Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Slack - making communication easy

I came across Slack last year while working on my MA in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching and decided to give it a try with my peers on the course. Well, I signed up, created an account and then invited my classmates. It was easy and very quickly we started using it to keep up with our own lives, tasks and assignments for the course and above all to share resources, materials and encouragement before and through our dissertation writing months.

We quickly took to it and although we were using lots of the basic features, it really helped us get through it without losing touch. I've now started exploring the extra resources they offer e.g. video tutorials here and extra resources here as I've created a private group inside it for my school and we will be using it from next month to enhance communication between staff. I'm sure it will be as useful as it's been so far as it can be used on a web browser and mobiles devices both Android and IOs. I've got an iMac at home, an iPad and a desktop and Samsung laptop at school and Slack works wonderfully across all of them. 

You can create a free account which has worked wonders for me as an individual and want to see how it will work for me at school with a small number of colleagues. I'm sure it will be fine.  In any case, you can also get a paid for subscription and unleash its potential, which I think it's definitely worth it!  For the time being, as an individual teacher, I'm sticking to the free account but would highly recommend it based on my experience of it so far!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

MA in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching? Done!

It's been just over a year since I last posted here and so I thought it was about time I came back.  As per my entries on the MA course tabs I created to track and help me reflect on my second MA studies, I finished the content modules in Dec 2015. This year has been dedicated to the dissertation and I'm now back posting here as I managed to finish it 2.5 month early.  No, I'm not a nerd - ok, maybe, a little! This is mainly because of my work load during the summer where I regularly act as Main Course Tutor on our full time CELTA courses and so I couldn't see myself writing am MA dissertation and working 10 hours a day on top of that, so I got very well organised from the beginning of the school year and managed to completed it in record time. It's now time to wait for the results and once they come out organising the trip to Nottingham for the graduation ceremony in Novemeber - I think.

Anyways, I wanted to bring everybody up to speed here and so I also wanted to share my dissertation topic.  Fro my previous MA in TESOL I researched a topic which is still very controversial: Pre-Teaching Vocabulary in Receptive Skills Lessons. Results showed that there is indeed a place for PTV but under specific circumstances.  Anyways, the topic for my second MA was: The Role of Social Media in the Continuing Professional Development of English Language Teacher Trainers and the results were very interesting.  As part of the program we were asked recently to prepare a quick presentation on the what, the why and the how of our dissertations and so I thought I'd share it here. I hope it helps you see it from my perspective.

What's next? Well, I'm doing soem research into another MA or as suggested by my tutors on both MAs, a PhD. I've attended a couple of PhD webinars and also looked for what's out there so I'm carefully considering the options. In order to keep me busy in the meantime though I'm doing a Level 5 CMI Management and Leadership course online with FutureLearn which I'm enjoying a lot as I'd like my future studies or research to go in that direction. We'll see what happens next!