Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Timemapping the Irish College Closure Crisis

I've been away from teaching and making ELT-applicable techie stuff for (wow) two years. But just today I finished working on a map and it's about ELT (in Ireland).

TimeMapper is the application. Use it to make timelines and somewhat interactive maps.

You will also need:
A Twitter account
A Google account
A TimeMapper account
Your data ducks in a row (see below)

The subject matter isn't particularly attractive: 15 or so ELT schools closed in Ireland between 2014-15 which stranded students and disemployed all their teachers without any warning. Typically this business decision was communicated to them with just an A4 page pinned to a locked door saying 'Sorry! We've ceased trading.'  The problem? Bad regulations. Ours were so bad in Ireland, they were voluntary. Our owners were so shady they would pressure the DOS to fire you if you were earning the highest rate in the school or if you were in a union. (Imagine... a teacher... in a UNION! What next?)

Anyway ICOS, a semi-governmental body, spoke with/for students though a (fairly heroic) part-timer there who volunteered hundreds of hours to help the stranded students. This contrasted with the sneaky owners who ran off with the students' money or who steered a way through the Crisis only to say to their DOS, (and I quote) "There's no need to pay teachers what we were paying them in January. We should get new teachers ASAP and get them to work for less. It's called 'supply and demand'." (...then he smiled hopefully and conspiringly. And there's a reason I am less active inside ELT schools now).

I visited the ICOS office in 2014 to show them the ELTOs Map and soon after ICOS did their part and put together a timeline. The idea was that I could make a map to sync up with their timeline. Three years, and one disillusionment or two later, I have some time on my hands. So with IATEFL hashtags bouncing around Twitter at the moment, I thought I might finally finish a last couple non-essential ELT projects. Kudos to Mura Nava for the idea to try TimeMapper out. And well done to them for using OpenStreetMaps instead of GoogleMaps though Blogger certainly prefers GoogleMaps.*

So, this project is for the history books, I hope. But it might not go amiss in a CELTA or CELT course.

I could suggest you and your students try it to document your holidays or stories and expeditions, large (Lewis and Clark's expedition to the Pacific) or small (retracing your steps from last fabulous weekend when you lost your keys).

In the same way war teaches Americans geography, the Irish College Closure Crisis taught us about unregulated for-profit ELT. As they say in America 'Never Forget'.

*Just in case the embed code isn't working try this to view it on TimeMapper.

Oh yeah use this if you have a great data table but don't have the longitude latitude coordinates:
It's brilliant!

And many thanks to the Dear Reader who suggested I edit this a bit more before launching it onto the Internet. You were right. Please find more errors.

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