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Action Research update: some conclusions

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This week, I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to present some findings of my Action Research project on Extensive Reading  at IATEFL.  I’ve uploaded my presentation ‘slides’ and the transcript here in case a) attendees want to take a second look OR b) you couldn’t make the presentation.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.   Prezi presentation transcript shortest, edited...

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Discovering hidden depths in digital collaboration

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In the last week, I’ve been lucky enough to attend the MaWSIG conference with the theme of New Ways of Working and a webinar delivered by Nick Robinson of ELTjam about LX Design.  At MaWSIG, Antonia Clare talked about the potential threat that working in a digital space posed to the development of good relationships, and the negative affect that this might have on collaboration.  Nick also spoke about collaboration, identifying a need for interaction for learning to be facilitated.    Ten years ago, when I was working in-house as a publisher at Pearson, it was commonplace to hold...

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Three trends at BETT

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My first impressions of BETT? 1) It’s huge.  Given the fact that it’s billed as the ‘world’s largest education technology event’, this should not have come as a surprise, but the sheer number of new educational technology products and startup companies present was astounding.  2) Unlike ELT-specific conferences such as IATEFL, there’s very little actual product on display.  It’s all on the cloud or on a device.  So, I actually had to talk to lots of people, which meant that it took me an entire four hours to travel down one aisle.  The below, then,...

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Keepin’ it real: what can we do about language change?

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As an editor and writer of English language materials, I’d like to think that I never make grammar or spelling mistakes.  However, the other day, a colleague of mine kindly pointed out an error in one of my blog posts.  I had unwittingly erred by writing ‘with regards to‘.  She went on to explain that we either said ‘with regard to‘ or ‘as regards + noun’.  Indeed, the Macmillan Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary Online and Oxford English Dictionary corroborated her explanation.  The result? I resolved to correct my blog posts.   However, this piece of...

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How to bring life to IELTS materials

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The IELTS exam is a bit of a paradox.  It deals with real life topics, so you’d expect it to be thought-provoking and current.  Yet materials that we use to teach IELTS can feel inauthentic and dull. The reasons behind this are clear to editors and writers of exam materials: Texts need to be ‘future-proof’ i.e. not feel out of date for the duration of the product’s shelf life. (This is a particularly relevant concern for IELTS materials that are primarily delivered in the form of a print book. New editions of digital books are easier to release – more about this below.) Authentic materials...

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Action research update

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In which students reject reading on ipads … Last week, I interviewed my students about their initial experiences of reading graded readers.  At the time, they were all either some way through their first reading book or at the end of it.  If you’ve read my first blog about the extensive reading project, you’ll know that I have a mix of enthusiastic and reluctant readers taking part in the project, but without exception, my students would not choose to read graded readers. Why not graded readers? My first task was to find out the reasons behind this aversion.  Interestingly, the majority of...

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