an English teacher in Germany asked:
Where do you personally see the future of English teaching? Is the demand for English decreasing/increasing or stagnating? What sort of English will be necessary in 5- 10 years time?

Anne, an English teacher in France asked:
Vicki, do you intend in the future to adapt your material so that it can be used on an interactive whiteboard or in a virtual classroom? At present, I use International Business Objectives in a virtual environment, my student has a copy of your book at the same time, but I have to prepare my own Powerpoint slides or exercises to compliment your book, it would be great if ready-made exercises were available.

Karenne, a blogging expert :)and teacher in Germany asked:
You've recently entered the blogosphere! Would you like to tell us a bit more about the decision to become a blogger and a little about where you see the direction of it going.

Do you enjoy the process - what has been most difficult or most interesting?

Many bloggers are also blogging with their students - although usually with young children and teenagers - have you had any thoughts on how a blogger could incorporate teaching business English and blogging with students?

and finally I asked about any future books that could be coming out...

The entire learning conversation was recorded and will be on You Tube in the next few weeks. I'm personally looking forward to watching it again.

Do you have a person that you want to have a learning conversation with?

Go to the website and make a suggestion...