I got to the BCEC at 6:30 this morning! These photos were taken from the walkway over the highway leading from the T station to the BCEC.
Yesterday I attended webhead Tom Leverett's presentation "Making Sure They Know from Wikipedia." Tom pointed out that students need to understand that Wikipedia, while useful for gaining general knowledge about a topic (as a student might wish to do before starting a paper), is a "reference", not a source and is not appropriate as a source for an academic paper. Tom uses articles about the reliability of Wikipedia as sources for exercises designed to teach students what Wikipedia is and is not appropriate for.
Following Tom's excellent presentation, he and I took advantage of a very nice free breakfast offered by Pearson-Longman Publishers, in the Westin Hotel. We ate with Joel Bloch (of Multiliteracies) and Steve Sharp (CALL-IS and MEI). After that, I went back to the EV for another EVO Classics Fair presentation, but I did not stay for the whole time because there were other moderators and only a few people came. So I went instead to Joel's presentation on plagiarism (I can't find the entry in the program book!), which was interesting. Joel and his colleague reporting the results of a survey they had administered to new international students at the Ohio State University. The results showed that students had very inappropriate ideas about what constituted plagiarism, what practices were not acceptable, etc.
At 11:00, I went to a session on Using Corpora to Enhance Language Teaching by Michael Barlow. Ever since I heard a plenary talk by Michael Lewis at WATESOL years ago (and subsequently read a couple of books about his "lexical approach"), I've been interested in corpora and concordancers but have not been able to get up to speed using either. Barlow sells his own concordancer software and had a lot of ideas on how to use "specialized and general wordlists, collocation lists, online concordancers, text-analysis software, Web-based exercises, and data-driven learning materials," according to the program book (I actually don't remember all of that!).
Webheads Nina, Carla and Berta outside the EV
My first f2f meeting with Juan Soto, who co-moderated Enhancing Lessons with web 2.0 with me at EVO 2009.
At 12:30, I attended an excellent mini-workshop at the EV on using Jing to make video tutorials. I have actually done this (last year when preparing for Enhancing Lessons with Web 2.0, I created a couple of tutorials on Tapped in and (I think) Bubbleshare [since defunct]), but I had kind of forgotten how to do it and wanted to get some tips. We saw some examples, listed some best practices, and each got to create a tutorial. I made one about ted.com. (As usual, I lost track of time, talked too much, and was cut off mid-sentence.) While at the workshop, I met Leslie Sapp, an EVO moderator from Takoma Park whom I had not yet met f2f. That was fun. Holly Dilatush, Leslie and I are hoping to get together for a webheads Maryland encounter in the future. You can see that we were quite surprised to find each other!
Amazingly, about 12-15 people came to my discussion at 3 pm (the next-to-last slot, after people had been leaving all day) and it went pretty well. Webheads Claire and Holly and Joel Bloch from Multiliteracies were kind enough to come; the others were people I did not know.
I am at Logan Airport, sitting at the gate waiting for my flight to board in about 45 minutes. I connected my laptop to the airport wifi, but every time I try to access a webpage (iGoogle, Facebook, Blogger, gmail...) all I get is the stupid airport site. Am I doing something wrong, or is the wifi messed up? I don't know. [I figured out later that wifi wasn't free...:-( ) So I am back to my Plan B, writing my post on Notepad to be copied and pasted to the blog later. :-( (and only got around to posting it Tuesday morning!)
After that, I went by myself to get something to eat (a bowl of chowder) while thinking about my discussion, which was scheduled for 3:00. I was not expecting many people to come; people had been leaving the conference all day (Why would you pay all that money to attend a three day conference, only to spend only two days??). But I was pleasantly surprised to have around 10-12 participants, most of whom were strangers to me. Claire, Joel, and Holly were kind enough to participate. I shared the results of the Striking a Balance survey, as concisely as I could, and we talked about the difficulties of finding time to spend online and shared strategies for striking that balance. I felt pretty good about how the session went. I was not nervous and managed to keep an eye on the time, so I finished on time. Now I need to write an article about it.
There was one more session after that, and I had planned to help break down the EV, as I did in NY, but I ended up just going home. I was really tired. I even forgot to go upstairs to where Berta and her friend Maggie had been presenting to tell her goodbye! I had to retrieve my jacket from the Security Office; then I walked across the footbridge for the last time and took the T home to Brookline. (I met Mary Hillis on the T, and we took the Red Line together for one stop, so she was the last webhead I saw).
Suffice it to say that the final day of the Convention was good; I went to some interesting sessions, including a mini-workshop at the EV; I saw some people I had not seen yet (Juan Soto, Leslie Sapp), said goodbye to many friends. After it was over, I was too tired to attend a final session or even (as I had intended) help break down the EV; I hopped onto the T and came home to Bijou's. TESOL Convention--done for this year. All over but the shouting (and the blog repair, to be done later.) Thanks for reading/blogging with me.