Sunday, 7 August 2011

#RSCON3: Feeding back and moving forward

It’s been a week now since the Reform Symposium came to an end. Well, a week since it came to an end in a ‘live’ sense as all of the sessions are now archived and available to be viewed on the conference website. I’m sure I’ll be stretching out my enjoyment of this conference for a few days yet!

That for me is a great advantage of the online conference - the ability to view whenever you want, even if it’s after the event. On top of that, there is also the chance to share these great sessions with colleagues who were unaware of the conference when it took place or were too busy to attend.

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This year’s event was a great one to attend and participate in. Last year’s Reform Symposium was my first online conference and I remember thinking how cool it was and how I would love to be involved in future versions. A year is a long time in professional development and this time I was not only able to present a session but I also moderated a few, which was a new experience for me. However, I was happy to help in any way I could.

In general, I came away from the conference with renewed energy to get back into the classroom when the new academic year starts here next month and lots of new ideas to try out. As I said in my contribution to Chiew Pang’s iasku special RSOCN review, this conference served as a good reminder that even though I work in language teaching, I am in fact an educator. Language teaching, and specifically ELT, often views itself as a separate discipline and the voices from the general education sector often go unheard or ignored. I enjoyed listening in on some talks from people who work in general education and I hope they got something out of the sessions given by ELTers as well.

As for my session on feedback and error correction, I think it went well. The topic seemed to be of interest to the participants and I tried a few different ways to make it interactive with a poll at the start and taking questions and comments on a sample piece of writing early on. I also tried a live demo of typewith.me to show how it could be used for an error correction activity which, while lacking the direct interaction of group work in class, was better than just talking about it.

In case you missed the session, here’s a link to the recording and here are the slides I used during the session:


If you watched my session, either live or from the archive, I’d love to hear your comments on how your experience on ‘the other side of the screen’ was. Feedback on my feedback session - please do so in the comments section.

The only negative thoughts I had about the whole weekend was that nagging feeling I often get when interacting with teachers online that we are in a way preaching to the converted. I generally find that teachers who are active online are already in the process of finding ways to improve and expand their experience. The ones who need to hear the words of the presenters the most and live the experience of an event like RSCON are the ones who were not there, either because they didn’t know or couldn’t be bothered.

The only thing to do is to let them know. I will be emailing several colleagues over the next couple of weeks with links to sessions I recommend they see before we go back to school. Hopefully, they will watch them and see what I saw, learn what I learned and be ready to move forward when September rolls around.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Dave, another great post. I really loved your sesion as I told you in the feedback, but I will listen it again one more time as I want to study more "Typewith.me". I think you are right for the collegues who didn't know or couldn't be bothered. It's a great idea to emial them some of our favourite sessins. If I share the RSCON3 with my collegues, most of them will just ask me how I manage to find the time to all this, so what I am going to do is try to present them the ideas, projects and then recommend them to watch the session on their own pace. Hope this works and we will have more people on RSCON4. I hope to transfer my enthusiasm to them!

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  2. Definitely the "negatives" paragraph resounds with me. My upcoming post on RSCON (today) is trying to preach to the unconverted.

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  3. I was one of the volunteers that was able to edit the text on typewith.me ... to be honest, it was such a memorable experience that I have already shared it with my Supervisor. The idea that 4 people from different corners of the world could work on the same text in an effort to make it better was ... refreshing, exciting, amazing! Even when another participant asked if my first language was English, the question was asked in curiosity not condemnation. No matter what was said, as well, as a facilitator, you presented incredible ideas in a supportive manner. Thank you for sharing! (And helping support as a moderator in another session!)

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  4. Marijana - Thanks again for the feedback. :) I'm glad you liked typewith.me and that you will also email colleagues links to sessions that might interest them. It's the best way to spread the word.

    Tyson - hope your post does the trick! I shall leave a lengthier comment over there.

    Sylvia - great to hear that you shared this with your supervisor. It works so well on so many levels. I demonstrated 4 people flung across the globe working on it but you could also have kids at different computers in the same class or even different groups in different classes working on it at the same time. I'm glad you found the experience supportive as well. :)

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