Monday, 28 December 2009

21 things that became obsolete this decade

The subject line of this thread comes from the the Business Insider website (11 December 2009), which lists 21 things that have supposedly become obsolete in the last ten years:

It’s an interesting list and it prompted me to think about all the things listed on the above Web page that I no longer use:

1. PDAs that used a stylus: I went back to my trusty Filofax in 2003 when I dropped my Psion Organiser at Gatwick Airport and lost four years of records and appointments. Yes, I did have a backup on my PC but it was not in a format that I could easily convert to other formats. I retrieved most of the important data, however.

2. Email accounts that you have to pay for: I still pay for mine, but it’s part of my deal with my ISP, which includes broadband, website space and email.

3. Dial-up modems: British Telecom finished digging up the pavement outside my house in 2002 to install a broadband line. I threw away my 56kbps modem and bought a broadband modem.

4. Getting film developed: I shot my last reel of 35mm film in 2004 while I was on holiday in Canada and Alaska. Most of the trip was documented on my digital camcorder and the videos are now stored on DVDs.

5. VHS cassette and DVD hire shops: Our local Blockbusters shop is about to close. I can’t remember the last time I visited the shop to hire a VHS cassette or DVD.

6. Maps: I bought a TomTom satnav device in 2006 and I use it to guide me all over Europe. Before that, I used Google Maps and an AA route planner on CD-ROM. I still have a map of Europe in my car; you never know…

7. Newspaper classified ads: They are still around. Our local paper carries hundreds of them every week, but I have hardly ever used classified ads to look for jobs, furniture, a new car, etc.

8. Landlines: I still have a landline at home, which I use for phone calls and for broadband, but I have also been using a mobile phone since 1995.

9. Long-distance telephone charges: I use Skype regularly, but many of our (mainly elderly) relations and friends in Canada and Australia still rely on landlines. Charges have dropped considerably, however. I use Second Life to talk to my wife when I am away from home.

10. Public pay phones: I have not seen anyone using our local public pay phone for years. The last time I remember using a public pay phone was in 1997, when British Airways gave me a free phone card to enable me to change a hotel booking in Vancouver because our flight was cancelled as a result of industrial action by cabin crew.

11. VCRs: I have a dual VCR/DVD player/recorder that enables me to record off-air onto both types of media or to transfer videos from one type of media to the other. I rarely record onto VHS cassettes these days but I have a big VHS library that I’ll never get round to converting to DVD format.

12. Fax machines: I disconnected my fax machine this year. It was hardly ever used over the last two years.

13. Phone books, dictionaries, encyclopedias: I still use all of these but not as frequently. Most of the up-to-date information I need is online.

14. Calling “411”: This is a telephone information service in North America. I can’t remember the equivalent number in the UK, but I never use it anyway.

15. Audio CDs: I can’t remember the last time that I bought an audio CD. I buy most of my music from iTunes. I sometimes create my own CD audio mix to play in my car, but now I play most of my music via an FM transmitter (similar to iTrip, but cheaper) that sends it from my computer to my hifi system. When I am on the move I use an iPod.

16. Backing up your data on floppies or CDs: I stopped doing this around three years ago when I bought a massive external hard drive with software that backs up all my data automatically. I also back up valuable data on the other two computers on my home wifi network and online at my website – belt and braces!

17. Getting bills in the mail: I receive notification of most of my regular household bills by email and I always pay them online.

18. Buttons that you press: This refers to the trend towards touch-screens on hand-held devices. My camcorder uses a touch-screen, which I quite like. I use buttons on my mobile phone, which – annoyingly – have become a bit too small for my clumsy fingers.

19. Losing touch: Social networks help to keep people in touch, but I use them mainly for professional purposes. I keep in touch with most of my relations and friends by email.

20. Boundaries: Reading contributions to Facebook and Twitter, it is clear that boundaries of rudeness and good taste are often overstepped. I try to be a nice person online.

21. Paper: It’s definitely still around in huge quantities. Tons of junk mail drop through our letter box every year. Computers are very good at generating printouts of stuff that you can’t be bothered to read from the screen – or would rather read from a printout.

22. Bonus No. 22 – Record shops: Two big shops in our town that used to sell audio CDs and DVDs closed around 2-3 years ago.

I also checked out the 15 new gadgets that changed everything this decade article at the Business Insider website (10 December 2009). I don't own so many of these, but I do have an iPod, I regularly use flash drives for moving data around, I have a TomTom satnav, and my desktop computer has a flat-screen monitor. I love my Sky+ Box, with its 40 hours of hard disk space for recording TV programmes off-air; it has totally changed my viewing habits.


Saturday, 5 December 2009

Technology v. pedagogy - lest we forget...

There is an interesting discussion going on right now (November-December 2009) in Marisa Constantinides' blog: Don't forget the pedagogy. She opens the discussion by stating:

"Technology is the means, not the end. Technology is wonderful when it is not the end but the means to education, language acquisition, whatever it is that we want to use it for... It should enhance our lessons, not take over because all the members of our PLN seem to be doing nothing else!"

Wise words! As we state on the ICT4LT homepage, our approach is pedagogy-driven, and the emphasis is on language teaching methodologies that can be implemented successfully with the aid of new technologies.

This is not a new debate. The question of technology v. pedagogy has been around for as long as I have been involved in using computers to teach foreign languages, i.e. since 1976, but it needs to be reawakened from time to time to ensure that we don’t lose sight of it. Judging by the number and variety of responses that Marisa has received in her blog, the debate is not going to subside for a long time – which is, of course, a good thing.

Above all, it is important that we never lose sight of established pedagogical and methodological approaches that appear to work, but we should also keep an eye on emerging technologies and consider ways in which they might be applied to language learning and teaching to do things that cannot easily be done with other media. There are many examples of the latter, dating back to Higgins and Johns in the early 1980s, who gave us total Cloze (see Section 8.3 of Module 1.4) and classroom concordancing (see Module 2.4), neither of which would have been possible without the use of computers.

The danger is that some (mainly younger) teachers are dazzled by the technology and do not seriously think about how it might be usefully applied. But most of them soon grow out of their fascination and make their choices more carefully. Perhaps it is time we stopped talking about ICT as if it were something special. It’s no more special to me now than the tape recorder was when I began my career as a language teacher in the mid-1960s. For me, ICT is “normal” (v. the reference to Stephen Bax in Section3.6 of Module 1.4). I use a computer every day for several hours per day, not so much for teaching now as I am theoretically retired, but I would find life without the computer very inconvenient. Last week I paid my telephone, gas and electricity bills online, bought new vehicle tax discs for both my cars, checked the snow reports in anticipation of my skiing holiday, sent photos to friends and relatives in Canada, the USA and Australia, etc. I also toured a few Spanish sims in Second Life in order to improve my knowledge of Spanish.

I am often taken to task for my tendency to look back at the past rather than forward to the future, but there is a good deal that we can learn from the past. I was honoured to be invited to take part in a Virtual Round Table Panel Discussion on 13 November 2009, shared with Ton Koenraad, Vance Stevens and Duane Sider (President, Rosetta Stone). Between us, we have over 100 years of experience of CALL! The theme of the discussion was:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana 1863–1952, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905).

It was an interesting debate. Shortly after the discussion ended I had another look at an article that I was commissioned to write for a Council of Europe of Europe publication (1997): Lessons from the past, lessons for the future: 20 years of CALL. I added a host of comments indicating what is different now. A lot has changed, but many old attitudes remain.

What do you think?


Monday, 23 November 2009

Second Life is on the way out...

Well, so says the BBC. According to this article at the BBC News Magazine website, Second Life is on the way out: What happened to Second Life?

The author of the article, Lauren Hansen writes:

"Not long ago Second Life was everywhere, with businesses opening branches and bands playing gigs in this virtual world. Today you'd be forgiven for asking if it's still going."

Read the feedback section on the above page and it's clear that the News Magazine's readers have mixed views.

There is no mention of education in the article, but some of the contributors in the feedback section do mention the value of SL in teaching and learning. I wrote a comment to the BBC website in the feedback section, indicating how useful SL is in education, especially in language teaching and learning, but it has not been published - not yet anyway (23 November 2009). The BBC article is very biased and highlights the ignorance of the writer, Lauren Hansen, who is obviously interested only in the business aspects of SL and could not be bothered to do further research. Maybe she should take a look at Module 1.5, Section 14.2.1, which is all about language learning and teaching in SL. And I am sure she would be impressed by the EUROCALL/CALICO HQ in SL.

Apart from education, I wonder if Lauren Hansen is aware of the excellent work being done by organisations such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) in SL. The ACS holds regular support meetings for cancer patients, who can give voice to their anxieties in their anonymous avatar guises and seek the support and advice of other cancer patients. I was once invited to talk about my own experiences as a cancer patient to an ACS support meeting in SL at Hope Haven. It was a rewarding and very moving experience.

What do you think?

BTW, this topic is also being discussed in the EUROCALL/CALICO Virtual Worlds Ning, and it has featured in Twitter too.

Graham Davies (Groovy Winkler in SL)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Fall of the Berlin Wall - 20 years on

The Fall of the Berlin Wall - 20 years on

I crossed the border into East Germany on three occasions:

1. In 1963 when I was a student in Hamburg. The West German government organised heavily subsidised trips to Berlin for foreign students. The Wall had been there for just two years. There were memorials all along the Wall to people who had been shot trying to flee to the West. We were allowed to cross into East Berlin on foot via Checkpoint Charlie.

2. In 1976 when I was a lecturer at Ealing College. I spent a month on a course for teachers of German at the then Karl-Marx University in Leipzig. I had a room in a flat with an East German family. It was a very good course and improved my German considerably. I travelled around a bit, visiting Dresden, Naumburg, Jena, Bitterfeld, Halle and Colditz Castle. Life was pretty grim in East Germany at that time.

3. I walked through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin again on Sunday, 12 November. This is quite a story. There had been lots of reports on TV about the demonstrations in the East Germany, and the atmosphere in both East and West was very tense. We all wondered if the Russian tanks were about to move in. But the outcome was not what we expected. As I was driving home from Ealing College on 9 November I heard an announcement on the radio that the Berlin Wall had been opened and that citizens from East Berlin were being allowed to cross into West Berlin. I was gobsmacked, as I was about to head for Berlin the following morning, 10 November, to visit three of my students who were spending part of their year abroad at the Freie Universität in West Berlin, to give a guest lecture at the Humboldt University in East Berlin and to go to a conference on ICT and language learning and teaching in Rostock. This has all been planned weeks ahead, and I had no idea that I would be an eye-witness to the most momentous event I have ever experienced in my life. My full report is here:

What a week!

Now we have a whole generation of kids who have grown up and have never experienced the division of Germany. This excellent video on YouTube reminds us of what the border looked like:

"Eingemauert!" Die innerdeutsche Grenze

If you have the Second Life viewer installed on your computer you can experience the Wall in 3D. The 3D simulation, complete with an accomanying exhibition, can be found here:

Graham Davies

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Language Teaching and Technology Events: November 09

One-day Conference on Technology Enhanced Language Teaching and Learning, SOAS, University of London, 12 Nov 09:

Virtual Round Table Conference on Language Learning with Technology, 12-13 Nov 09:

ICT Show and Tell Day for Teachers of Modern Foreign Languages, 14 Nov 09:

I'll be there, face-to-face or virtually!

Graham Davies

Friday, 23 October 2009

Using presentation software and online communites in the classroom

Two useful videos at the Teachers TV site

Improving your presentations
The Teachers TV website describes the video as follows:
Year One primary teacher Lise Bosher is challenged to improve her presentation skills using ICT. Presenting to pupils is something teachers do on a day to day basis, yet many are still nervous about incorporating ICT into their presentations. Lise meets Joe Dale, a middle school French teacher, who is already using ICT technology to enhance his own presentations. After observing one of his classes, Lise returns to her own classroom to put the presentation technology she has learned into action.

Online Communities in the Classroom
The Teachers TV website describes the video as follows:
Secondary French teacher Marie Guyomarc'h, investigates how to make use of online communities in her classes. Online communities and social networks are often shunned by teachers because of negative publicity and online safety surrounding certain websites. Marie meets with Lisa Stevens, a primary Spanish teacher, who relishes using social media websites for teaching purposes. Lisa explains the benefits of using websites such as Twitter and Voicethread, and demonstrates how you can use them in the classroom. Later, Marie faces her challenge of taking back what she's learned and using it in the classroom.

Graham Davies

Friday, 16 October 2009

EUROCALL 2009: Videos of plenary speakers

Videos of the plenary speakers, their PowerPoint presentations and handouts are now available at the following link:

The conference blog is still active at:

The blog records the impressions of a number of people reporting on the parallel sessions, and it also includes embedded live coverage using a package called CoveritLive. CoveritLive is really useful for reporting on conferences as it enables live reports and feedback to run while the conference sessions are actually taking place - and then each "event" can be replayed at any time. Twitter feeds are also embedded into the blog page. These tools are invaluable for people who are unable to travel in person to a conference but still want to "take part".

Friday, 9 October 2009

Three new EUROCALL Nings

EUROCALL has three new Nings for the following Special Interest Groups:

EUROCALL Computer Mediated Communication SIG:

EUROCALL Teacher Education SIG:


Monday, 28 September 2009

Teaching and learning languages in virtual worlds

A new group has been set up by two leading language teachers’ associations, EUROCALL (Europe) and (CALICO (USA), to promote teaching and learning foreign languages (including English as a foreign language) in virtual worlds: the EUROCALL/CALICO Joint Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group (VW SIG).

It is clear that there is a growing interest in virtual worlds. There have been several presentations on virtual worlds in recent EUROCALL and CALICO conferences. Introductory workshops for newcomers to Second Life have also taken place at the annual conferences of both associations. In November 2007 EUROCALL began setting up a headquarters building on EduNation III Island, and in early 2009 CALICO established a presence on the land immediately next door. The two locations now form a significant joint environment linked by a teleport system. The joint Welcome pavilion is located at:

The SIG has also set up a ning, where its members and other interested parties can communicate, exchange information, announce events and initiate discussions:

Further information is available at the EUROCALL website:

Anyone may join the ning, but to take part in future events (e.g. workshops, seminars) organised by the SIG you need to be a member of EUROCALL or CALICO.

Graham Davies

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

EUROCALL 2009 - after the conference

EUROCALL 2009 in Spain was fantastic: perfect location, great food, super social events and excellent presentations. I ran a workshop on Second Life for newbies, assisted by my wife Sally, who acted as a fashion consultant to the ladies. We had 14 people in a state-of-the art lab equipped with computers with excellent graphics cards and big high-resolution display screens. The workshop ran without a hitch for three hours and then I gave a plenary presentation on a big screen to 50 local teachers, with a contribution from Randall Sadler speaking to us from the USA.

Randall Sadler (representing CALICO) and I (representing EUROCALL) have set up a joint Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group (VW SIG) for CALICO and EUROCALL members. 20 people were present at the launch meeting at EUROCALL 2009. I presented the EUROCALL HQ to the meeting and Randall was there "virtually" to give us a tour of the CALICO facilities next door, including his fabulous new castle holodeck. Further information on the new SIG will be announced at the EUROCALL website:

I also played a role running the Virtual Strand. We set up a blog (using Blogger) with embedded CoveritLive events managed by Penny Coutas. Penny was able to feed Twitter tweets and PowerPoint slides into CoveritLive, as well as typing a running commentary on selected presentations. You can replay the CoveritLive events via the blog at:
and our Twitter feeds are still live at @EuroCALLVirtual:

The plenaries were videorecorded and will be made available via a Web page (to be announced later). I particularly enjoyed the presentations by Steven Thorne and Gavin Dudeney, both of which focused on using games in language learning and teaching.

CoveritLive is really handy. We will certainly consider using it again for future conferences:

Graham Davies

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

EUROCALL 2009 Virtual Strand

Just a reminder that you can join the EUROCALL 2009 Virtual Strand online if you are unable to attend the conference in Spain. We have set up a Twitter account, and we will also be using CoveritLive alongside this blog:

You need to have your personal Twitter account and then contact @EuroCALLVirtual via Twitter in order to seek permission to view our updates. Your Twitter feeds will also be viewable in a window in the blog (see above).

CoveritLive is new for us. It's a live blogging facility, so you can interact with conference presenters and participants in real time. The CoveritLive window in the blog (see above) will become active on 5 September. Incoming comments will be moderated.

Finally, I shall be dropping into the EUROCALL/CALICO HQ in Second Life from time to time. The joint HQ has really moved on in the last few weeks, thanks to the great work that has been done by Randall Sadler (CALICO). The Resources centre contains a growing collection of useful tools, objects and landmarks, and Randall has created some fantastic new holodecks. The combined HQ is linked via an internal teleport system that we have set up. At EUROCALL 2009 we will be formally endorsing the decision to set up a joint EUROCALL/CALICO Virtual Worlds SIG at our first SIG meeting, where we welcome suggestions for future developments. Here is the SLURL of the EUROCALL/CALICO Welcome pavilion:

If you are a Second Life newbie then you may be interested in the introductory half-day workshop that I shall be running at EUROCALL 2009:

The AVALON team will be running a half-day workshop on their project, which will be useful as a follow-up to my workshop or for people who are already familiar with Second Life:

Further information about the Virtual Strand can be found here:

Graham Davies

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Web2practice videos on Web 2.0 tools

I have recentl added a lot of new links to the ICT4LT Section on Web 2.0, Module 1.5, Section 2.1, headed What is Web 2.0?

This section now includes many more links to a range of social media tools and also to JISC's Web2practice videos on Blip TV:

- Social Media:

- Microblogging:

- Podcasting:

- RSS:

- Collaborative Writing:

and more to come...

Graham Davies

Students are not big users of Web 2.0 technologies

I've just read this article by Gregor Kennedy et al., which suggests that the new generation of students is less interested in Web 2.0 technologies than teachers imagine them to be. It reports on a research study conducted among a large number of students in Australia, which concludes:

- There is greater diversity in frequency of use of technology than many commentators have suggested.

- The use of collaborative and self-publishing Web 2.0 technologies that have often been associated with this generation is quite low.

"The net generation are not big users of Web 2.0 technologies: Preliminary findings", ASCILITE 2007 Conference, Singapore:

Interesting - comments?

Graham Davies

Sunday, 12 July 2009

We have been nominated in the Top 100 Language Blogs list

The ICT4LT blog has been nominated in the Top 100 Language blogs list in the category Language Technology. You can vote for us by clicking the link below:

Graham Davies

Friday, 10 July 2009

The VLE is dead. Long live the PLE!

There has been a good deal of discussion in various blogs that I read about the death of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Many educators are now arguing that the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) points to the future of e-learning. The Wikipedia article gives a good idea of what a PLE is all about:

I can see a PLE working for older learners (and that obviously includes me) - and in effect I have already set up my own PLE using a variety of Web 2.0 tools - but will it be suitable for children of school age? Will this be a feature, for example, of the new Open School for Languages (OSfL)? The contract for the development of the OSfL has been awarded to Lightbox Education: see the Press Release.

Graham Davies

Friday, 3 July 2009

Report on Love Language Conference, 1 July 09

I spent a very fruitful day, 1 July 2009, at the Love Language Conference, Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, organised by Careers Europe. The main theme of the conference focused on ways of encouraging students, especially boys, to continue learning a foreign language or to take up a new language. There were two keynotes by Barry Jones and Simon Green and four workshops conducted by Tom Barwood, Ruth Linden, Bev Whiteside and myself.

Barry Jones gave examples of ways of motivating boys to learn foreign languages, based on research that has revealed approaches that really work (v. Barry Jones's CILT publication "Boys’ Performance in Modern Foreign Languages"). Simon Green gave an entertaining presentation of effective strategies for engaging language learners at KS3/KS4.

The focus of Tom Barwood’s workshop, entitled “Foreign languages – not me mate!”, was also on motivating boys, while Ruth Linden talked about languages in the world of work and Bev Whiteside talked about teaching languages in the context of sports.

My workshop focused on ICT as means of engaging language learners, especially through games and Web 2.0 applications. I was also able to demonstrate Second Life and play a short video on a school that is using Second Life with children aged 13-plus – though not yet in teaching foreign languages.

I have uploaded my PowerPoint presentation to the Web. It might be useful, but it probably needs my accompanying commentary in order to make sense – and I did not have facilities available to record it. There are, however, lots of clickable links in the presentation that will lead you to some useful websites:

All in all, this was an inspiring day, even though we sweltered in the heat. The conference was attended by around 35 teachers, mainly from the North of England.

Careers Europe is based in Bradford and acts as a National Resource Centre for International Careers Information:

Graham Davies

Friday, 26 June 2009

Nominations for Top 100 Language Blogs 2009

Nominate your favourite language blog at the Lexiophiles website. Click here:

Nominations for Top 100 Language Blogs 2009

There are some really excellent blogs relating to language teaching and learning, translating or just musing about languages. The list of nominations that is appearing at the Lexiophiles website looks amazing.

Have a look too at Section 12.2 of Module 1.5, where you will find a list of teachers' blogs that I read regularly.

Graham Davies

Thursday, 25 June 2009

EUROCALL / CALICO Headquarters in Second Life

New developments at the EUROCALL/CALICO HQs in Second Life

As announced a few weeks ago, EUROCALL and CALICO have joined forces in Second Life on EduNation III Island. We have just created a Welcome area, from which you can teleport to the main locations in the two headquarters of our associations, as well as a joint Resources Centre that we are stocking with free resources for teaching and learning. Here is the SLURL of the Welcome area:

I have just finished creating a snapshot wall (with landmarks) in the Resources Centre displaying views of interesting locations covering a variety of languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Italian. There are a few fun links too: Winter Wonderland, Fibber Magee’s Pub in SL Dublin and the Knightsbridge Underground Club where you can dance the night away.

Ralph Sadler has put together some amazing scenes that can be accessed via the base holodeck on the CALICO site, and there is a new Skydeck that can rez really large holodeck scenes. The Resources Centre, the Skydeck and the holodeck on the roof of the EUROCALL HQ are all accessible via the joint teleport system that we have installed.

It appears to be hard to convince teachers that language learning in Second Life is effective until they have tried it. I am currently learning Spanish in anticipation of EUROCALL 2009. I had an introductory lesson in the Ciudad Bonita sim, which is mini-city set up specifically for learners of Spanish. There are a number of activities that are suitable for self-access, but the main purpose of the city is to provide an environment in which teachers can conduct their classes - which have to be paid for. Access to Ciudad Bonita is restricted to registered students of Spanish. My own approach to learning, however, tends to be exploratory. I visit Spanish-speaking sims in which the signs and messages are all in Spanish and where I can meet native Spanish speakers. I have reached the point where I can understand most of what they say, but when I get stuck I switch on my X-Lang translator (for text chat) and then I can match up the English and Spanish. X-Lang is only as efficient as Babel Fish (i.e. it makes lots of mistakes), but it's surprisingly effective at helping you through a dialogue. I have even had a text chat with Mandarin Chinese speakers in Ling’s Chinese City.

There are several sims in SL that are set up for language learning and teaching. Language Lab is the biggest and mainly geared towards EFL teaching to students aged 18-plus, but I have found many others. For example, the Goethe-Institut maintains a sim where you can learn German, and you can learn Japanese in Little Yoshiwara. The Open University has a teaching area too, but they are not using it yet for teaching languages.

We will be holding a Virtual Worlds SIG meeting at EUROCALL 2009 to discuss the way forward, and I will be running a pre-conference workshop for newcomers to Second Life:

See you in Gandía!

Graham Davies, 25 June 2009

Sunday, 10 May 2009

SLanguages 2009 Conference in Second Life

Well, the SLanguages 2009 conference in Second Life is over. Phew! This was undoubtedly the best online conference that I have ever attended. I learned an enormous amount about teaching foreign languages in virtual worlds, and I even took part in a lesson for beginners in Spanish.

The conference ran for 24 hours from Friday 8 May to Saturday 9 May, with many of the 39 presentations being repeated so that people in different time zones could attend them without having to stay up all night. A total of 359 participants took part in the conference, with a peak of 91 in attendance concurrently on Friday evening.

If you missed it you can catch up here in Gavin Dudeney's blog:

Graham Davies

Friday, 1 May 2009

"IWBs are useless. Discuss." (Quoting Scott Thornbury)

I picked up the title to this thread in Twitter. It comes from Scott Thornbury's contribution to the IATEFL 2009 blog:

What do you think? I referred Scott to my mini-survey that I conducted in the autumn of 2008. Many teachers waxed lyrical about their IWBs:

See also ICT4LT, Section 4, Module 1.4.

Scott, BTW, was interviewed by Nik Peachey in Second Life last week and managed to upset a few people about his apparently negative views on technology. But I didn't find his views particularly controversial. Like Scott, I have never regarded technology as the panacea, and I have expressed similar views in my article "Lessons from the past, lessons for the future":

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

New Joint Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group for Teachers of Foreign Languages

New Joint Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group for Teachers of Foreign Languages

Following discussions between Graham Davies (EUROCALL), Thom Thibeault (CALICO) and Randall Sadler (CALICO) it has been decided to create a joint CALICO/EUROCALL Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group for teachers of modern foreign languages and English as a foreign language.

CALICO has already set up a Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group (VW SIG):

EUROCALL already has a headquarters building in Second Life, on the EduNation III island at:

If you have not visited the EUROCALL HQ recently, drop in sometime. I have made several improvements, including a more efficient video projection screen, and I have begun installing teleporters to enable easier movement around the site. There is also a holodeck on the roof. What's a holodeck? The term derives from Star Trek. Think of it as virtual reality within a virtual world. A holodeck offers exciting possibilities of calling up a range of instantly available simulations that can be used for entertainment, presentations, conferencing and, of course, teaching and learning.

CALICO has now acquired the land immediately next door to the EUROCALL HQ and will shortly be building its headquarters there. This the two HQs will form a a significant joint environment in Second Life for teachers and learners of foreign languages, where meetings and classes can take place and where resources can be distributed.

We welcome suggestions about what people think would be useful to have at the site. We plan to hold our first joint SIG meeting at the EUROCALL 2009 conference in Spain in September – details to be announced at the EUROCALL website:

The contact persons for the joint VW SIG are:

Graham Davies (EUROCALL):
Thom Thibeault (CALICO):
Randall Sadler (CALICO):

If you are new to Second Life there is a wealth of information in the rapidly expanding Section 14.2.1 of Module 1.5 at the ICT4LT site (which I edit):

A pre-conference workshop for newcomers to Second Life will take place at EUROCALL 2009:

Graham Davies

Saturday, 28 February 2009

New projects on language learning in Second Life

I am updating Section 14.2.1, Module 1.5 almost daily. Three new additions:

AVALON (Access to Virtual and Action Learning live ONline) is a two-year EU-funded project running from January 2009 to December 2010, aiming to explore 3D worlds for language learning:

CALICO 2009 Workshop on Virtual Worlds and Language Teaching:

NIFLAR (Networked Interaction in Foreign Language Acquisition and Research): An EU-funded project, which began in January 2009:

Keep checking out Section 14.2.1, Module 1.5 at


Sunday, 22 February 2009

What do you think about Twitter?

I was luke-warm about Twitter when I joined it some months ago, but I now realise it was my own fault for failing to seek out friends, old and new, who use Twitter. I have therefore made an effort over the last few days to find out who uses it. I found over 20 friends in a couple of hours, and I picked up some useful Web links and other information from them.

You can find me on Twitter as GroovyWinkler.