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The Future of Learning in a Networked World moves

from BrazTESOL10 in Sao Paulo to Brasilia


Casa Thomas Jefferson 8th TEFL Seminar

July 22-23, 2010


Title of presentation
Thinking SMALL: Helping teachers model 21st century skills to students

(Loosely based on slide show from April 10, 2010, UAE: 

The presenters have come together in this face-to-face presentation as a culmination of a decade of interaction through the online community of practice Webheads in Action.  They discuss how practices learned through this association have impacted their professional lives.


  • Michael at TAFE in Australia has been running a Learning Technology Mentor program with one of the goals being to create a CoP or network of elearning mentors
  • Vance in UAE has been working to realize an online community for EFL instructors in the UAE and its integration with professional or personal learning networks (PLN) to put in place a social network structure that will address the need for ongoing PD driven according to the perceived interests of practitioners involved in language education and other areas of learning in the UAE.
  • Barbara has been keynoting, organizing and facilitating workshops /collaborative projects online worldwide, connecting to international and national networks and communities, learning from and weaving  different levels of expertise and practice.

The session will suggest means by which practitioners can share knowledge and skills and contribute to each other's PD by practicing within similarly motivated networks and communities worldwide.

NB: SMALL stands for Social Media assisted Language Learning

Vance Stevens
Vance Stevens has had a 35 year career as ESL teacher, CALL, social media, and EdTech specialist. He is coordinator of Webheads in Action and teaches computing at Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. He is on the editorial boards of three major journals and publishes frequently on pedagogy and technology. His current projects and presentations focus on helping teachers become multiliterate with technology.

Michael Coghlan
Michael Coghlan works as an eLearning Facilitator for the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) sector in South Australia. He was a pioneer of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) on the Internet in Australia when he started teaching online in 1998. He was also a founding member of the Webheads online community and has been described as "one of the few educators in Australia who has a realistic view of what is possible with technology and education.

Barbara Dieu
Barbara (Bee) Dieu teaches at the Franco-Brazilian secondary school in São Paulo, where she has been preparing students for the French Baccalaureat since 1983. She has been in ELT and education since 1974 (in the classroom) and since 1997 increasingly online. She has published /presented nationally and internationally on digital media literacy and openness in education.

The event: We flew from Sao Paulo on the 8:20 a.m. flight and arrived in Brasilia about 10:00 where we were picked up by Carla Arena and Erika Cruvinel and shown a bit of the town and escorted to a very nice restaurant with a huge spread, all prices per kilo, so eat as you like, or overeat as you like, as seems normal in Brazil.  We were taken to the CTJ where we were set up in a small classroom with Internet and whiteboard and chairs around the walls for 15-20 participants.


Bee and Michael and I hadn't worked out exactly what we were going to do.  We all have heaps to contribute so we decided to ask the participants why they were there and what they expected from the session.  We took notes on the whiteboard as the teachers present explained that they wanted to break away from PowerPoint and learn engage students with technology.  One said that the students had tech skills and the teachers needed to acquire them too, and another said she was hoping we would model good practices with technology, which is exactly what we set out to do.


Bee explained how she went online and started her professional development by surfing on the web and exploring the different tools and platforms autonomously, how she met people from different communities of practice, how she practiced giving online sessions and collaborated with other colleagues in sessions like the Electronic Village Online. She also mentioned how the Webheads  met at http://tappedin.org each Sunday noon GMT and that we were in Webheads which you can reach from http://webheads.info (and then join the YahooGroup).  We showed the sites http://evosession.pbwiki.org and http://k12onlineconference.org/ as two places where teachers can go for continuing professional development online.  I suggested http://russellstannard.com/ for an outstanding collection of free multimedia and teacher training videos.


Bee talked about Creative Commons, http://creativecommons.org, and Open Educational Resources, http://oerconsortium.org/http://wikieducator.org . We showed some sources of CC images, such as the Creative Commons photo filter made by Peter Shanks in Australia.  I showed how to filter for licenses in Google advanced image search, http://images.google.com, which is also listed in 30+ Places To Find Creative Commons Media
 at http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2009/04/30/30-creative-commons-sources/ 


Michael talked about interesting things you can do with Flickr.  He showed how to add tags and then click on one of the tags to see what else was there in those tags; and then add tags related to feelings and search those.  He suggested having students name photos and write descriptions, and then comment on each other's photos.


After the event


After the event a wonderful thing happened.  Everyone went to the closing keynote given by David Nunan.  David once invited me to be a part of a symposiums at the 2004 TESOL conference in Long Beach http://prosites-vstevens.homestead.com/files/efi/papers/tesol/colloquium2004/fun00.htm,, and in return I got him to give a keynote for free online at the first bi-annual Webheads in Action Online Convergence 2005, so we are acquainted.  David was talking in his keynote about mentors and coaches, and he paused occasionally to ask the audience to discuss these concepts.  At one point he asked if anyone had had a good or a bad experience with a mentor and did anyone in the audience want to say anything about it.  The audience was silent a moment but Erika raised her hand and David brought her the mic.  Then said that she had had a great experience with Vance Stevens as 'our' mentor (referring to webheads in Brazil, whom I had come to visit).  She went on to enumerate some good qualities of a mentor and explained briefly how I exhibited them.  David had to reach across me to take the mic from Erika, who was sitting just one seat on the other side of Bobbi.  He said to the audience as he carried on with his talk that as long as he had known me he'd never seen me blush like that :-)


I am making this trip to meet webheads in Argentina and Brazil entirely at my own expense (apart from the hospitality of the webheads hosting us, and 5 nights in a hotel in Sao Paolo as a guest of BrazTESOL EduTech SIG) all without any reimbursement or compensation.  I feel however that what Erika said spontaneously to so many people, in my presence, repaid me for making the effort much more than any money could have.


Twitter feedback


Here is the #ctjtefl Twitter stream during the time that we were there:



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