Hey look, mom, another review!
(Don’t worry, rant fans, there is a bit of that as well)
Wow. It has already been more three weeks since I last blogged. I figured nobody wants to read a month-old review of a conference (but three weeks is completely fine) so I decided today was the day to finally blog this review.
I believe this was my
8th 7th KOTESOL International Conference. It was also my most enjoyable. By far.
Thinking back, I feel there a few possible reasons for this:
- I hung out with a larger and more fun group of people. (No offense to people I hung out with at previous conferences!)
- I met some great people face to face for the first time (Mostly people that I had already met on Twitter.)
- Tweets from the conference were informative and extremely funny at times.
- I had some background or previous knowledge on presentations/presenters that I saw. I also sometimes made choices based on friendships with or curiosity about the presenters rather than the topics themselves and I think this ended up being a good decision.
- I mostly followed my own advice.
- I didn’t force myself to wake up super early.
- Plenty of coffee!
- I (mostly…finally) knew the layout of the venue and didn’t waste (much) time getting around.
- The #alexwalshs40 hashtag was hilarious. (This is related to points 1 and 3 I think)
- I had a fun and wonderful time presenting with some #KELTchat people.
(Even managed to tweet during the middle of the presentation!)
Lest this read like yet another post on the magic of Twitter, PLNs or community I will mention some of the presentations that I saw.
(As above, I tried to choose people that I knew/knew about so there might be some bias here.)
I was lucky enough to see Scott Thornbury (who was sponsored by the New School) present twice. I didn’t quite manage to see his A-Z Pecha Kucha but I heard it was fantastic!
His Sunday morning plenary was on “The Secret History of Methods” and it was fantastic. He was funny as well as enlightening. I take back everything bad I ever said about plenaries being plastic and dry.
I felt that he really connected with the crowd and was able to share his few and offer something for everyone. On Saturday he talked about discourse and made this topic seem much more interesting than it might at first glance. He also reminded me of some of the great things we can do with corpus tools.
Andrew Pollard talked about KakaoTalk (and other such apps) and I loved his informative, self-deprecating, funny, fun, audience-friendly style. Though I am not a KaTalk user (and have never used it in class either) it was a nice chance to think about how I might use such tools. Lots of great ideas were shared by the presenter as well as the audience.
Ken Wilson’s presentations were extremely lively, informative and fun! I managed to see him twice (though unfortunately I think I was late both times!). He talked about improv type activities and how to make students curious. The latter presentation was sponsored by Oxford and he mentioned Smart Choice but it wasn’t the kind of over the top selling that I had originally feared. It was great to have a chance to see him after enjoying his blog for so long. Well worth seeing and highly recommended.
Ken Wilson is obviously a very experienced presenter. Another presentation that I thoroughly enjoyed was from Barry Jameson, and it was actually his first time presenting at such a conference. He talked about Twitter and PLNs and while this wasn’t necessarily new to me I thought he did a spectacular job sharing how he got started on Twitter. I think he created quite a buzz and helped people see that Twitter is not so daunting and also see the benefits of it. I felt like it was great first step for many.
(Excellent hashtags like #friendlystalking and #clever2012 as well as participation from people around the world on Twitter were icing on the cake)
Another presentation that I really enjoyed was from Elka Todeva (who was sponsored by SIT). She talked about “Fun Theory” and a variety of things. It was amazing to see how she captured and kept the crowd’s attention throughout as she talked about (IMO) complicated things in an accessible way. Lots to learn about SLA/Linguistics as well as presenting styles here. Very impressive.
So, I was very pleased with the presentations that I went to. As I told anyone who would care to listen, “I didn’t go to a bad presentation!” Good job by me, KOTESOL and the presenters, I’d say.
The whole conversation wasn’t all perfect though, of course. My mother
taught me told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.” I think this is often pretty good advice. With that in mind, things I won’t mention include:
- The reasons behind the #Alexwalshs40 hashtag.
- Long introductions of people that need no introduction.
- Introductions when the introducer doesn’t seem to know about the person they are introducing.
- (Perhaps not fair because I wasn’t there but…) I heard lots of complaints (ranging from presenting style to content) about the plenary on Saturday about mobile learning.
- How “non-panel” presentations are not allowed to have more than 3 presenters.
- That time when one of the bigwigs on the conference planning team interrupted my conversation because he wanted to leer at my name-tag. This was especially rude because this person had done the same exact leering move at a conference back in March. ***It was even ruder because I was in the middle of a conversation about a topic that is really important to me.
- The fact that we had to to wait nearly an hour to get a screen for our KELTchat presentation.
- This locked door just before a lunch time “meet and greet” for the Reflective Practice SIG.
After “not” mentioning these issues I feel that I *should mention again how much I enjoyed the conference overall.
It was really great and I sincerely thank all those who helped make it so.
Rebuttals, additions, questions, suggestions, and whathaveyous welcome. Thanks for reading!
***New rule: You are only permitting to rudely interrupt me by leering at my name-tag once per lifetime.