Speaking at Eurocall for the first time was a great experience and opportunity to meet educators from around the world interested in technology and language learning. I've been aware of the conference for years now and have followed from a distance thanks to the virtual strand but attending in person was a first.
Like Helen Myers in 2010, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and found it fascinating to hear many engaging presentations delivered by university colleagues and PhD students based on their academic research as well as their classroom practice. It was also interesting to see a designated ten minute slot included for questions at the end of each session for a very techno savvy audience to discuss the concepts conveyed by the speaker more deeply and offer feedback.
I was glad to have had the chance to have experienced this format first hand for a day before speaking myself so I could streamline my presentation accordingly, cut out the fluff and concentrate on the key messages due to the imposed time restrictions (like a TeachMeet on steroids!).
Championing the MFL Twitterati was a no brainer and as in previous live tweetouts I was delighted with everyone's response as it proved yet again of the power of having a personal learning network which you can draw on 24/7.
Other highlights included a whole day workshop on OER (Open Educational Resources) from the MFL department at The Open University where we looked at searching for Creative Commons images on Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, Filta, LORO and Clic Images 2.0. Check out the fab links!
I also really enjoyed Nicolas Guichon's session where he fedback a plethora of interesting data culled from high school students from all over France on their use and perceptions of digital technologies. It would be great to do a similar study in this country ;-)
There was a wonderful session on podcasting and learning Indonesian from Ms Indrianti where she described how she had integrated podcasting into her practice and what were her students' reactions to it.
I enjoyed all the keynotes, particularly Gillian McLaughlin's who gave a stirring and amusing talk on the lifelong learning programme, the history of EU funding for language activities and her adventures in organising tech-based conferences in the early nineties!
The final session I attended before heading home was about the European funded project SpeakApps which is examining the potential of audio and video feedback from students from a range of countries using a special WordPress plugin. It was great to hear that this plugin will eventually be made freely available as Open Source for anyone to install. You could always explore the potential of a Posterous Group to achieve a similar outcome if you can't wait though!
It was lovely to see some familiar faces such as Graham Davies and Andrew Grenfell at Eurocall as well as meet colleagues face to face who I have only ever communicated with online before namely Ton Koenraad and Billy Brick. Andrew filled me in on the latest developments of the Linguacast project, Universed, The Angry Family and Teachers Toolkit and I'd encourage others to check out these links too.
Here is a slideshow of all the pics I took. I am now looking forward to hearing more of the parallel sessions which were recorded and will be published online in the future.