All we need is fun? A review of InnovateELT 2018

When I saw the word “fun” in the title of this year’s Innovate conference, I’ll admit I was skeptical. It reminded me of an article I’d read a few months previously entitled, ‘Millennials Don’t Want Fun; They Want You To Lead Better’, which got me thinking: if we replaced ‘millennials’ with ‘students’ and ‘lead’ with ‘teach’, would that be a fair reflection of the needs of our students today? Moreover, could we extend this viewpoint to incorporate teachers, namely that they also don’t want fun at conferences, and instead want their practices to be challenged?

Learning, design and sustainable development

“For an activity to be engaging, it needs to be meaningful; for that meaning to endure, it needs to be memorable.”

Zahra Davidson and her work with Enrol Yourself is challenging our vision of lifelong learning. This award-winning social enterprise has been exploring the potential of peer groups to maximise individual and collective progress. Zahra shared her thoughts on the future of learning and assessment at the IATEFL event ELTjam co-organised with Cambridge Assessment English.

Big data, trust and the future of language assessment

“Educators and examiners perform an array of functions that, as far as I’m concerned, make them irreplaceable.”

During the recent IATEFL conference in Brighton, ELTjam and Cambridge Assessment English hosted a series of talks exploring the future of learning and assessment. Below is the transcript of the talk given by Pamela Baxter, the Director of Cambridge Exams Publishing.

Do students really want fun in the classroom?

“By ELT emphasising fun I think it undermines our professionalism and distorts the image of what language learning and teaching should look like.”

This is the transcript of my plenary ‘Do students really want fun in the ELT classroom?’, that I gave on Saturday 12th May 2018 at InnovateELT.

5 things ELT businesses can do to get ready for GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming into force on May 25th 2018 and it will affect businesses and organisations all across Europe – including those in education. Here are five things you can do to make sure you’re not caught out … 

5 things we’ve learned from running the LXD Meetup

Over the last six months we have partnered with Enrol Yourself to run three LXD Meetups in different places in London. In organising these events, we’ve realised how much more there is to know about LXD and how helpful it is to share experiences and ideas with others in the group. This post looks at five of the key things we’ve learned already and invites you to join us for the next one.

Claire Dembry ELT

The speaking situation: an interview with Dr. Claire Dembry

ELTjam sat down for a chat with Dr. Claire Dembry, Principal Research Manager in ELT at Cambridge University Press, to talk about how the wide-ranging research she was engaging in was impacting the conversations that were taking place around CUP’s products … especially when it comes to learners actually speaking … 

laura patsko

The pronunciation problem: an interview with Laura Patsko

All things considered, it seems there is still some way to go before ELT course materials – and the teachers that use them – are able to address pronunciation in class appropriately and effectively.

Laura Patsko is a language consultant specialising in the practical applications of linguistic research. In this post, Laura addresses how pronunciation is currently being addressed by ELT publishers and content creators, and what could be done to better support English learners.

English for the underserved: Alternative technologies to bridge the digital divide

This post is based on Michael Carrier’s talk at InnovateELT 2017 in Barcelona, English for the underserved – technology to close the digital divide. Much of our work in ELT technology helps ‘first world’ kids with first world tech access. This post looks at the other world – the next billion learners, in rural areas of Africa & Asia. These learners and communities have difficulty accessing electricity, connectivity, textbooks – we can fix that with new EdTech.

Changing Perspective: LXD with ELTjam

ELT editor and materials writer Katy Asbury gives us her take on ELTjam’s Learner Experience Design training and the impact it had on her perspective on teaching.

One facet of product design is knowing your audience inside out through User Personas, a clear set of personas setting out goals and needs of different Users, which guides your design. How could we use this approach to help our different learners? I decided to create my own set of Learner Personas and apply these to my digital product to consider how and where improvements could be made.

Innovate EdTech Conference 2017

We are thrilled to announce a new Innovate event in London this autumn, the Innovate EdTech Conference 2017. The theme of the event is The Age of Learner Experience and it will be held in East London on Saturday 11th November 2017.