MICELT Conference, Kuala Lumpur










I loved the MICELT conference in Kuala Lumpur, for many reasons. Chatting and networking – it was great to talk to Ivor Timms; to attend Alan Maley’s session on theory and practice, and to speak to B. Kumaravadivelu despite a pathological inability to pronounce his name…there were some hairy moments when it came to setting up the tech but nothing the sound crew couldn’t overcome. I cannot bring myself to mention the food – apart from saying it was awe-inducing.

I’ll be posting up a Handout soon of the 22 apps we looked at in the workshop (I counted them) and the References for the plenary on Apps and tablets, but it won’t be imminently – life is rather full post KL.

Launching the Vocabulary Organizer








It was a great last Friday in the first week of the pre-sessionals here at the Centre of Applied Linguistics, Warwick University. At long last, I could GIVE my students a Vocabulary Organizer, as opposed to describing one, or giving a pilot version. Am encouraging students to use it, now, and hope it benefits them as they continue their studies on their Masters Courses next academic year.


Roadshow – Argentina: Plenary Handouts

argentina-english-roadshow-2013-imageThe amazing Roadshow has come to an end. Wow. What an experience…… could I ever forget……:

Jujuy….how do you PRONOUNCE it? spell it? agonising over whether a carnivore should or shouldn’t eat cuddly animals llike llamas…can you resist llama kidneys in white wine……

Salta….agonising over whether sucking coca leaves is (or isn’t) legal….

Running (by the grace of heavenly powers, and the kindness of Maria Jose) a session from the Universidad Catolica for a conference in Madrid

Tucuman….hot,hot,hot….taping a polystyrene makeshift screen to the wall, and the world’s cutest projector…

Santiago del Estero….and the reaction to us ordering a taxi in the rain….“A taxi! ha ha – sorry, it’s RAINING!!!!” (Can you imagine that in England ha ha)

……or asking what time a restaurant will open….’Nueve y algo….” (My favourite time: neuve y algo. Can you imagine that in Germany?)

And finally, Cordoba….ten minutes before the plenary and the door is locked and you haven’t hooked up the MacAir to the projector – but am I worried? worried I am not. It’s Argentina time…..hang loose and all will be well…..and it was!

Wonderful memories of superb organsiation (thanks, Calum), great co-trainers (Ricardo / Rosa; Ceci; Ana; Lucia and Jen); sharing and input….

Here are my plenaries as Handouts:

Plenary 1 –plenary1

Plenary 2 –plenary2

Nice travelling out with Nik Peachy, and meeting Nicky Hockly and Gavin Dudeney on the way back. a truly amazing professional (and life-enhancing) experience. Thanks, British Council.

New e-lesson blog on Pinterest

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying preparing sessions for the British Council Roadshow in Argentina and learning a lot about Social Media. I’ve just joined Instagram and Pinterest…….

The latest e-lesson blog from Macmillan is on Pinterest, and possible applications in the business world. You can download it here:


It might inspire you to join the social meeting site that is so much in the news at the moment! Enjoy – hope you find it (er) Pinteresting….

Three reasons to be cheerful about IWBs

It’s been a good day on the IWB front, for three reasons.

1. I was chatting (through the keyboard) with a colleague with a brief to buy an IWB and I was interested in learning what his choice would be. SMART? Promethean? Hitachi? He went with a Panabord (from Panasonic), mostly for the local support offered (Kalyan works in India) and looking at the info, I think he made a good choice.

Wanna check it out? Click here:


2 I managed (all on my ownsome) to download Promethean’s ActivInspire software onto my new Mac in advance of the English UK Training day on IWBs. The Wimbledon school of English, the host school, has Promethean boards. First impressions: the interface actually looks much easier than the older version (Active Studio)

3  I even found time to watch half of Barbara Garner’s recent webinar – Cool ideas for IWBs. Isn’t that a great thing about recorded webinars – you can watch them as and when you wish to. Second half tomorrow, yeah. If you are a member of the IATEFL LT SIG, you can watch the webinar for free. If you aren’t, join.


How are you going with your IWB? Are you in full flow, or is it gathering dust? If it’s the second scenario, there are still places on English UK’s Training Day 11th February in London. For more info, visit: http://www.psa.eu.com/event/getting-the-most-out-your-interactive-whiteboard-approaches-and-pedagogies

I’d love to see you there!


Greece – conferences

Last Saturday saw the QLS conference, held in Athens. It was great to go back to Greece after so many years – I was  a tourist on the mainland over 20 years ago.

I was startled at the title: ‘Hi Tech, bye teacher?” Luckily, the next line was reassuring: “Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer deserves to be”, so I felt much better.

It was good to meet George Drivas who had kindly sent me a copy of his book: Education, Learning, Training in a Digital Society. George opened the conference with a talk based on his book; it was a good start to the day.

My own session provided 40 practical ideas for using technology in the classroom, although I actually only managed 36! For a graphics-lite version of my talk, please click here:


I enjoyed the whole day, including the talk by Anne Leventeris, from Burlington Books. She was showing us activities based on published digital materials, using a SMART board, and it was greta to see the IWB used confidently and competently.

The most spectacular moment of the day was actually realising where I was. We went up to the 8th floor for a wonderful view across Athens, taking in the Acropolis crowned by Parthenon.

We sped up to Patras to arrive at carnival time!

It was good to be in the streets and see everyone enjoying themselves despite the challenging economic climate. TESOL Greece sure know how to provide a fab meal.

Sunday saw TESOL Greece, Patras. The event was live streamed. It was a wonderful day, with great presentations on Art and language teaching, psychology and being popular with students, and materials from Heinle National Geographic (I hope I got that right!).

For a graphics-lite PPT version of my talk on technology, please click here:


For a Handout with some key references, please click here:


A great trip. Thanks to everyone. I do hope to return to Greece again.

Return to alma mater

I am always delighted to return to my alma mater – Cambridge, this time to give a talk in the CUP bookshop. Here are the details:
How blended learning can give you a competitive edge with Pete Sharma (aka moi)
Wednesday 21st September
This Learning Centre Seminar will be held in the CUP bookshp at 27-28 Market Hill, Cambridge. Pete Sharma, a leading authority on blended learning, will explain why he believes that language teaching is most effective when it offers a blend  of face-to-face along with technology-enhanced online learning. The focus is on optimising valuable face-to-face teaching by assigning consolidation activities as self-scoring online homework.
Pete Sharma is a Director of Pete Sharma Associates www.psa.eu.com, but then you knew that already.
The seminar will also look at various blended learning products provided by Cambridge University Press, including Cambridge Financial English and The Cambridge B1 Course Online. There will be a brief presentation of English360, the award-winning solution for blended learning applications produced in association with Cambridge University Press.Afterwards, a drinks reception will be held, featuring a prize draw:
1st prize – £100 of Cambridge University Press books

2nd prize – £50 of Cambridge University Press books
3rd prize – £25 of Cambridge University Press books
Don’t  miss this great opportunity to meet with other English Language Teaching and education professionals and enjoy 20% discount on any purchases made on the night. Please RSVP Ana Rodriguez Garcia to reserve your place arodriguezgarcia@cambridge.org We look forward to seeing you!
The Learning Centre, Cambridge University Press Bookshop. 27-28 Market Hill, Cambridge CB2 3NR
Tel: 01223 330292 That’s Byron and Pete in the same place at the same time!