ETAS learning technologies

ETAS learning technologies blog

Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Keeping on top of it all

Posted by Illya on 1 May 2012

A while ago wrote about e-books. Since then I’ve reached out and discovered enhanced e-books.Enhanced by sound, video, links, etc. The first I saw of this when I went digging was a book which had been filmed. Clips of the film had been added to the book as had background information in print and in the form of interviews.

In a matter of months I no longer had to dig. These enhanced books were being developed, not just for enjoyment, but for learning. You can find them in the form of apps for your i-devices, your smartphone or tablet. And the prognosis is that they will find their way into the classroom within the next 5 years. This means that every learner will have access to one or bring their own to class.

This means we will have a steep learning curve, especially for those teachers who previously have avoided the issue of technology in the classroom. However, we already have a similar situation. In my classes with adults there is no sinlge participant without a cell phone. Most of these are smartphones, therefore, technically cabable of most of what a tablet can do, such as displaying e-books, enhanced books, playing videos, recording voice, showing links, etc.

You can see where this might go by watching the video below. If we don’t want to fall behind, we need to be aware of the developments and overcome our fears of technology.

Posted in blogs, videos | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Impressions from the Learning-tech SIG

Posted by Illya on 6 June 2010

ETAS’ first on-line course has been a great success.
During the course of four weeks, nearly 50 participants from ETAS and ESSARP joined forces to explore and create blogs.

For most it was a very steep learning curve to both take their first on-line course and learn to use the technology involved, and so not everyone completed the course.
But for others it was perhaps a first step in giving on-line courses themselves or at least supplying an on-line element to their classroom courses.
The course used a Ning platform (see the ETAS Journal Winter 2009 for an article on Ning), and so the first step was to become acquainted with the course platform while reading up on blogs and how and why they can be used by teachers and learners.

The next step was to set up the blogs.  In the end over 20 new blogs were opened and have supplied a wide range of topics, including even connecting maths and science with EFL, as well as literature blogs for learners.

We also had two live on-line sessions on Wiziq with Karenne Sylvester, who was able to give the participants tips and relate her own experiences of blogs in her classes.

Judging from the feedback, it looks like this won’t be the last on-line course.

If you have any wishes for on-line courses, then please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you would be interested in. Or answer the poll below.

Would you be interested in taking an on-line course through ETAS?

What topics would interest you for an on-line course?

Posted in blogs, etas, survey, Uncategorized, Workshops | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Follow-up SIG day Matopo Project

Posted by Illya on 20 September 2009

The SIG day was a success, I think everyone will agree.

Two  special highlights of the day were related to the Matopo Primary School project run by Cindy Hauert.

From Teacher training in Zimbabwe 2008

The first highlight was to hear the wondeful news that the Roger Federer Foundation has decided to support this project. This is extremely important news as it means that the support can take new dimensions. It’s the children who are the future of any country, and at the current state the future of Simbabwe looks dismal.

Then at the end  the amount of money contributed through the raffle and donations for Matopo School was announced. It was a high figure worthy of the charitable and helpful nature of ETAS and its members.

Several presenters have generously donated their payment to the school. I don’t know many names, but I do know that Peter Travis and Fiona Joseph from flo-joe and splendid speaking websites (see below) were two such people. I would gladly recognize others if I have their names.

Another such presenter was Ian McMaster, from Business Spotlight, who also blogged about the SIG day and the Matopo project. I do invite you to read what he had to say in his post “A penny for their thoughts.”

You can keep informed by reading the Matopo blog, and please do leave a comment. Comments can be very motivating, especially when the prospects seem particularly bleak and the hurdles high (such as getting materials across the border!) and why not become an official follower? This is very easy to do if you already have a google account. Just click on the follower button in the column on the right and help make the group fo supporters grow!

If you know of other such noble acts, please leave a comment so they can be recognized and thanked!

Do good things and talk about it!

Posted in blogs, links, matopo, projects | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Brush up on technology in the New Year

Posted by Illya on 19 December 2008

I’d like to invite you, dear reader, to an excellent opportunity to expand your technology skills and get new ideas for teaching using technology and blended teaching.

Every year a group of educators called the Webheads offer a number of courses free of charge online between mid-January and mid-February. These experienced people are devoted to passing on their knowledge and helping others come to grips with new technology. It is here that I too have learned so much and made so many contacts around the world.

Have a look around, and I hope to see you there in the new year!

Don’t worry, there is something for everyone and even true beginners in this area. AND you get a chance to meet some of the most wonderful people (next to the ETAS gang, of course :-))

And here is the official invitation:

The CALL Interest Section of the international TESOL
professional association is pleased to offer the
opportunity to participate in the Electronic Village
Online (EVO) 2009 sessions. This is a professional
development project and virtual extension of the TESOL
2009 Convention in Denver, CO . The intended audience
for this project includes both TESOL 2009 participants
and those who can participate only virtually.

You do not need to be a TESOL member to participate in
a free, six-week, wholly online session of the EVO,
Jan 12 -Feb 22, 2009. Please visit our Announcement
Web page to select one among the various offerings.

Yours in TESOL,

The EVO coordination team

Posted in blogs, communication, links, online conference, presentation, relevant sites, Tools, wiki, Workshops | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Matopo – every bit of help counts

Posted by Illya on 17 May 2008

Over at the Matopo Primary school blog Cindy has posted a preview of an article for the ETAS Journal.

I’m sure you’ve all been following what is happening in Zimbabwe. It’s tough times and who knows whether the opposition will be able to stand up to the pressure that’s being put on them.

Here is just a short exerpt from the article on the Matopo blog:

From Patson Mpofu I also heard that “things are bad in schools as teachers are on strike and not at work…schools have become meeting places for the kids since teachers are not there…(but at) Matopo we are at work and our focus is to help the pupils though things are tough and the regime clings on to power…”

I think it would not be exaggerating to say that Matopo Primary School has been able to survive the worst of the devastation because of YOU—ETAS members who have supported our project.

Dear reader,

Especially in this time of trouble, our support means all the more to the teachers and kids in this school. It may be just a small effect in the larger scheme of things, but if it’s possible to help even just a few, the world has become a better place.

So what can we do? Here are a few suggestions:

Have a school collect. The school is in need of basics – everything we see as given – paper, pens and pencils, erasers, and these are just the little things.

If you teach business English, why not practice letter-writing with a request for donations? Cindy would be sure to give you any documentation needed for this.

All help is welcome!

And now one more:

Zimbabwean children are bearing the brunt of the political crisis. (File photo) (AFP: Gianluigi Guercia)

ABC News also reports how ‘Children are bearing the brunt’ from April 14th.

Posted in blogs, links | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

blog recommendations

Posted by Illya on 30 March 2008

Here are two blogs which I can recommend you to follow regularly.

The first is 

Nik  has a blog which is regularly updated and chock full of sites and internet freeware useful for teachers. It’s very simple to find past posts of interest because he has tagged them with key words for easy access. For example, if you click on the link to videos, you will find 15 entries. You will find one particularly intersting one under ‘Creating multi-media stories‘. Here he describes Photo story 3, gives a few possiblities of how it could be used, and then gives his opinion about what he likes and the problems.

The second one is from Larry Ferlazzo: 

He also has a compilation of useful sites for the teacher, and has even taken the effort to make several ‘best of’ lists. If you go to the best-of series, you’ll find such topics as music sites for English learning, k-12 sites, and many other.

If you want to follow these blogs and be regularly updated without having to go to the site each time to see what’s new, which is certainly a good idea, then go to blogging 101 and find out more about RSS. These function a bit like e-mails, letting you know whenever there is an update in the blogs you have chosen to follow.

Posted in blogs, relevant sites, Tools | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

A course offer from Comenius

Posted by Illya on 1 March 2008

I just got this offer for a 7-day course in my mailbox and perhaps a couple of  you, dear readers, may find this worth your time in nearby (relatively speaking!) Heidelberg.


‘Designing activities for the 2.0 Language Classroom’

(A Comenius professional development course)


In conjunction with the Utrecht University SummerSchool the Faculties

of Education of Heidelberg and Utrecht Universities of Applied

Sciences offer a 7-day, international course exploring WEB 2.0

applications such as Wiki and Weblogging, real-time communication and

the LanguageQuest format for integrating the World Wide Web into

classroom teaching.

Besides, the course location in the brand-new building of the Faculty

of Education in Utrecht, the Netherlands, allows for demonstration of

good practices of and personal training in the use of Interactive

Whiteboards. Intended participants are practising (student) language

teachers, teacher trainers and materials developers. Persons eligible

for EU Comenius Grants can apply at their National Agency for

compensation of costs for travel, accomodation and course fees.

The deadline for grant applications is March 31.

More information available at:



Ton Koenraad

Posted in blogs, links, wiki, Workshops | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Matopo Primary school project

Posted by Illya on 25 September 2007


As most people involved in ETAS will know, Cindy Hauert has made an extremely generous contribution to improving the lives of a group of children in Zimbabwe. ETAS has supported the project as well, taking over a sponsorship for 2007.

But what happens to the project when the sponsorship is over? It is cetainly still a necesity for the many children living in poverty and should not be neglected.

For this reason the Matopo Primary School blog has been set up and includes advertising. Each time the blog is opened, money will be generated that will then go to this worthwhile project.

Please have a look, leave a comment, provide your support.

and… Thank you ETAS !

Posted in blogs, Private blogs | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Things to do for the summer

Posted by Illya on 3 July 2007

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.

(Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat)

If the weather gets you down and boredom strikes, here are a few things you can do when it’s too wet to play.

IF you want to brush up on your techno-knowledge the following site is an excellent place to start. There are tutorials and videos and a whole bunch of ideas:

Look at the following blog and set up your own class blog. Remember to scroll down and start with lesson 1:

Watch a presentation about Web 2.0 tools, and you can listen too!

Watch one of the videos below in the right column.

Think about taking a course. The next ones begin in September.

Finally, a bit of fun for those who teach kids, make your own comics 🙂

Now I wish all visitors a warm summer. More in a couple of weeks! B-)

Posted in blogs, links, relevant sites, Tools, videos | Leave a Comment »

Slideshow – why blog?

Posted by Illya on 1 June 2007

One question that is often asked in relation to blogging and teaching is – ‘Why blog?’ Although I have answered this quesiton before, I think that the following slideshow gives an illuminating example of the many possibilities and how students may profit.

Erica, Carla and Ronaldo from Brazil presented this slideshow at the webheads conference about their experiences. Now I’ll go round up the podcast that goes along with it and add it as soon as I find it.

(A bit later) Here is the link to the audio file of the presentation. It’s rather long, but these three have a lot of experience to share and I can really recommend listening.

You will also find the chat on this site, which was real time during the presentation. As you can see, it is a warm and open community. All three are also active in the Learning with Computers yahoo group.

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Posted in blogs, links, online conference | 3 Comments »