Fun with Technology in Milan !

Our fourth mini summit on digital technologies for language learning was held in the exciting city of Milan last week. Kindly supported by UK Trade and Investment, the event was held in the British Consulate, just few steps from the Duomo.

After an opening address by Vic Annells, HM Consul General and Director General for Trade & Investment, in which he stressed the value of educational technology (value in a very real sense – educational know-how is a major UK export worth over £2.5bn annually to the UK economy) we were treated to presentations by Richmond, Little Bridge, SMART and of course Pete himself.

The Consulate in Via san Paolo, Milan

Author and publisher Paul Rogers started the day with a demonstration of the virtual world of Little Bridge; beautifully animated in 3D this immersive primary programme can be used as part of a blended or self-access language learning package, and consists of suites of materials on a proprietary LMS. It’s certainly one of the best programmes of its type we have seen, and unique in its field.

Cathy Smith and Luke Baxter then gave a talk on convergence, showing how this is already affecting ELT publishing. Many of the traditional components of a publisher’s course offering have already converged in a Digital Book format, making all components accessible on popular formats including tablet, interactive whiteboard, PC and (of course) the traditional book! Richmond ELT, based in Oxford, has some really interesting course material, including Framework, a hybrid online / traditional course.

Valeria Mordenti of SMART discussed the benefits the interactive whiteboards bring to language learning. SMART is the global leader in whiteboard technologies, and – because of its touch interface – is ideal for use in primary schools (SMART boards are in over 60% of UK primary classrooms).

To round off the morning, Pete discussed the overall impact of ICT on language teaching. His presentations are continually changing, so fast is the technology moving forwards. A copy of his presentation is available direct, just by sending us a mail.

By this time the forty or so delegates – not to mention the presenters – were much in need of refreshment, so we all moved on to the consulate terrace, with its fine views of Milan, for prosecco and canapés. Feedback was very positive for this, our first venture into Italy, and we hope to run a similar event next year.

A big thanks from all of us to the fantastic staff at the Consulate and to our sponsors and co-presenters Paul, Valeria, Luke and Cathy.

If you were there (or were unlucky enough to miss it!) and would like impartial advice on implementing technology and blended learning in your teaching situation, just mail me byron.russell@psa.eu.com