Friday, 23 March 2012

IATEFL Glasgow Online - The Final Impression!

It's been a fabulous learning journey and a LOT of fun the past few days attending Glasgow Online. Thanks to the online Team and Technical Support for making it all happen, and bringing Glasgow into my home in Abruzzo!!

I couldn't attend the conference in Glasgow in person this year, but I feel that I have got a huge amount from attending virtually and I've enjoyed it so much. I wasn't free to watch everything, as of course, that would have been impossible!! I really liked flitting from the Twitter stream, to the LiveStream recordings, to the forums online and to the blog posts that were being written by the super team of Glasgow Online Registered Bloggers.

I was able to attend the ELTChat Symposium yesterday in parts. I was a little bit disappointed that there was no live streaming of the event, due to a technical hitch, but the lively ripartee amongst the virtual attendees in the Chat Box, more than made up for the lack of seeing it happening live. I was very grateful to all the people who were actually present at the Symposium who were tweeting step by step what was being said. By all accounts, the event was a fabulous success and the ELTChat moderators did a fantastc job of discussing all the topics.

#ELTChat has been nominated for an ELTONS Award. Many congratulations to all the team!! Well done and best of luck!! You can click on the image below to go to the ELTONS home page to find out more information about this prestigious English Language Teaching award.

Pecha Kucha Part 1
One of the highlights out of many from Glasgow 2012 was the Pecha Kucha event last night. It was a fantastic event hosted by Jeremy Harmer, who was brlliant at organising all the slides and introducing the PK presenters. The people doing the PK all did brilliantly, as it's a very nerve-wracking thing to do. Below is a screenshot of all the presenters at the end on the stage together.

The videos in two parts are embedded below for you to view at leisure. They are great fun!

Vicki Hollett talks about living in America and gives a fascinating insight into the different culture there.
Willy Cardoso talks about Teaching at the Edge of Chaos, an excellent talk! You can see Willy below in the screenshot as he is getting ready to perform.

Shelly Terrell talks about her Love of Technology and about the Apps you need to have in your life, all presented in her very enthusiastic and charming way. Below you can see Shelly in action!

Barbara Sakamoto talks about how she ended up in Japan and teaching in the country, all presented in a very entertaining manner.

Watch live streaming video from iateflonline at

Pecha Kucha Part 2
John Stenter talks about Alcoholinguistics, a new branch of linguistics for alcohol related language. For example, there is EAP - English for Alcoholic Purposes! Below you can see a screenshot of this very amusing branch of linguistics!!

Vicky Saumell from Argentina on The Power of Choice, a fantastic talk on how she gives her teenage students choices on a variety of tasks.
Helena Gomm the editor of English Teaching Professional on the difficulties of being an editor, called "Don't shoot the editor!" It was very interesting to see how some topics can't be included in various coursebook markets around the world.
Herbert Puchta, author and former IATEFL President talks about The Real Secret of Teaching Teens Successfully and it's a very entertaining talk ndeed..

Watch live streaming video from iateflonline at

Below you can see the full ToonDo cartoon that I have created especially for this blog post on IATEFL Glasgow.

I don't think I've finished this series of posts from Glasgow yet, as I would really like to embed a few more video interviews as soon as I have viewed them, so please do watch this space!!

Below is a widget of the library of recorded videos for you to enjoy!

Watch live streaming video from iateflonline at

IATEFL Glasgow has been a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end and today is the final day. Thanks to everyone who has made it possible for me to keep up with events, even though I am thousands of miles away. The Glasgow Online team have worked round the clock to ensure that the conference was a huge success. Well done to everyone on the team.
Also many thanks to all the tweeters who worked very hard for our benefit!! Also thanks are due to the Glasgow Online Registered Bloggers site with so many fantastic feedback posts. Fab work everybody!!!

I would lke to add Sandy Millin's presentation notes on "Go online - getting your students to use Internet resources. Sandy has included her Powerpoint slides with audio via Brainshark, and her very thorough presentation notes. This is a very detailed acount of the results of the action research that she carried out especially for the presentation, and provides an excellent resource for teachers! Thanks Sandy.

I have just come across this great feedback post on Mike Harrison's IATEFL presentation by Laura (@lauraahah). It's a must read post!! It is called No Words: Using Sound and Images in Class. Thanks Laura!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

IATEFL Glasgow Online: Day 3 - A Round of Events!

Day three is almost over already and the buzz surrounding Glasgow is still as exciting as ever. Viewing some of the events online, reading all about the fun activities via Twitter, doing some CO12 book editing, turning the compost heap, sorting out embed codes, shooing away chickens, trying to work out why Twitter's layout has gone a bit mad, and fending off cats have all kept me rather busy today.

How I wished I could have picked up a few complimentary scannable chocolates from the Macmillan stand today!! Full image in all its glory here. I was kindly sent some virtual choccies after I tweeted a message to Macmillan!

Owly Images

The Round
I viewed a great video interview today with Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings, the founders of a fabulous new publishing initiative called The Round - "an independent collective of creative individuals in English language teaching".

I support the round

A second video I watched was an interview with Willy Cardoso. Before viewing the interview, you should read Bruno Andrade's great summary and feedback of Willy's presentation today.

Glasgow OnlineLink

You can also read what the other 53 Glasgow Online Registered Bloggers are writing about. This is an incredible number of active bloggers reporting and giving feedback about this amazing conference. This list has grown since the last time I looked when there were only 20 names or so. I believe you will be able to get a very comprehensive picture of what IATEFL Glasgow Conference is all about by popping in to any of their sites!

If this isn't enough, then I've just discovered a great of blog posts on Glasgow IATEFL Bloggers curated by Emma Heath.

Professor Diana Laurillard's Plenary
You can find out more about Professor Diana Laurillard from this site here and learn about the Learning Designer and Tel (Technology Enhance Learning). The title of the Plenary is "Supporting the teacher as innovative learning designer."

I will definitely be viewing this video again as soon as I get the chance. I only caught part of it this morning, and I really liked what I heard! The ToonDoo cartoon I have created shows some of the key points that I noted.

UPDATE 03-05-16
The IATEFL videos unfortunately cease to work after some time has passed, so I have had to sadly delete them all.  I feel this is a great pity!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Fabulous Plenary: Food for Thought

I got myself ready in anticipation to view the live streaming of the first Plenary session from IATEFL Glasgow featuring Adrian Underhill. In my great eagerness and excitement, I somehow forgot about the chickens waiting desperately to exit their pen. In the meantime, the cats were going crazy at my obvious neglect, and were all pulling at me, jumping on me and trying desperately to grab my attention. Total mayhem, in a way, almost like what Adrian Underhill's talk was possibly going to be about, with the words "progress" and "mess" both in the title. So when the live streaming experienced a few technical glitches, it was cue for me to pull myself away, literally, from the computer screen to go and "sort them all out", which involved making some progress from the mess that was ensuing. I didn't really have to deal with a "complex situation" - it was an "easy difficulty" to solve. Feed them, and they would be more than happy = a very simple solution!!

However, life is not really always that simple and to make progress you DO need to know where to start when "mess" or disorder, is all around. How to deal with mess is very important, and leads to a kind of "adaptive leadership".

The title of the plenary in itself was intriguing, "Mess and Progress" and it instantly grabbed my attention! What did this all mean exactly? I was about to find out via concise tweets, an intermittent video recording and a welcome slideshow....

I was able to follow this fascinating Plenary partly via the fantastic amount of tweets that were flying through the Twitterspshere and of course by following the livestream video. I immediately got an inkling that I was experiencing a very special presentation indeed, the sort that would get you thinking for days and weeks on end.

You can view Adrian Underhill's Presenter's page on IATEFL Glasgow Online which includes his downloadable Powerpoint presentation slides here. You can also view the actual recording from the Iatefl Glasgow Online site when it becomes available. I have to confess there were a few technical difficulties that were encountered before and during the transmission this morning, and so it was a little bit hard to follow, but I am sure this will all be resolved soon. I would just like to add that it was a lovely feeling to be with so many people (up to 86 at one point) all viewing at the same time, and some lively conversations ensued.

Thanks very much to the Technical Team who did their best to solve the glitches. I am sure it is just a temporary thing and everything is back on track by now as I write.

Back to the Opening Plenary
The key words for me that shone through the excellent talk were the following in this speech caption:

I will now attempt to do my best to include a context for some of these key words as they came up duing the session.

Adrian Underhill explained the difference between the following:
A Difficulty - is clear cut and definable, with a solution in sight.
A Mess - is boundaryless, ambiguous and uncertain. Nobody can fix it.

There has been a shift in "Systems" perception over the past 50 years. "Systemic thinking" has been developed.
Before, Things were seen as Primary, and Relationships were seen as Secondary in scale of importance. Now, however, the quality of relationships between people is of vital importance.

There is a link between control and connection.

The definition of a leader is the following:

Leadership has been obliged to change "because it is not smart enough for today's complexity". The key point is that you need "intelligence dispersed throughout the system".

This question was asked:

The response was: "Leadership is the activity of getting something done via other people."
I quite like this as it means of course, we are all leaders in our own unique way. That is a good feeling to have.

Learning is a "leaderly" activity, this means that learners lead through their learning, and this in turn leads to "leaderly action".

Adrian Underhill said that we are now moving away from the "heroic" model of leadership, where everything relies on one person at the top of the traditional "hierarchy". This system of leadership has to change, because intelligence needs to be dispersed throughout the system, not just concentrated at the top. This does indeed make great sense.

He quoted Pedler and Aspinwal's assertion that a learning organization is one that "facilitates the learning of all its members and continuously transforms itself".

The following quotes are memorable ones for me:


I totally agree with the quote above. I have been lucky enough to have always enjoyed working in every single school I have ever taught in. Each experience was indeed a wonderful adventure for me, full of connectivity, engagement, nurturing and sharing of knowledge.

I hope I have given a little taste of what I learned this morning from the session. I feel as if I haven't really described everything that was included in the Plenary, because I think that the slides themselves and the video recording will provide a more accurate picture!!

What I will take away from this Plenary is the following "Learning Mantra":
  • See what's going on
  • Do something different
  • Learn from it
I will embed the video as soon as it becomes available, and then I think it's definitely worth viewing it to fully understand all the views and opinions that were expressed by the presenter.

Monday, 19 March 2012

An Action-Packed First Day at IATEFL Glasgow Online

I was able to pop in and out of the IATEFL Glasgow Online site today to view what was happening, just as I would if I was actually in Glasgow myself!! Chatting briefly to fellow online attendees on the Glasgow Online Live Channel via LiveStream was very nice, and saying hi to people I know made me feel as if I was involved in the event.

The Glasgow Online Live Channel is open from 9am to 5pm with regular live interviews which are recorded, including all the plenaries, so they can be viewed around the clock by people who missed them the first time round. I was able to catch a part of the fascinating interview with Chia Suan this morning, who was talking about how her attitudes changed towards English as a Lingua Franca, and you can view it if you click on the link here.

Below you can see an image of Chia describing her feelings about ELF and how doing research on this subject changed her original views. Watch the excellent video interview to find out more!

You can also read about Chia Suan's views on English as a Lingua Franca in this interesting blog post where she plays Devil's Advocate Vs Vicki Hollet.

I missed the live interview with Nik Peachey, one of my Tech Gurus, so I have embedded it below for me to view at leisure. In the interview, Nik Peachey outlines his views on the way forward for schools to integrate technology.

Watch live streaming video from iateflonline at

You can view other interviews from today by simply clicking on the Glasgow Online Live Channel link.

If you click on the link here, you will have a complete overview of all the sessions by date and time. Tomorrow promises to be full of exciting presentations and workshops!

Tonight in Glasgow, there's a Karaoke evening for IATEFL conference-goers with a free drink on entry! Hope to hear all about it via Twitter, which is where I guess all the @iatefl online action is, and so I am heading there right now!!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Countdown to IATEFL Glasgow Conference Begins!

The excitement is palpable on Twitter with attendees and presenters, who have arrived in Glasgow for the 46th Annual International IATEFL Conference and Exhibition. tweeting all about it!! I feel as if I am in Glasgow with them, so keep the tweets coming in, please :-))

It all kicks off tomorrow, and it will be a non-stop week of action-packed presentations, meetings and I am sure, lots of fun!! This will last until Friday 23rd March.

Click on the link to the Frequently Asked Questions to help you find your way around Glasgow Online.

Below you can see the Glasgow Online Live Channel which will be streaming interviews and sessions during the week of the conference.

As a Glasgow Online Registered Blogger, I hope to be posting a bit more regularly than usual over the coming days. I would like to wish all the presenters, especially all those I know, all the very best for their presentations and talks. I will be with them in mind and in spirit. I look forward to hearing all their news and views and hopefully I will be able to report back here.

Watch this space!

Watch live streaming video from iateflonline at

Friday, 16 March 2012

IATEFL Glasgow Online 2012 - Joining in the Fun!!

Comic created with Comic Creator - Boy's Life Magazine

I have just been accepted to be a Glasgow Online Registered Blogger and I am delighted to be taking part!!! I can now add the lovely badge below to my blog sidebar.

The thrill and excitement of attending a conference of the magnitude of IATEFL Glasgow in person, has sadly eluded me this year. I wish with all my heart that I could be there, but not on this occasion. Anyway, I believe attending virtually is going to make up for this in a very big way, and so I can honestly say, that I am looking forward to this great event online. You can find out more information about Glasgow Online from this British Council Iatefl Glasgow promotional file here.

I believe being a Glasgow Online Registered Blogger is really going to help me feel a part of the conference, and make up for my not actually being in Glasgow and it will be fabulous to join the other bloggers and attendees online.

I have joined the Glasgow Online site and the forums are already buzzing with news and views from so many people around the world! You can view the list of presenters and their sessions here.

I have been reading about some of this year's presenters via Adam Simpson's super One Year In the Life of an English Teacher blog posts.

He is one of the Roving Reporters in Glasgow, so you can also read all about the presenters he has interviewed on the IATEFL Glasgow website here .

Why don't you join Glasgow Online yourself, if you can't go there in person? I can assure you, it will be a conference to remember! The chance to share your views with teachers from all over the world via the online forums, and the possibility to watch many videos of sessions being streamed live, will be very exciting.

Glasgow Online

Related Blog Posts on Tips on Giving Presentations, and IATEFL Glasgow Presenters
Sandy Millin, who is giving her first presentation at IATEFL this year, has written a great post about her forthcoming session in a blog post called IATEFL 2012 preparations.
Best of luck, Sandy!!

Ken Wilson has written a fabulous post called IATEFL Glasgow looms - so here's a suggestion about your presentation, which contains lots of useful tips on presenting.

Jeremy Harmer's post on Being naked - is presentation technology really necessary? is very interesting, and sparked lots of comments!

Marisa Constantinides has written a lovely post on #ELTChat Symposium at the IATEFL Conference in Glasgow. I will confess, I am so sorry I will be missing this in person, as I would so love to meet the fabulous #ELTChat moderators, who are ALL going to be together in one place. It will be an amazing experience, and probably a very emotional one, too.

Finally, Sandy Millin has just posted an excellent ELTChat summary on the timely topic of How can we get the most from conferences whether we attend or not.Link
Enjoy yoursleves if you are lucky enough to go to Glasgow, and say hello to the city for me! If like me, you are going to attend online, then we can keep each other company:-)

I look forward to writing more posts about Glasgow Online presentations and news next week. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

When Pants go Stratospheric!!

This Tagxedo contains the key to how to become a billionaire...

I had never heard of Sara Blakely before I woke up this morning. Now I know that the sales of pants have made her into a super billionaire. However, they are not your usual "pants". They are in fact called "Spanx" and they make people look slimmer.

Why have I chosen to focus on this story? Reading through the very interesting post on Yahoo News Online, I came across the idiom "have a brainwave".

To "have a brainwave" means to have a brilliant idea. What was Sara Blakely's brainwave, which has made her the youngest self-made billionaire in the world? Simple really.

"Blakely had the brainwave of cutting the feet out of a pair of tights (or panty hose as they are known in the US) to create a smoothing and firming effect. However, when she wore the cut off tights underneath her trousers she found the tights rolled up her legs all night.

This wardrobe malfunction meant an idea was born. At 29, Blakely invested her life savings of $5,000 (£3,190) trying to come up with something flattering to wear under white trousers. Control hosiery Spanx was born and Blakely wrote the patent herself to save money

You can read more here.

I'm always on the look-out for idioms in context. You can't get a better context than Sara Blakely's amazing brainwave...

I have summarised the article as a tweet in under 140 characters. I have used an idiom (have a brainwave), a fairly new expression ( have a wardrobe malfunction) and a phrasal verb (come up with = produce, think of).

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Crowdsourcing Idioms

I am doing research into idioms for a forthcoming book chapter related to my Connecting Online 2012 presentation, that I had been scheduled to do on March 3rd. I am required to write 6,000 words and I am almost half way there. I didn't realise that 6,000 is quite a big amount to write and I haven't had to write so much since my university days, which is a long time ago. It's a huge challenge for me and I am prepared to do my best. I am grateful to Dr Nellie Deutsch, my former tutor and mentor on Moodle For Teachers and WikiEducator courses, for allowing me to work on this collaborative writing project which will be published online next month. One of my goals for this year was to write an e-book, so this is definitely an excellent start.

My chapter is based around my Teaching Idioms with Web 2.0 Tools presentation, which was originally premiered in Brighton 2011. The book chapter will support my presentation and will include some brand new lesson activities and ideas, which I have been working on the past few days.

I love teaching idioms and my students have always enjoyed learning them, too. I hope this chapter will provide further insight into how idioms can be taught effectively.

Looking through my folders, during my research on idioms just now, I found I had created an Xtranormal animation on Idioms a while back, and I include the tweet below. If you click on the image, it will take you to my Xtranormal page and you can view all the animations I have created. Be warned. They are very simple, but I hope they manage to convey whatever vocabulary I am trying to put across to my students!

I have published an Idiomatic Love Story and you can view it online at Slideshare/JanetBianchini or you can simply click on the image of the book below.

In the chapter, I would like to write a few sentences about how some British idioms have completely different meanings in other languages, or make no sense at all. I had read about the power of "crowdsourcing" on Nicky Hockley's fab blog, e-Moderation Station, entitled, "Sourcing the Crowd." So, I decided to do a bit of crowdsourcing myself, for the first time, and this is what I tweeted to my PLN yesterday:

In British English if you were to say "Victoria is full of beans today", it wouldn't mean that she had just eaten lots of beans and so was literally full of beans. No, the meaning would be that Victoria is very lively today, on the ball, very energetic.

So my question to my fellow bloggers and readers is this: how would this idiom translate in your language?

Please do add your comments in the Comments' Box as this will help me in my research. Thank you in advance!!

The previous day I had done another bit of crowdsourcing as follows:

Sandy Millin responded within a very short time and gave an excellent reply as follows:

Evelyn Izquierdo my lovely tutor on the EVO Podcasting 2012 course also replied to my tweet and this is her super response:

Thank you both, Sandy and Eve for taking the time to add your thoughts!

I would be thrilled if anybody else could add their comments to my two questions, either here, or via Twitter. I will then be able to summarise the ideas in my book chapter.

My deadline is March 15th, so please do write in before then. Many thanks!!

Below you can view a new idiomatic movie I have just created with Dvolver.

In the movie, Frederick is trying his best to woo Isabella back. I have deliberately chosen this movie to be in silent mode. There is a selection of music that you can choose to embellish your movie and make it more jazzy.

Friday, 2 March 2012

TeachMeet International & iTDi - Fabulous CPD on 3rd March 2012

On Saturday 3rd March (tomorrow) Teach Meet International will be holding their second free international event with speakers from around the world presenting on a vast array of interesting topics.

TeachMeet Int'l is organised by the lovely Arjana Blazic from Croatia, and Bart Verswijvel from Belgium, and they are also two of the moderators on such events. The platform used is Adobe Connect Pro Meeting. You can read what Arjana has posted about this event here.

Arjana has also written about the hugely successful 1st TeachMeet Int'l held in December 2011, on her blog, in this post called Good Vibrations.

The two-hour event starts at 10am CET. You can find out how to attend on the TeachMeet Int'l wiki. Each presenter has only three minutes to present their slides.

You can find out about what a TeachMeet is exactly, by viewing the link here.
Why are these events called TeachMeet? Find out more here.

There are 32 speakers in the TeachMeet tomorrow, and I am very proud to be one of them!! My 3 minute talk will be on Fun with Comics, one of my favourite topics!! It will basically be a whirlwind recap of my fuller Comics and Cartoons presentation from Reform Symposium. I'll add a live link to my materials on this blog post after Saturday :-)

Doing such a mini presentation will be a first for me, and so I have been practising with one of the online timers here. I have eleven slides, so I'll have to talk a bit quickly to go through everything in time.

Below you can view one of the new cartoons I have created for the webinar. The comic site is called Comic Creator, Boys' Life Magazine.

Hope to see you there!!

UPDATE: 3rd March 2012 - TeachMeet International Online Feedback
I had a fabulous time viewing all the wonderful presentations and I learned about so many new ideas and materials!! You can view the full recording here.

Grab a drink and some snacks, relax and settle down to watch over two hours of great CPD!!

I really enjoyed my three-minute slot!! Image below of me presenting, courtesy of Sonja, one of the excellent moderators.

Arjana has written a blog post entitled "Why I like TeachMeets." It certainly summarises the lively and very exciting atmosphere of the event.

Shelly Terrell has also written her feedback called 20+ Ideas & Resources from TeachMeet Online using an interesting new site called Pearl Trees. It is an indispensable guide to the fabulous event.

The event is also discussed on my Project 366 Posterous blog.

You can listen to a Podomatic podcast where I have recorded my thanks, and opinion of the TeachMeet event:

Fun with Comics! A Mini Presentation.
View more PowerPoint from Janet Bianchini
International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi) Event - March 3rd 2012

Chiew Pang has written an interesting post called Error Correction: a free webinar, aka Lonely Teacher Blues, Part 2

Listening to three experts in their field (Scott Thornbury, Steven Herder and Barbara Sakamoto Hoskins) talking about ways of dealing with Error Correction on iTDi, was a great experience. I felt as if I was really attending the event in person, as there was a very lively audience of teachers from around the world. It was "first come, first served" basis for attending, as there was a maximum of 100 attendees, and so I was very lucky to squeeze in!! It was definitely worth staying in to attend this very practical webinar!!

You can view the complete webinar session from the iTDi website.
Meet the amazing iTDi team here.