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Pilgrims English Language Courses

Pilgrims English Language Courses

Thomas Strasser

Plenary: ELT 2.0. The future of language learning/teaching? What there was, what there is and what there will be?
The phenomenon “new learning technologies” has finally found its (polarizing?) place in the EFL-lesson. Despite several controversies within the academic discourse concerning the use of new mediaand Web 2.0 or Social Media (from a ‘busted bubble’ towards a phenomenon with a lot of potential), several efficient digital tools and/or concepts for the EFL-lesson have appeared in the course of time. Based on the concept of the “net of amateurs” (i.e. Social Media), this presentation provides scientific considerations concerning a possible change of paradigm in teaching in general (why use Web 2.0 in the classroom, how will our kids learn? Concept of digital identity/citizenship, the role of the teacher as a communicative collaborator, Social Media as Zeitgeist, dichotomy constructivism/instructivism in the context of Social Media and TEFL, Wiley’s concept of Openness, etc.), but also focuses on the practical didactic aspects of new learning technologies in the EFL-lesson with a strong emphasis on constructivist learning and learner autonomy. Which tools or apps could be of great use for the EFL-teacher in order to improve an EFL-learner’s subject-related, methodological and social competences? Which tools should be used in order to support various skills like listening, reading, writing, monologic and dialogic speaking in the EFL-lesson? What about technical obstacles or “technophobe” teachers? What about Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in the EFL-lesson? Blessing or curse? What about the use of new learning technologies in textbooks? And what about the role of the analogue teacher in a digital world?
Workshop: Quick ‘n dirty – a survival kit for the digital jungle
In this workshop the potential advantages of basic internet-based language teaching will be explicitly emphasised (mainly secondary level).Many ELT practitioners have realised that the internet is inevitable in the EFL classroom of the 21st century, but that it still implies certain fears. This talk is designed especially for ELT practitioners who would like to give new learning technologies a try, but still have some doubts about technology-enhanced language learning. All the presented tools and tricks are quick and dirty(i.e. extremely intuitive, simple and free) and do not require technical expertise but rather didactic talent (WHAT will be done with the tool). 
The workshop starts by addressing the most ‘popular’ problems, fears and clichés in the field of technology-enhanced learning and tries to provide practical answers to these problems in order to partly de-mystify the complexity of internet-based language teaching.  After this short theoretical input, the toolkit will be presented. It should help teachers find their way through the internet information jungle and focus on a couple of intuitive tools that support the four skills, generate simple quizzes, produce highly creative podcasts,  and  offer tips how to avoid digital plagiarism, find sources for free images or lesson materials and how to exploit them.  The workshop consists of many brand-new and ‘classic’ tools and tricks that have been tried out by the author himself in the classroom.