ALL POSTS & ARTICLES

Hugh’s Reviews: Snappy Words

hughsreviews

As the dash towards digital becomes ever more frenzied, so Scoop It and other ‘curating’ (how I loathe that term!) mechanisms become ever more clogged with uncritical propaganda bombarding decent teachers with endless things that we’re all supposed to be keeping up with if we are to survive as teachers in the 21st century . . . and, perhaps predictably, many of them are utter dross and not worth wasting teachers’ time on, let alone students’ precious spare moments! Or do I mean extra moments? Or redundant ones? Or excess? All will be soon be revealed!

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MOOC shmooc?

Image by Flickr user nkcphoto. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Image by Flickr user nkcphoto. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A few weeks ago, Laurie wrote the first of five posts on the Edtech trends of ELT, covering online learning. In his post, he wrote:

it’s only a matter of time before someone is teaching English via a MOOC – either delivering courses through the existing platforms or creating an ELT MOOC (honestly, why has no-one actually done that already?).

Here’s why: there’s a good chance it won’t work.

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Hugh’s Reviews: Lingro

hughsreviews

Hello there –

Welcome to Hugh’s Reviews. This is the first in a series of posts that aim to explore and consider a range of different tech tools and sites aimed at ELT practitioners and at EFL students. As the number of such things seems to increase exponentially week on week, it becomes ever harder to simply keep abreast of what’s out there, let alone to find sufficient time to digest them and critically appraise them. I shall be exploring things I’ve seen touted and praised – and seeing if they merit the hype.

To begin, I’m going to talk about a site I first encountered courtesy of Russell Stannard called Lingro. It modestly proclaims itself as “the coolest dictionary known to hombre“! And Russell himself was almost as enthusiastic, calling “this fabulous tool” “the best website” he found in 2011.

Lingro

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It’s In The Game: Gamification and Language Learning Pt. 2

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Following on from our part 1 post I’m taking up the question that was left hanging in the air: what does gamification really mean for language learning?

The answer, as unsatisfactory and contradictory as it may sound, is: it means what it’s always meant. ‘Good’ language teachers will always instinctively apply such concepts to engage and help their learners. The technology utilised in this approach could range from a piece of paper to a room full of iPads. The tech is the vehicle for delivering the solution, not the solution itself.

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micro-interview: Hugh Dellar

eltjam micro-interview

140char-bio-hugh-dellarHugh DellarTeacher / teacher trainer: University of Westminster. Writer: National Geographic Learning. 60s music nut. Arsenal fan. Father of two!

1. What do you do?

Teach, train, write coursebooks, give teacher development sessions, blog and so on. Also getting involved with apps and YouTube lessons.

2. Why do you do it?

It beats having a real job, doesn’t it! I do it all for the only reason anyone should ever do anything – because I love it!

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Pearson betting the house on digital

Pearson_Without_Strapline_Blue_RGB-280Details continue to emerge about Pearson’s massive restructure and what it might mean for ELT. The consistent theme is a relentless focus on digital at the expense of all else. Basically, Pearson believe they know where the education market is going and are willing to bet everything on it, even though their current customers aren’t really there yet. But then, according to what follows, maybe that’s not a concern.

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Pearson CEO, John Fallon

If you’ve missed the hype so far, the world’s biggest education publisher is spending £150m on a total restructure which involves an immediate move to digital learning, a focus on emerging markets, and a transformation from publisher to education services provider.

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Fee-based ELT materials writing: risky business?

Risk tournament
Image by Flickr user derekGavey. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The debate over whether royalties for ELT authors are on the way out is raging on the conference circuit and in various corners of the Web. It’s clear that some kind of change is afoot within the industry, but it’s unclear yet just how extensive that change will be, especially for established authors. Here at eltjam, we thought now would be a good time to look at a couple of important issues related to fee-based ELT materials writing, especially on digital projects.

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It’s In The Game: ‘Gamification’ and Language Learning Pt. 1 of 2

Interested observers of developments in the field of Edtech will undoubtedly be aware of the snowballing sexiness of the term ‘gamification’ as its advocates look at ways of transferring it from the world of business into the world of education.

What is emerging as the term gets shared and amplified is the fact that it is being interpreted differently and in increasingly erroneous ways. If the concepts and opportunities that the gamification proposition offer are to get effective traction within the education community it’s vital that teachers and learners are clear on what it actually entails (as well as what it doesn’t).

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Macmillan signs up with Knewton for adaptive learning in ELT

Knewton

Adaptive learning powerhouse Knewton has announced that it has signed up with its second major publisher – Macmillan Education. Knewton, founded in 2008 by a former Kaplan executive, is already working with Pearson, and a number of US-focussed educational publishers. Macmillan will now be looking to integrate Knewton’s adaptive learning technology into online ELT courses, with the first products promised in 2015.

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Money A Turn Off (It Turns Out)

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A whopping 62% of gamers pull the plug on their game experience when faced with in-game monetisation methods, a survey by betting site BuddyBet revealed. Further to this, 25% avoid online and mobile games altogether precisely because of these unwanted interruptions.

Jarrod Epps, CEO and Founder, BuddyBet, commented:

“[P]opular monetisation models risk alienating gamers due to the negative impact they have on the gaming experience, likely shortening lifetime user engagement and in-turn reducing the lifetime value of a player.”

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GlobalEnglish makes its play

Image by Flickr user pennstatenews. Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic
Image by Flickr user pennstatenews. Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

The next time you’re sat opposite that businessperson on the train engrossed in their BlackBerry or iPhone, don’t assume they’re frantically trying to get to Inbox Zero. It’s just as likely they’re trying to get to the next level of Angry Birds.

Or so GlobalEnglish might have us believe.

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(Out)Source Code: Kaplan’s EdTech Accelerator To Success

On a previous eltjam post we talked about Pearson’s ingenius scheme designed to attract the best and brightest the edtech-osphere had to offer. Pearson – the educational publisher of Biblical proportions – is inviting submissions/product concepts/pitches from whomever has the wherewithal to realise that creating effective and lucrative digital propositions is no longer the exclusive territory of publishing’s Old Boy set. The company will fund the successful candidates’ travel to and from Planet Pearson and in doing so bestow upon them their expertise, contacts and blessings.

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The 5 EdTech trends of ELT part 1: Online Learning

Online learning - ELT

Edudemic recently identified The 5 Biggest Education Technology Trends To Know About.

The 5 trends are:

  1. Online learning
  2. Alternative credentialling platforms
  3. Tablets and smartphones
  4. e-textbooks
  5. Learning Management Systems

That’s great, but the angle is very much focussed on US higher education and K-12. So, in this mini-series, let’s have a look at what they mean in the world of ELT.

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Open season on language schools? Open English secures huge funding

Open English

Online language school Open English has been getting big publicity over the last week following the news that the business has just raised $65m in funding to expand its operation further in its home base of Latin America and also, for the first time, beyond the Americas. This latest round of funding brings total investment to $120m. That’s one of the highest figures in the history of EdTech – and it’s an ELT product aiming to compete head-on with bricks and mortar English language schools and ELT publishers.

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See you later, incubator: Pearson invests in Edtech startups

Educational publishing behemoth Pearson is putting its dollar into the Edtech startup sector in order to help propel the company further into the 21st century and away from its long-established yet out-dated business models. This move follows hot on the heels of Kaplan linking up with TechStars to offer an edtech accelerator program in New York City. Pearson Catalyst is a new … Read more