Countdown to IH BCN ELT Conference 2019 – Roving Reporter

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Congratulations to LTSIG member, Georgios Vlasios Kormpas, on winning the LTSIG Roving Reporter grant for our strand at the International House Barcelona ELT conference. All IATEFL members can attend this great event at reduced rates.  You can enrol here but places are limited to 450 and they always get filled. Remember that there is a 15% discount for our members if you use the code sent out in an email on 11 January!

Over the next week, we will be featuring all five of our speakers and their sessions as we countdown to Barcelona.

Georgios is the Director of the Teaching Learning and Development Center at Al-Yamamah University and is pursuing a PhD in Technology Enhanced Learning at Lancaster University. He is the incoming chair of TESOL’s ANPC and co-author of the 6 Principles book for EAP/ESP. He has been a member of the IATEFL LTSIG for 5 years and is looking forward to his LTSIG Roving Reporter role at the International House Barcelona ELT Conference 2019.  Here he is introducing himself from the university where he works.

Georgios’ statement: 

“As a technology enthusiast, I was very much excited about the roving reporter opportunity in this year’s conference. I believe that this will be a great opportunity to hear from experts in the field. I personally feel thrilled that I will be able to report from the conference and be able to talk to plenaries, speakers and the attendees. It is quite interesting to see the interactions, discussions, and all the networking that is happening in such conferences. It is my first time in that event and this will also be quite an opportunity for me to learn so much about such interesting topics. I have attended many conferences in the past, but not one that was totally related to technology, this will be my first time, especially as a roving reporter. I will make it my mission, to take very good notes, write reports about sessions, and keep everyone that is not privileged to be in beautiful Barcelona through social media. Expect a lot of pictures and some short live coverage segments to serve as teasers for more attendees to come in the next LTSIG events. I would be extremely privileged to receive this grant to be able to cover this event and make more people aware of the benefits we will all receive while there.”

Georgios’ review of this session at IATEFL conference, Glasgow, 2017.

“One of the sessions at the IATEFL Conference last year, was the prestigious Cambridge English Panel. The panel had experts from different fields to talk about Outside in: bringing new technology perspectives in ELT. A key theme that is emerging and quite important in the ELT world. Michael Carrier, gave a brief introduction about the topic and introduced the panelists: Donald Clark, Paul Driver, Yvonne Rogers, and Geoff Stead. Michael finally explained the format of the panel, 7-8 minute presentations, and that the audience would be able to pose questions throughout the talks. The panel kicked off with Donald Clark, a native of Scotland. Donald is an Ed Tech entrepreneur – CEO and founder of Epic Group, Chief Executive of Wildfire that advises tech companies. His expertise is around adaptive network learning. Donald is very artistic and has more than 30 years of experience with mobile learning. Donald started off by making a statement that AI and technology will always be miles away, and we should not try to catch it. I thought that this was quite a fascinating fact to learn. He then went on to say that modern students learnt language via 3 channels: first was Youtube, second was music and third were movies. I thought that this was quite odd as it would make more sense that students learn in a classroom? Not the case as it seems, Donald went on saying that kids nowadays have access to everything, meaning a lot of technology is available to them. AI is everywhere, in very simple things that we use every day and we are accustomed to them but we do not consider them as AI per se. For example Google, Netflix, and ordering a book on Amazon (a personalized interface) are all examples of artificial intelligence. Would you think of these as AI before reading this review? I certainly would not, as I would just consider them either very complex computer systems, or just an ordering program that has nothing to do with AI. It seems I was a little wrong. There are many aspects of AI but not many related to learning, more specifically serious teaching and learning about languages as Donald stressed. But AI is coming closer and closer to our everyday life and language learning through common channels. Chatbots, which are very easy to use, but very difficult to build are already available, like Alexa or Siri. Others include Duolingo, facebook and others. Donald went on showcasing examples of AI. It was used through an app to answer math questions. A math problem solved in seconds, students love it , teachers hate it. Why is that? Teachers can take advantage of it, and show students how to solve math more efficiently, or make their math more difficult so that it is more challenging for them. A challenge in today’s reality is to embed it and put it into perspective. Another good example of AI was a student support program in Georgia tech, that even got a teaching award, as it was fast and supported students better than human student support systems in the past. Student requests did not go through humans so the response rate was much more faster than the average human one. Finally,. assessment can also happen through AI. Donald finished his presentation by saying that resistance to technology is futile, that we need to adapt and that change in education is for the good. A quite inspirational talk that highlighted key examples of AI in real life and its incorporation in the learning process. Donald’s talk was quite impressive and inspirational for the teacher community. He was able to make a good connection of the everyday life of artificial intelligence and how can that transform in the education sector. By providing examples, that were traditionally held by humans up to now, he managed to show that AI is capable of achieving higher goals and can actually help teachers and students in the learning process. I personally got inspired by Donald and I think a lot of people that saw this short presentation were as well, as he managed to make us think of how we can rely on technology and that it is a medium to teaching. We humans still hold the pedagogy of learning, but through technology we can achieve better and faster results and techniques. What does the AI technological future behold? Attend more LTSIG events to find out!”

This is the line-up of the LTSIG strand. We will be featuring all five speakers and their sessions over the next ten days, in the countdown to Barcelona.

Here is the full programme for the conference:

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