Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011: The Year of Living Simply Yet Fabulously!

2011 was a simple year, yet full of exciting, fabulous events. My current life in the Abruzzo countryside is a mixture of down-to-earth living and connecting with people from all over the world via the Internet.

Helping K carry logs chopped for firewood in our jungle.

A new olive tree, my Xmas pressie!! This 3-year-old olive tree cost 8 euros from our local garden centre, Rosa D'Oriente in Cepagatti. Dr Luigi very kindly selected this Leccino variety for me. The idea that this olive tree will be here in a hundred year's time, long after I am gone, gives me a good feeling. It should withstand all that nature will throw at it and it will survive to grow into a venerable tree, I hope!!

The happiness I derive from living amongst chickens, cats, dogs, falcons, the occasional wild boar, olive groves and vineyards is one that invariably transcends having the latest material goods. However, I have to confess, I do get the odd pang of desiring something, but I content myself by saying I can't have it NOW, but hopefully at a later date. This usually does the trick....

I know this solitary lifestyle could be transient, so I am making the most of it, and yet at the same time, trying to do my utmost to further my teaching career, whether virtual or face to face, which is now in its incredible 33rd year!!

Many Heartfelt Thanks to....
.......all the wonderful team at The Lake School of English, Oxford for their continued support. I enjoy teaching there so much, and the course participants are always so keen! Many best wishes to all the lovely staff, and teachers and students I have had the pleasure of teaching this year.

In addition, I would like to say a very special thanks to all the fabulous team at The Consultants-E for making this year very interesting and varied with the different online projects I have had the pleasure to have been involved in.

To everyone I know, via this blog or Twitter or other projects I have participated in this year, I would like to say a very, very BIG thank you to my PLN - Passionate Learning Network. I appreciate all the support and guidance that I receive. I hope I can give the same back to you, I really do.

So, 2011 is nearly over and it's time for a few reflections!!!

Blog ChallengesLinkI took part in 6 blog challenges! Thank you to each and every challenge organiser. It was a pleasure to be a part of the EFL community. Below are links to the original blogs, which hosted the challenges.

Dave Dodgson : Truth or Lie?
Vicky Loras: What's Your Story?
David Warr: A Word Cloud Blog Challenge
Adam Simpson: 11 from'11
Ann Hodgson and Brad Patterson: Compare and Contrast
Anna Loseva : ELT Workplaces

Blog Carnivals
I took part in two fabulous blog carnivals this year.
Eva Simkesiyan: Warmers, Fillers and 1st Week Activities.
Berni Wall: The Most Popular Posts on your Blog

The Year of Webinars and E-Conferences
I continued to attend and present at international webinars and Virtual conferences. I feel immensely happy that I participated in them and I still can't believe it's true!! My trusted and faithful laptop has taken me on a rollercoaster virtual ride and I was in 7th heaven!! Thank you to all the organisers of the following events!

Connecting Online 2011
Virtual Round Table
Reform Symposium 2011

The Year of Firsts!

I tried out quite a few new tools for the first time and you can see which ones in the Tagxedo below. You can find out how I got on with them by searching for the labels on the sidebar.
My web curation site on Comics and Cartoons was begun in July 2011 specifically to house the links and resources connected to my Reform Symposium online webinar on Fun with Comics and Cartoons in the Classroom. I would like to say thank you to all my fellow "Scoopers" for suggesting new comics and cartoon sites and posts to add to this growing collection, which I hope is useful in some way! In particular, the BookChook blog has very kindly suggested lots of materials to add, and I appreciate this collaboration very much!

The Comics and Cartoons site is doing very well! It now has 100 followers, and has had 2,000 page views, with 1,200 visitors
! I am delighted by this, and would like to thank everyone involved in making this particular project such a great success. I don't plan to curate other topics for the moment, as I already follow quite a few topics anyway. However, I don't know what 2012 will bring, so it will be interesting to see what happens in this area.

Electronic Village Online 2011

I attended a 5-week course in January 2011 on Digital Storytelling and learned so much from my lovely tutors and fellow participants. What I gained from the course helped me to produce my very own digital story called "An Idiomatic Love Story". This formed the central part of my first ever presentation at IATEFL Brighton 2011. You can find all the materials I created here.
The Year of SEETA Courses!
I attended 4 marvellous free online courses via SEETA and I had 4 of the best tutors in the world as moderators! Interacting with fellow teachers from around the globe was also amazing. If you would like to read my feedback on each of the courses below, please look under the label SEETA in my blog Sidebar!

A special mention to Chiew from IASKU blog for the fantastic interviews that he is recording with teachers from all over the globe. It was a huge honour for me to be interviewed by him during the summer. Click here to view all his guest interviewees.
I would like to say a big thank you to all the fab moderators and team of ELTChat, held every Wednesday at noon and 9pm UK time. They are doing stirling work in givng teachers from all over the world the chance to discuss pedagogical matters of great interest. I hope to be a more active member in 2012!! To find out more, click on the ELTChat wiki link here.
QR Codes

Writing a blog post on QR codes was one of my most researched topics this year and has led me to be curious about how they will impact on the future of learning. Already I can see that they are playing a big role in a lot of areas such as marketing a product, for example. Recently, I have read a piece on Motorcycle News quoted as follows: "BMW is now incorporating QR codes into the camouflaging used on disguised road-going prototypes, so sharp-eyed and curious onlookers can use their smartphones to scan the codes and go to an official website to find out exactly what they have just seen."
I have discussed the use of QR codes with my hubby K, and I think I have imparted a curiosity in him to find out more about their use. I am thrilled that he has taken on board some of the ideas. He is now busily researching ways to deal with such codes in his industry, high level motorbike training. He's already experimenting with a QR code for his blog home page.
To the left, you can see a photo I took of K riding home on his motorbike after testing out the new road surface!! It passed the test, thankfully. You can see the same photo here.

Happy New Year (mp3)

Wallwisher Resolutions for 2012
I'd like to invite you to add your wishes for 2012!! Hope they will all come true!! Just double click on the Wallwisher to post a stickie and add your wish or resolution.


David Warr said...

Happy New Year, Janet! Love the Christmas present. Look after it.

Janet Bianchini said...

Thanks David! Wishing the same for you, too:-)

Yes, I will look after my Christmas pressie. I hope the elements won't be too rough in the first few months of its new life on our patch!

The Book Chook said...

I love your photos, especially the motorbike one!

Many thanks for mentioning my blog in this post, Janet. I love what the comic editors have to offer kids from all over the world, and I hope there are new ones ahead for us all in 2012.

Janet Bianchini said...

Thank you @BookChook for your comments! I hope we'll share more fun comics and cartoons' sites in 2012.

I'll see if I can slip in a few more motorbike pics in my posts over the coming year. I took the one in this post, and hubby adapted it in his own unique way.