I just returned from the Japanese Association of Language Teachers Conference. JALT is the TESOL affiliate in Japan. Though on line learning and blogs are not new–John and Marian saw the potential years ago when they started this Peace Corps Blog–I saw some developments that I found exciting that I want to share with you.

1. Duane Kindt has been doing classroom research for many years. He analyzes transcripts from his classes which as you know is quite unusual but is one of the best ways to understand teaching and improve learning. But the focus of his presentation was on Point of View camcorders. The drivers put a video camera on their forehead so that when we view the race we can see the track from the driver’s perspective. Duane had some of his students put POT camcorders on their foreheads. He and they could then see what they were looking at at various points in the lesson. The audio on these devices is apparently very, very good so students and teachers can hear what is said as well as wee what they are looking at. Check out some of duane’s work on the internet–most engating.

2. One John Eyles discussed on line language learning via the internet. Nothing new. Many language schools provide some on line lessons to supplement regular live classes. And some companies have contracts to provide classes via the internet.  But John’s vision is much, much broader. There are many countries with hundreds of thousands of learners who need to develop their English skills. The countries do not have enough money to build new schools and pay hundreds of teachers. So they are beginning to turn to people like John who has suggestions for reaching thousands in villages that are very isolated and very poor. Check out John on the internet. Very, very large vision he has.

3. One of the companies that provides on line lessons that has been around a few  years and so has a track record is DYNED started by Lance Knowles. He has developed a way to track the progress of students and thus for students to see their growth in language use. It is worth checking out Lance and his company.

4. During the conference, a start up company called iTDi organized an event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of my book, Breaking Rules. Half a dozen of those who teach on line courses for teacher preparation did Pecha Kucha presentations on the theme of Breaking Rules. In addition to celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication, the event was organized to inform people that in November I will be teaching an on line live course called Breaking Rules on line. I will be doing a webinar and a blog session with iTDi staff before the course starts. When you check the iTDi website you will see a wide range of courses that are available and many blogs with others who believe that teachers working together produces more powerful learning than so called experts telling others what to do. The people I cited who are doing on line language learning also are into the community based language learning idea.

I hope to hear some of your voices live during my webinar or the live blog I will be doing with iTDi staff and in my course as well.

Enjoy, enjoy.

John