Presented by Trinity College London academic experts, the series is aimed at English language teachers looking to continue their professional development, particularly those preparing learners for ISE or GESE. This webinar was the seventh in the series and focussed on technology in particular. During the webinar, Martin Oetegenn and and FoELT 2019 plenary speaker Renata Franco Wilmot talked about how Renata uses Whatsapp, Instagram and various other platforms to teach English online. They also discussed the growing appeal of gamification in English language learning and the growing influence of Emojis. Watch the full webinar below.
Renata and Martin talked a lot about how Renata got into online teaching. Renata admitted that she didn't do any specific training and that she learned everything through trial and error. One key message from the discussion was the importance of planning, strategy and reflection. Although when Renata first started out, she was posting on a more ad hoc basis, she quickly realised how important it is to plan ahead on what you'll post.
She also recommended setting a limit no how much time you spend putting together a post (she restricted it to 30 mins). Martin wondered how easy it is to maintain a healthy work/life balance when using social media platforms with your learners - Renata found that having a separate phone for work helped in this case. If you'd like more tips from Renata, you can watch an interview recorded at this year's Future of ELT conference below.
You can also download Renata's slides below and find out about how to join the 'Highway to TEL' challenge.
Renata talked a lot in the webinar about how she uses Whatsapp as a tool with her online learners. Martin struggled to understand how it could be used for classes without something that replaces the whiteboard but Renata assured him that a replacement is not needed! She talked about how she complements use of Whatsapp with an LMS (learning management system) but she also pointed out that all media shared in Whatsapp is stored in the media file. They both agreed that taking screenshots of chats with useful content is a good approach too.
Renata referred to Sieman's Connectivism theory to back up her claims about the value of these online forms of communication in the educational arena. To find out more about it, click on the image below.
if you'd like some practical ideas of what kind of activities you could do with your learners on Whatsapp, this article has some great suggestions.
Martin was curious to know if Renata felt any pressure to gamify her online classes to compete with some of the big apps and websites on the market. Renata said that although she prioritises development of communication, collaboration and other vital 21st century skills, she is always pushing herself to learn new things and definitely sees this as something she will continue to develop in her practice.
If you'd like to gamify your lesson, click on the image below for 10 suggestions on how you could do this. You might want to read this article questioning the benefits of this kind of activity first though!