Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Recap on ELT Maker Night 3


Block T's meeting room which is not unlike a typical no-tech ELT classroom in Dublin. There was even a 3x4 whiteboard. Thanks James.


Tuesday 14 April 2015.
We got started at 6:15 due to traffic issues.
Aside from that Liam kept things moving along quickly.


Everyone on the mailing list who said they would come did come. Everyone else wrote saying why they couldn't- one was actually at another group's meeting. (IATEFL? Some English group, I think.) Everyone made contact. That in itself is a sign of community.

By the way the next one is on Tuesday, 12th of May. Expect a massive missive soon.

Write to ELTMakers at Gmail dot com if you are interested in an invitation. We decided to abandon the LinkedIn group and just focus on projects and real meetings.


Below is a story of the evening's events with some bits of flavour.

Show 'n' Tell

Once we were all in show and tell started. John B. Whipple (writing) started but this went a bit long. See this post for details.

Liam, also managing the agenda, went next and told us about his Sci-Fi Radio project. He traces his influences from his private love of scifi and horror as genres and Community Language Learning. CLL was a big ELT deal in its day theoretically. He may have come across this on his DELTA.

Teachers who had responsibility for their students learning through course creation, choice of materials and suggested work had the ability to set work which was essentially creative- this accords with a lot of view of ELT professionalism as being closer to artistic professionalism. Be that as is it may he gave us great sources and samples of student work. Some of the students posted proudly shared their radio work on their social media accounts.

Liam's suggestions were as follows:

Find an old sci-fi or horror radio show
War of Worlds by Orson Welles' crew is the most famous but the world of scripted online audio may be bigger than scripted online video. It has an extra few years of history. He suggests searching Many of the OpenCulture pieces also provide transcripts which you can use in a million ways.

Once you have it, play it for the class and do your usual activities. Most likely you will see examples of vocab and grammar you've studied with them in the last few weeks.

Once that is done, drop the news... They are going to write their own spooky sci-fi radio play.

Set the parameters
  • specific intended audience, 
  • writing, preparation, recording, final product time limits, 
  • number of words in the script, 
  • teams
Set the resources
  • Recordings can be made on phones/ personal devices.
  • Editing done with Audacity (we will cover this in a future tutorial for ELT people perhaps Russell Stannard has already, Audacity certainly has plenty of tutorials but crucially it's free and basic use is not complex)
  • Audacity needs to run on a computer (so book the computer lab or request students to start downloading to their devices and messing with Audacity on Day 1 or 2)
  • You will want sound effects find them here. Nasa has a great authentic recordings section on SoundCloud if there will be spaceships involved. 
  • Time...

Recognize time needs and limits before you begin
All this work takes time especially if it's going to be enjoyable. The easiest way to ruin a party is to put a time limit on it. So explain that this is a short term project. It could be a half hour to an hour a day. You could make it into a competition of sorts if you need to speed the plow. Expect to be at it for at least 2 days in total if you commit the entire class time. But it will probably be just under 2 weeks if you are doing it part-time and take a few days off.

Total time for all [good concept, script, tech-up, recording, sound effects work, conversion, editing and burn--- with first timers]: 6 hours, maybe less if you have some people with experience like musicians or media people. Trust your learners to find the tech answers. Just keep them on target with the language, monitor and take notes.


Peppermint tea seems to be a favourite as it's naturally decaffeinated but unnaturally delightful. (Complete exaggeration.) One Maker preferred regular man tea with milk as the lord intended it. Hobnobs and FigRolls were present. John showed a couple of videos from his CES Uppers blog. Let's continue.


See the little naughts and crosses box? Blogger's in there somewhere.
ELT Maker Nights haven't really had featured guests. Rob Lane, who has a spectacular Google+ page, is the first one. Apart from me no one but he has written an article for the ELT MakeSpace blog. But he's a veteran web writer. Blogger however basic was new to him.

He walked us through writing a first post to the MakeSpace. The requirement is a Google account and then Blogger needs to be set up. If you are on a computer based web browser and are in your Gmail you know how this looks... Next to the 'apps box', which is next to your name, you will have a Blogger option.

An ELT MakeSpace blog admin needs to send you an invitation to write. All last night's attending ELT Makers were sent an invitation this morning. You can all start putting together your own posts at that point. As an example of a first post I made my show and tell accessible as an individual post (and this shortened this already enormous recap). Rob then talked us through the content of his post: the idea, the nerves as well as the process, benefits and motivation behind his work. If you haven't read it go back to it now clicking here. Or scroll down a couple of posts. And check out his G+ here. It's a great idea that benefits him as a teacher as much as his school.

Maker Project

We did it and I think it's pretty great. Well done to Liam- concept to completion... And transferred it over ....On the same night.

What is an ELT Maker? from John Whipple on Vimeo.

Well done, folks.

PS This week Daniel Zuchowski, newsletter writer for ELT Ireland, asked how many ELT Maker Nights there will be. It goes up to 11.

Maker Night 4 is on Tuesday 12 May. Even if you can't come you can always make an excuse.


Great night.


  1. Good times.. Can't wait to find out more about images and image manipulation next time around..

  2. Audio for X Minus One:



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