I tend to write my conference reflections as soon as possible after the conference for obvious reasons. (Obvious = getting old and forgetting stuff quickly) I promised myself that this conference I would self-indulge, go only to the workshops that light my fire. Since the time I had to actually attend workshops was minimal (I was doing other things for the conference), I wanted to make that time count.
I was able to attend the presentation given by Tareq Hadhad, owner of “Peace by Chocolate” at the Toronto Reference Library this past summer. My Specialized Language Training course was just wrapping up; within the course, learners explored local entrepreneurs and local small business stories. Peace by Chocolate showed up as a news story sometime in May, and immediately I could see the relevance for my group of adult newcomers. I created a skill-building activity related to the news article, Daily bite: Peace by Chocolate names new bar after Mi’kmaq word For peaceand the class responded with a great deal of enthusiasm, hope, and energy. The reason they did so was because they connected emotionally to the story. Peace by Chocolate is more than a success story for newcomers to Canada. It’s a chronicle that exemplifies what it means to never give up, to pursue your passion, to develop strong community relationships, and to do what’s right. Continue reading →
In June, I attended the ISTE2017 conference in San Antonio, Texas. ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) is a non-profit organization serving over 100,000 educational stakeholders. ISTE is at the forefront of educational technology, driving change and offering professional development throughout the year.
I’ve been using, and embracing, technology in the ESL classroom for a few years now. Working with Level 2 learners in a course partnered with a workplace experience, it was a natural fit. I had a SMART Board from day 1, access to a computer lab, and training and support provided by LearnIT2Teach to set up a Learning Management System using a Moodle platform. I also had free and dependable Wi-Fi in the classroom. I have to admit, I had been getting spoiled.
Some of my colleagues had joked with me about what I would do if I were to be stripped of the technology that I used every day, or if my location were to change, say, to a church basement or similar. Then one day last November, it happened. New location. No SMART Board. No Wi-Fi. Continue reading →