Thursday, February 5, 2015

ELT MAKER NIGHT RECAP (or how to make an ELT Maker Night)

I called about 5 places looking for a venue. Visited 4. Bridge21 is excellent for this stuff and I was thrilled they said yes. I didn't want to meet in a school because schools are competitors, so teachers risk black-listing or grey-listing for associating with other teachers from other schools. There will always be inter-ELTO snobbery. There are old grudges and snoops. And we spend enough time in schools anyway. Pubs were out because we also have spent enough time in them already. Perhaps we still do.

+The Bridge21 space and project is excellent and has so much to offer ELT that it's a wonder they aren't doing ELT already. I volunteered there for a number of months.
-Google maps isn't exact on the doorway, so almost half the participants had to call me to find the door as the doorway was dark. Next time I hope one of the Makers will make us a map. Tea facilities had to be learned.

After the afternoon classes and with enough time to get a snack. I wanted people to be able to get home before bedtime. The best of us have jobs to get up for in the morning and Netflix isn't going to watch itself. 6:00-7:30 was proclaimed. 6:35-7:45 was reality. Tuesdays seem pretty good for this sort of thing.

+More people showed than initially expected. Plenty of laid-back getting-to-know-you time.
-One Maker couldn't arrive until 6:45. Maybe we could start a few minutes later?

(I won't do names or pictures. It's about making ideas into stuff and stuff into ideas. When I need to talk about someone I'll use initials.)
8 ELT Makers and one newbie. There were 9. About half BYOD'd. There were spare laptops and tables everywhere in the room. See Space Demo Below.

+Everyone had something to talk about.
-We were 'in 9' as the Italians say. Odd numbers made pair work awkard. But English Language Teachers seem to always have a few solutions for that.

After everyone was done WiFying in, ELTea and brownies finished up at about 20 past 6. We did official hellos and roughly sketched the agenda. (This is more what I wished it went like but it WILL be like this next time.)
  • Stop chit-chatting and prepare something (and maybe something else) to show. Now.
  • Show 'n' Tell One Next we'll ask you to show your work to a partner.
  • Show 'n' Tell Two Then we'll ask you to change partners and show your work to another partner.
  • Show 'n' Tell Three (repeat)
  • Please take a couple of notes and think about these topics
    -why they made it and
    -who it's for
    -where it's going and
    -why they love it (or why they abandoned it)
  • Maker News
  • Makers' Mini Project
JN arrived late and had missed the first show and tell. So we played the name game to reset and include the newcomer... It was something we should have done at the start.
Person A says their name. Person B says A's name and their own. Person C says A's, B's and then their own. Person D etc... 

+There was an air of serendiptity about the place. The brownies and tea helped.
-There weren't very clear lines between one activity and the next. Next time we'll mind the timings for the show 'n' tells but I will stop short of giving out questionnaires. Fixable.

In the end seven people were on the presenter's end of show 'n' tell. I was monitoring and answering the door, prepping the Mini-Project. So we were one presenter short. I saw over a lot over shoulders.

Projects included:
  • P's newscasts and an absolutely terrifying horror film set in a classroom
  • L's old student-written collaborative class blog
  • G's QR code-enhanced school and a tumblr on a conference recently attended
  • J's super slick vocab app which is the envy of all Makers in Dublin; a bonafide pro
  • S's class FB page and his role assignment theories for media project work (He assigns a 'skeptic'; Seems Machiavellian; Works a treat for keeping the learners on task); has a great blog too.
  • P's intro to Articulate Storyline for... well that may be classified
  • R's G+ page series on grammar & vocab for students which help his learners and set him up for writing a learner's book while giving a boost to his schools SEO
As things really got cooking a half hour late we had to stop after 2 show and tells. I put up this whiteboard of reflection questions and suggested doing a bit of writing.

The Maker News was basically that I thought this was a success and that we got consensus on doing it again next month- and that further communication would be through the LinkedIn Group, ELT Makers.

Finally everyone grabbed one of the little letters I'd made up to mock the logo pulled from my November Presentation at the Digital ELT Ireland Conference and L shot a movie on his phone (and edited overnight).

Everyone made a dent in the room rent, packed up, swapped contacts and drifted out the door or to the 5-minute Bridge21 tour.

+I went home. Fairly happy. Lots of happy texts.
-'...too few to mention'

A good night.


  1. I love the ELT Maker Night idea - I'm going to suggest it to our teacher group in Berlin - thanks!

    paul (

  2. Thank. You. Very. Much. It's great to get some feedback. I really like your blog.


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