Interactive technologies for classroom language teaching: iTILT and the IWB

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Last night I was invited to run a webinar for teaching training organised by Jürgen Wagner of the Landesinstitut für Pädagogik und Medien, Saarbrücken (Germany).  During a 90 minute meeting on Adobe Connect, I was able to present the iTILT project and the IWB for language teaching to between 40 and 50 participants.  

We started with a little poll which showed that about half the audience of teachers of mainly English and German had never used an IWB, though most had seen one used for teaching, and the majority were positive or neutral about this technology.  I presented the project partners and data collection procedures, then had participants access the manual.  I used screensharing to show training resources (English reading, Notebook version) with the pull-out tabs, because site users cannot view these without downloading the appropriate software. (Although free trial versions are generally available, perhaps this is not something the casual visitor is likely to embark on.) 
I tried to stress the way our project has emphasised pedagogy over technology right from the start, since the training manual is organised by language area rather than IWB feature, and the training materials constitute stand-alone teaching sequences rather than unconnected activities.
Jürgen and I also set up 5 breakout groups, or virtual rooms where participants can interact in smaller groups: I set them to watch three videos tagged for speaking and make notes on a communal notepad.  After feedback on this activity, I showed the audience how to perform their own searches on the iTILT website, particularly the Quick Search function to search for particular language teaching objectives.
Finally I talked a little about low-tech solutions for teachers without access to an IWB, and showed the slate which eInstruction kindly lent me for the project, a cheap alternative to an IWB for use with computer and videoprojector.  The question of tablet technology inevitably arose: my position is that large-scale projection for whole-class activities still seems indispensable, because at some point teachers need to bring individuals and groups back together.  More on that here.
Participant feedback in the chat window was globally positive, though there seemed to be some squabbling over writing rights in the breakout sessions!  As with any new activity, it takes everyone a few tries to get used to the format and decide how best to adopt its affordances.
Here are the Adobe Connect links for the webinar resources
Links from chat (allows you to download the handbook in 6 different languages) (language teaching methodology background)
Group work instructions:
Watch the three video clips.
  • What is the teacher’s objective?
  • What happens with the IWB?
  • What do you think works, and what could be done differently?

Video clip examples:
Using a table for vocabulary work
Pets: using the annotation tool
Bristol presentations magic ink

Thanks to Jürgen for his able, thorough and friendly support, and to Ton for popping in to remind us about the iTILT summer courses.