ETAS learning technologies

ETAS learning technologies blog

Digital storytelling

Posted by Illya on 29 April 2013

As mentioned in the most recent ETAS journal, Jenny and I will be reaching across borders in order to bring you together in creating digital stories.
This is something that can be done with any age group and the topics are limited only to your creativity.
Unfortunately, we have had to delay the workshop until June.
You will find more information about the workshop here shortly ( in the first full week of May).

Please feel free to leave a comment, and if you are interested in joining the workshop, you can write about your learners. This will give us a first impression of who will be working with us and the aims you might have.

See you soon!


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Posted by Anel on 3 March 2013

Hello everyone,

As Illya told you in her last post, I’m joining this blog.

My name is Anel, I teach French and English as foreign languages in a private school in Lausanne.

In terms of professional development, two important things happened to me in 2012. First, I embraced my workshop addiction and started going to as many teacher training events as I could. Second, I did a CELTA course in IH London and started a Delta preparation course shortly afterwards.

As a result, my head is almost always spinning with questions and ideas about learning and teaching. I’m happy that Illya gave me a chance to share some of them!

Things that I will most probably blog about:

  • past and upcoming workshops;
  • ideas for classroom experiments;
  • ELT community buzz in general – names, videos, websites, etc.

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AGM come and gone

Posted by Illya on 1 February 2013

Hi everyone

For those of you who made it to Sierre, I hope you found it as enjoyable as I did. One of the highlights was to hear Adrian Underhill describe the difference between a mess and a difficulty.Both are part of life, but difficulties are less complex and a solution can be found, whereas messes are too complex to unravel. It’s how you approach the two that can influence the effect they may have on you and your suroundings.

This made me realize that the blog has been a bit of a difficulty, but one with an easy solution. I made a call for a helper, and lo and behold, I found one. Please greet and encourage Anel to this blog and as my assistant learning technologies coordinator. It would be lovely to see some encouraging comments on her first post (coming up shortly!) to the etasblog.

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New Year Offerings

Posted by Illya on 12 January 2013

Happy New Year! It’s beginning with two great opportunities to learn and grow as a teacher.
ETAS AGM in Sierre – 26th-27th January
Yes, as you all know, it’s arriving quickly! If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still register on-site. Be aware that this is with a 20.- surcharge.
Hotels are in short supply, but you might want to try in Sion, which is just 10 minutes away by train.
There is a great selection of workshops to choose from, and here are three that touch on learning technologies:
C1- Carol Waites:   Beyond the grammar book and dictionary: resources for teaching advanced writing skills.
C4- Martyn Clarke:   How to make sure homework makes sense
D7- John Hughes:   Twenty-first century business writing skills

If you’ve misplaced your program, you can find it on the ETAS website:
I hope to see many of you in Sierre!

EVO free on-line sessions beginning 14th January

Starting soon is the annual EVO (Electronic Village Online) sessions which are free of cost.
Every year a dedicated group of educators from all over the world join together to share their knowledge with others.
The session topics as do the moderators leading the sessions, and as their interests and knowledge expand.
The sessions last 5 weeks between mid-January and mid-February and I can speak from experience both as a moderator and a participant.
Some deal directly with digital media, while others are platforms for topics such as drama and mentoring.

You can find the full program and how to sign up here:

Topics this year are:

  • The Wonderful World of Drama
  • Digital Storytelling for Young Learners
  • Designed for Business
  • Neuroscience in Education: Braining up your English lessons
  • Multiliteracies for Social Networking and Collaborative Learning Environments
  • MachinEVO: Video Productions of Language Learning Conversations (in Second Life)
  • Mentoring
  • MOODLE for Teachers
  • Podcasting for the ESL-EFL classroom
  • Becoming a Webhead (term for this group of educators who are dedicated to growing and sharing with others their knowledge on-line)

Who knows, maybe we’ll see each other their!

Becoming an assistant SIG coordinator

Finally, I’m looking for someone who would like to join me in coordinating this SIG group. As I have taken on new responsibilities in my job, I am finding it more difficult to keep everyone up to date and keep up the etasblog as well.
If you have some experience in learning technologies, and would be interested in becoming more involved behind the scenes of the ETAS, please let me know. I’ll gladly give you more information about what is involved and we can negotiate how to share the task.

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SIG Day 2012

Posted by Illya on 20 August 2012

A day for your professional development is just around the corner. The famous SIG day, or Special Interest Groups Day has workshops for all the different special interest groups on September 8 in Zug.

If you are interested but don’t have the program, then you can find it on the ETAS website , but please note, online registration closes soon (August 24).

If you are looking for a workhop topic that isn’t on the list, or would like to see a particular speaker, then feel free to write a comment and le tme know. If it’s not in my area of expertise, I will certainly pass it on.

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Send a girl to secondary school

Posted by Illya on 9 May 2012

Secondary school in Zimbabwe is not obligatory. As the few secondary schools in the region are often located
too far from the children’s home villages, students need to pay for room and board, a costly sacrifice for most
parents and caretakers. Thus the majority of teenage girls, stop their formal schooling after primary school, as this privilege is
cutomarily reserved for male children. Therefore, an extension to the ETAS Matopo project was launched at the ETAS AGM in Lucerne in January 2011, and a fund was created to enable female primary school graduates to continue their education.

Three years of secondary school costs about CHF600.00 per year, or CHF1,800.00 in total, which covers school fees, room
and board and school materials.


Now we are trying to raise enough money this month to send at least one girl to secondary school. This will be done together with the on-line course on blogging described in the previous post. If you want to help, contact me at

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On-line course – educational blogging

Posted by Illya on 4 May 2012

These on-line courses are beginning to become a regular part of the ETAS program, albeit with a certian irregularity.

This time it will be not just Jenny from Argentina, but Barbara in Japan (JELT) bringing her group of teachers in on the fun during the entire month of June (4 weeks)

In addition, we will be focussing on the young learners (widely defined!). This means that we will have a chance for some real collaboration and I’m sure there will be eye-opening experiences for all.

This time, however, we in Switzerland are not just blogging for ourselves and our classes, there is now an added dimension.

The ETAS has been supporting the Matopo School Project for some time now as you can see on the Matopo blog. It’s been a success and is now supported by the Roger Federer Foundation– Now how cool is that!!!

And so the project has been expanded to help the weekest chain in the link- the girls. Although they may be sent to primary school, generally their school career is finished at the end of this time. Girls- education a girl and you educate a family. Now the aims of the project have increased. It is now to send 10 girls to secondary school for 3 years. It takes 600 US$ per girl per year.

All proceeds from this on-line course will go to the project- Send a girl to secondary school.

How long can we send one girl to school on this course? It is totally up to the participants as all fees (excluding ETAS membership) will go straight to this project.

I will keep you up to date as to how much money has been collected.

Take a course, learn something new, give a girl an education!

I leave you with a moving video from Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee — of her own life’s transformation, and of the untapped potential of girls around the world. Can we transform the world by unlocking the greatness of girls?

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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.

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An update on the webinar scene and further professional development

Posted by Illya on 5 January 2012

I’ve just been contacted by Pearson ELT with another place for webinars, and so I’m passing on this information. Just in case you’ve forgotten, in a previous postI wrote about webinars and where you can find them.

To access Pearson ELT webinars, Teachers simply need to register on the global website Great Teachers‘ Primary Place, Great Teachers‘ Teen Space, Great Teachers’ Tertiary Place and Great Teachers‘ Exam Place (colourful boxes on the right):

These webinars are free of charge, some of them are also recorded so you can watch them anytime, and usually the participants also receive a certificate of attendance for live webinars a couple of weeks later. (I know that at least some teachers have already used these certificates when applying for jobs). They can interact with well-known teacher trainers and authors, as well as with the other participants from all around the world.

And don’t forget 2 important events to start the New Year!

The 5 week EVO sessions from the 9th January until the 12th February (signing up now) and the ETAS AGM in Yverdon- a wonderful opportunity to network, get up-to-date input for your teaching and professional develoment, to see old friends and make new ones!

I hope to see you soon, be it on-line or face to face!!

Have a great start to 2012!!

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Happy learning in the new year!!

Posted by Illya on 23 December 2011

The year 2011 is slowly coming to a close and the holidays will soon begin.  I hope this year was a good one for all of you readers.

And for the new year, I’d like to give you a head start!

Hopefully all of you ETAS members have already added a very important weekend to your diaries: the 28-29 January when the AGM weekend takes place in Yverdon.

If you haven’t registered yet, then head on over to and do so before 30th December.

You will find the complete program here, and you can register here. It looks like a great weekend ahead of us!!

But wait, there’s more!

The Electronic Village On-line (EVO) sessions will be from the 9th January until the 12the February- 5 great weeks of on-line (and free!) learning.

If you’ve never heard of EVO, then you should look into it. Basically, it’s a group of very dedicated teachers and trainers working for nothing to bring people across the glode together in learning. Here’s the blurb:

For five weeks in January-February, participants and ESOL experts can engage in collaborative, online discussion or hands-on virtual workshops of professional and scholarly benefit. These sessions will bring together participants for a longer period of time than is permitted by the land-based convention and will allow a fuller development of ideas than is otherwise possible.

There’s a wide variety of sessions to choose from, not all specifically to do with technology (such as Drama, a longstanding session!)

I speak from experience when I say that it can make a big difference to the way you look at teaching and learning. I certainly have learned at least as much at any EVO session as any face to face course I’ve ever attended.




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