Category Archives: The educational technologist

This section of the blog is for anything connected with the educational technology element of our work at Manchester. These postings are managed by Gary but anyone else can also add relevant postings. We particularly welcome postings from current and former students.

Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI)

I’m spending a week in Pakistan working on the Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI) in Lahore, Pakistan.

This is project, in conjunction with the Department for Schools Development for Punjab, is aiming to work with teachers in the Punjab region to upgrade their language and pedagogy skills.

My role is to provide input on CPD and the role that technology might play in teacher development. So far, we have been looking at using Skype for remote training.


Publications from one of our recent students

Maya Silvianti a full time MA student at Manchester in the academic year 2007-2008 has been busily working on publishing articles from work she did at Manchester. Here are the results of her work:

1) A one stop class blog to promote writing activities
2) Looking into the EFL students’ perception in listening by using English movie videos on YouTube


ChinaCALL 2014 Conference in Beijing

The 2014 International Symposium on CALL will be held in November 2014 in Beijing, China.

Themes: ICT and Foreign Language Instruction: Opportunities and Challenges

Presentations on topics relevant (not limited) to the following are welcomed:

  • 1. New technology and foreign language education
  • 2. CALL environment
  • 3. CALL & L2 teacher education
  • 4. Web-based instructional design for foreign language instruction
  • 5. Web-based language assessment
  • 6. CALL learners
  • 7. Modality of learning
  • 8. Web-based & resource-driven learning
  • 9. Corpus-based & data-driven learning
  • 10. Mobile language learning

Conference Date: November, 7th -8th?2014
Conference Venue:Beijing Jiaotong University
Language of Presentation:English

Important Dates (Subject to the postmark date the mails sent out)
September 15,2014 Deadline for proposal
October 15, 2014 Notice of acceptance sent out
October 15, 2014 Deadline for paper submission
October 15, 2014 Deadline for general pre-registration
November 6, 2014 Conference Reception Day (Hong Guo Yuan Hotel, Beijing Jiaotong University).  

The registration fee: 1000 RMB for general participants; 500 RMB for graduate students.

For any queries please call 86 10 88810163-8204 or email to


The IATEFL conference 2014 was the usual mixture of old acquaintances and friends, new acquaintances and friends, former and current students (of whom more later), interesting and not so interesting talks and presentations and workshops.

IATEFL is an opportunity for me to update on new ideas, see old ideas put into a new light and occasionally offer a few opinions.

You should be able to see all of the keynotes online as they were all broadcast live and recorded: Jackie Kay, Sugata Mitra, Michael Hoey, Kathleen Graves and David Graddol. There were lots of other recorded sessions, too, which you can get to see at IATEFL Online where you can also engage in the conversation along with others who attended and those who have watched the conference from afar.

I also met with a large number of our former and current students many of whom were giving talks. I may have missed a few of them, but I will add in anyone who contacts me and, if you have them, sends me slides, or recordings of your talks. Get back to me and I will update the page.

Here are all the Manchester people I met, or saw: Anne Humphrey-Baker, David Bowskill, Carol-Ann Soames, Nick Turner, Martin Dutton, Pete Sharma, Aisha Walker, Francis Amrani, Nik Peachey, Isil Boy, Sophia Mavridi, David Gattrell, Neil Ballantyne, Karenne Sylvester, Sandie Murao, Ben Gray, Susan Dawson, Fitriyah Siti Masrifatul, Duncan Foord, Diana Ahmed Busra.

Social media in distance education

These are the slides that I used to do a presentation about using social media in distance education at the University of Manchester event — Never mind the gap: distance learning in higher education:

You can listen to a recording of this talk and others from the afternoon.

This event also launched a new set of web pages bringing together resources for distance learning at the University.

English for Prosperity

A video of Gary Motteram talking about the role of technology in language learning at a recent conference held in Chile discussing the role of language in economic development: English for Prosperity. You can find a comprehensive publication about this conference on the website.

Reviewing current and future practice in the use of virtual worlds in Higher Education

This is a free event and lunch will be provided for attendees in Manchester.  Please sign up on EventBright to attend the event in Manchester, or go to our Adobe Connect space to watch the presentations online. Visit Forum Europe in 2nd Life from lunchtime (12.45 GMT) to meet and discuss and attend presentations in world.

PlaceKanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum, University of Manchester and online:

Date and time: 14 March 2014, 9:30am to 4pm


09.30 – Participants arrive (Coffee/ Tea available)

10.00 – Opening introduction and welcome

10.10 – Paul Rudman (University of Leicester) – Seven reasons for teaching

in virtual worlds

The last decade has seen virtual worlds transform from novelty to powerful tool. In education, learning environments have been created with this technology in subjects as diverse as genetics, midwifery, sculpture, language learning and occupational psychology. In the US, major corporations have used virtual worlds for staff training and collaboration, as have the US army.

This talk will describe six generic ways in which virtual worlds can offer a better learning environment than the physical world. Examples will be drawn from the speaker’s extensive experience using virtual worlds, and in particular the SWIFT virtual genetics labs.

The talk will conclude by discussing the seventh reason for teaching in a virtual world – the future. A vision will be presented for the development of virtual worlds, and how the six existing reasons will be amplified as technology and teaching practice moves forward.

11.00 – Virtual courses- Darren Mundy and Luisa Panichi (University of


Over the duration of 2013-14 the Good Practice framework produced as a part of the Euroversity network has been evaluated across pan-European academic contexts.  This talk will concentrate on some of the findings from this process detailing a reflection on how the framework has informed the design and construction of these courses and how in the case of the University of Hull’s course delivery the framework informed practice. This will be coupled with providing an indication of how the framework needs to be improved through further collaborative development picking up on aspects of the framework which were missing as various course provision options were explored. As one of the aspects of the framework that could be improved, Luisa Panichi will talk principally about learner participation in virtual world contexts, tracking the development of the concept through to recent findings from her research work in the area.

11.45 – Coffee/ Tea Break

12.00 – Maggi Savin-Baden (University of Coventry) — The impact of virtual

world learning on Higher Education

Most research to date has been undertaken into students’ experiences of virtual learning environments, discussion forums and perspectives about what and how online learning has been implemented. Virtual world learning seems to offer opportunities to move away from scaffolding and introduce new perspectives relating to the study of the socio-political impact of learning in higher education. This is because immersive learning spaces such as Second Life are universal, not bounded by time or geography, and in particular adopt different learning values from other learning spaces. However, there remain a number of dilemmas over the pedagogical use of Second Life as exemplified across both the e-learning community and the wider educational community. It has been widely acknowledged that virtual worlds do present educational potential in terms of role-playing, building and scripting items and fostering dialogic learning and social interaction (Savin-Baden, 2010). Despite many cogent arguments and the varied possibilities for their use there has been relatively little pedagogical rationale put forward to support these. Furthermore it would seem, that attention has been centred on the relationship between the pedagogy and the technology rather than the multiple perspectives that individuals bring to the learning encounter based upon prior experience, knowledge, and the influence of culture and worldview.

This presentation will explore some of the central issues that have emerged from recent research into pedagogical uses, impacts and innovation in virtual worlds. In particular it will present research relating to perceived impact of spatial practice in Second Life and staff experiences of learning and teaching in immersive worlds. It will also draw on recent work on learning context, staff pedagogical stances as well as the particular approaches used to facilitate effective learning in virtual worlds. The presentation will conclude by suggesting that the opportunity to do things differently when designing for disciplinary learning within these new environments, in which there is less order than in traditional learning environments, forces a reconsideration of how learning spaces should-might be constituted.

12.45 — Lunch and networking

13.30 – Liz Falconer (University of West England) — Learning in virtual

environments: dimensions of situated learning

The presentation will discuss examples of contextual and situated learning in virtual environments, covering subject areas that include financial auditing, environmental health, psychology and forensic science. Our understanding of the nature of situated learning will be developed through results of evaluations of these examples, with particular emphasis on the authenticity and social dimensions of this kind of learning.  Aspects of learning through simulations in virtual environments that relate to situated learning include visualisation, sense of reality, sense of presence and co-presence, methods of communication, authority, engagement, generalizability and the opportunity to learn from mistakes. These aspects will be discussed and expanded in the presentation.

14.15 – Virtual session – Euroversity Network Project partners

15.00 – Coffee/ Tea break

15.15 – Final panel (Joint online and face-to-face)

16.00 – End of day

This event is sponsored by the EU funded Euroversity Network project.


Reviewing current and future practice in the use of worlds in Higher Education Institutions

There will be a face-to-face and virtual event at Manchester and in Second Life: Reviewing current and future practice in the use of worlds in Higher Education Institutions on 14th March, 2014. This will take place physical in the Kanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum, University of Manchester: 9.30-16.00. The day is free and lunch is included. All welcome, please advertise on your networks. Please contact Gary Motteram ( for further details and to sign up.

Diana Laurillard on MOOCs

I have taken this off the ALT-Members list, who have been debating the pros and cons of MOOCs and other assorted open course types for a while, so that I can spread it more widely; seems to me to be an eminently sensible set of propositions from Diana Laurillard:

Here are some propositions related to MOOCs, which I’ve tried to express clearly but starkly in response to the recent discussions. If you accept these, then I think it follows that we are not progressing the MOOC phenomenon in the most valuable way:

  1. Formal education is not a mass delivery consumer industry but a client industry – we do not deliver knowledge to students, we try to nurture each individual’s intellectual knowledge and skills to their highest potential level.
  2. Formal education is not an emergent property of group discussion but a contract with a student to take them to a criterion or normative level of capability, which it is objectively agreed and therefore not up to them to define.
  3. A university degree requires personal guidance, feedback and accreditation in terms of this agreed standard – and this is labour intensive and therefore expensive.
  4. Higher education for some proportion of the population should not be free because it would have to be funded out of taxation, and yet it confers a financial advantage on the beneficiary, which lower-paid unqualified taxpayers should not be required to fund (so a graduate tax would be a better way to fund HE).
  5. Experimentation with online pedagogies of the kind found in MOOCs has been available to us for over a decade. We should not have needed the MOOC phenomenon to start experimenting with technology-based pedagogies for the benefit of our existing students.
  6. MOOC pedagogies fit the ‘professional development’ pedagogic format of ‘presentation + peer discussion’, with no expectation of feedback, assessment or accreditation, as in the cMOOC, with an optional certificate of ‘attendance’.

Universities could offer a more or less cost-free spin-off from campus-based pedagogical innovations using learning technologies – such as the master-class format alluded to in Ian Chowchat’s interesting review. This was the open courseware approach. Going beyond that to orchestrating online peer discussions need not be very labour intensive if tutors do not give feedback – the Edinburgh report indicated that few students engage in the forums in any case. Computer-marked tests once designed are not labour intensive to mark, and are exactly what campus students welcome. But offering a ‘course’ creates expectations, and academics are clearly responding to those expectations from a very demanding group of ‘students’.

So I think our most interesting challenge is to work out the new forms of pedagogy that support valuable learning experiences by using technology to provide much higher gearing ratios for academic teaching labour.

And these new and better pedagogies should begin with our campus students – they are the ones paying for the academic time that creates all these free-at-the-point-of-use courses for rich professionals. They are the ones who deserve better pedagogies along with the labour-intensive guidance, feedback and accreditation. Universities may then use these outputs to create spin-off cMOOCs. Wouldn’t that be a fairer way forward?

Andrew Prosser@WorldCALL

Andrew Prosser talking about the use of digital stories in teacher education in Korea at the recent WorldCALL Conference in Glasgow.