The Virtual Round Table is an annual web conference related to language learning with technologies. The conference is organized by a small group of English language teachers and is free for all attendees and speakers. The event, which takes place in Adobe Connect, attracts a global audience and provides quality professional development and invaluable networking.
Last year the conference was nominated for an ELTon. The ELTons are awards that recognize innovative resources related to English language teaching. Speakers use webcams, slide presentations, screen sharing, and chat to interact with the attendees. At the VRT (#vrtwebcon on twitter) you will find many similarities to a face-to-face conference, including pecha kuchas, symposiums, parallel sessions, and keynotes. When technology fails, as it often does in a traditional conferences and classrooms, speakers (English language teachers) are challenged to carry on. The moderators and organizers did an excellent job of making everyone feel at ease.
Teachers who are considering submitting a speaking proposal for an international conference such as TESOL or IATEFL may want to consider presenting at a web conference first.
I attended live sessions throughout the weekend, but missed many due to parallel sessions and time zone conflicts. Thankfully I’ve been able to watch many of the recorded sessions. Viewers should note that the timing is not always perfect in these recordings. The slides may not match with the speaker’s voice, and at times, speakers may seem to speak over each other. While the recordings are not perfect, they are still a great way to find new tools, tips, and resources that you can use in the classroom.
If you only have time for a few, here are some sessions from this year’s conference that I highly recommend.
Joe McVeigh: Improving Your Virtual Presentation Skills (Fantastic tips I’ll be using next time I present online.)
Symposium: Building your PLN (Learn all about #ELT Chat – an ELTons nominee for 2012)
Jennifer Verschoor: Jazz up your language classes with technology (Discover some great sites!)
EC’s Session: The Learning English Video Project (LEVP)
At this year’s conference, I introduced teachers to the “Learning English Video Project”. This is a unique 7-part series of documentary films about learning English in different countries around the world. The series is free to watch or download with or without subtitles, and comes with teaching and self-study materials. If you are unfamiliar with this project, you can watch the recording here. I have recently followed up with a Video Project Challenge. Please join in the fun!
Related LEVP Resources