Vance Stevens on thinking SMALL at the 2019 PELLTA conference in Penang Malaysia

Learning2gether episode #409

The Penang English Language Learning and Teaching Association (PELLTA, holds its international conference every other year in Penang, Malaysia. I was fortunate to be in Penang for the one in held April 17-19,  2019, and to get a paper accepted there entitled Thinking SMALL: A case for social media assisted language learning, presented in a half-hour slot on the last day of the conference.

CALL is by definition computer-assisted language learning, but computers are integrated into almost everything electronic. Bax argued that computers have become so normalized that the C in CALL is decreasingly descriptive. A better acronym would more accurately characterize the role computers play in language learning.

The purpose of language is communication, and students internalize languages through meaningful communication. Computers excel at facilitating communication among language learners and native speakers of a language, largely through social media. I believe that SM assists LL more than does the old C and over the past decade I have encouraged people to “think SMALL” in recognition of the diminished role of computers vs. how they help learners acquire a target language.

Many other acronyms have been proposed to replace the C in CALL; e.g. MALL, TALL, TELL, etc. In this presentation I review the case I have made in publications promoting SMALL since 2009, and show from my experience how using social media in my roles as editor, collaborator, and founder of several communities of practice helps teachers model productive social media techniques for one another, which in turn can inform their teaching practice.

I announced in my social media networks that my presentation would be webcast as Learning2gether episode #409  live from Penang, Malaysia, where I would present in half an hour a case for SMALL, social media assisted language learning. I noted that since there is too much information in this topic to present it in only half an hour, therefore the presentation would be flipped, in that the full version of the presentation is made available for viewing either before or after the brief version of the presentation itself.

I have been mooting the idea of calling CALL SMALL in the literature and web artifacts posted online since 2009. At the TESOL conference this year in Atlanta I was invited to join a panel on SMALL, the topic which had been proposed as the CALL Interest Section’s academic session at the conference. This event is archived here:

In addition, I have had a proposal on the topic accepted at the CALL Research Conference in Hong Kong this coming July 10-12, 2019. You can find a full show notes description of this presentation with links to its artifacts here:

The talk proposed for Penang is addressed at a different audience than for the two major conferences, and provides a slant on the topic that is unique to the other two presentations. The presentation materials therefore bridge the two and document the online presentations, articles, and recordings I have prepared on the topic so far. By presenting in Penang in Zoom, I intended for this presentation to augment that archive.

In Zoom webcast live from the biennial PELLTA conference at the Bayview Hotel, Georgetown, Penang,, Malaysia

The Google Slides with fully functional hyperlinks are on open access here:

I made two Zoom recordings

Announcements were made at the following Facebook Groups

and on Twitter



Earlier events

Tue Apr 2 thru Apr 5 – 53rd Annual International IATEFL Conference and Exhibition – Online recordings available

4-6 April vLanguages VWBPE Virtual Worlds – Best practise in education

vLanguages @VWBPE Virtual Worlds Best Practise in Education

vLanguages is the new name of long running SLanguages, a web conference in virtual worlds (Second Life, OpenSim, Minecraft). vLanguages joins the highly academic VWBPE conference in Second Life.

Download and read the proceedings,


Tue Apr 9 2000 EST – Grand Opening of VSTE Place Minecraft server

Grand Opening VSTE Place Minecraft server Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at 8 PM Eastern!

The server has been updated and a brand new world spawned. Tuesday at 8 PM we will venture in, explore, and start building a new world. Don’t miss it! Many thankds to DarkJMKnight for his expertise and time to make this happen!


We use Discord for voice.

Join Discord and go to this voice channel.


The VSTE Place IP address is

As a reminder, this server is for educators. If you are using your child’s account to participate please do not encourage your child to use our server.

This Google doc has more info about the server:

Learning2gether asynchronously with the 53rd Annual International IATEFL Conference and Exhibition

Learning2gether Episode #408

The 53rd Annual International IATEFL Conference and Exhibition was held in Liverpool, UK on the 2nd-5th April 2019 this year. It was in Liverpool for those fortunate enough to be able or available to make the trip. For the rest of us, it happened on our computers, whether deskbound or handheld, though the online recordings available of all the conference plenaries and a healthy selection of talks.


Meanwhile TESOL has sent out this email to attendees of its recent conference

If you missed purchasing the TESOL 2019 International Convention & English Language Expo Session Recordings at the convention it’s not too late!

Catch up on over 50 sessions you didn’t have time to attend at the convention, revisit your favorite speaker presentations and continue your professional development between TESOL events. Recorded sessions make great training tools and help you stay current on the trends facing the profession.

Click here to purchase the TESOL 2019 Session Recordings Now!
Attendees are eligible for a $44 discount using the discount code: 2019TESOL

The CALL-IS Interest section in TESOL has been working for years to redress the problem, and is starting to poke its head above the radar. Some of the principle instigators of this effort reported on their work in a recent article in TESL-EJ:


Bauer-Ramazani, C., Meyer, J., Reshad, A., Stevens, V., & Watson, J. (2017). A brief history of CALL-IS webcasting in the new millennium. TESL-EJ, Volume 21, Number 1, Available: Also available at:; pp. 1-16 in pdf.

I addressed the issue of open access to conferences in a blog post last year

In that post I pointed out that IATEFL has been putting recordings of selected conference sessions online since 2011. Just click on a session, and play its recording (for free, no need to log in):

That next to last page is labeled IATEFL Online 2018 and the videos are from 2018, but there is no link to 2019 from the text in bold, Watch recordings of talks from IATEFL 2019 Liverpool. But the videos are from 2018, and the hash tag to the right is hyperlinked to, where there are also a number of videos posted.

Anyway, I admire IATEFL’s spirit of sharing. Here are more recorded resources from IATEFL

And a novel idea for teaching/learning on the hoof blogged by Pearson, Scooped by Nik Peachey

Meanwhile, a search on #TESOL2019 on Twitter,, turns up a wealth of photos, including lots of shots of presentation slides, but no video presentations (at least in the first hundred scrolls).

However, from TESOL, something I first noticed in a tweet from Nathan Hall,

Here is the link to the tweet:

Now, this is a nice gesture. It says you can access the curated virtual issue of the TESOL Quarterly’s TESOL 2019 International Convention & English Language Expo here, for free, here:

BUT only through April 30, 2019

TESOL announced this on April 9 (I looked it up after seeing Nathan’s tweet)

Nathan tweeted on April 10, I saw it on April 13. dozens of others have either retweeted and / or liked Nathan’s tweet, and the news is now spreading throughout the PLN.

But the clock is ticking. You dear reader, might be coming on this in May? or June?? Next year?

TESOL is taking tentative steps, a welcome move, but is still hesitant of putting it’s CONTENT out there, permanently

as IATEFL has done for each of its conferences, and more, since 2011

What about Webinars?

IATEFL and TESOL both hold webinars series,

From the link above “Our monthly webinars are free of charge and are open to both members and non-members of IATEFL so please feel free to tell all your colleagues and friends about them. To register, just click on the link below.”

clicking on the links presents the following

TESOL Members: Free
Global Members: Free
Nonmembers: US$50

Upcoming Virtual Seminars

Past Virtual Seminars

TESOL members can access past virtual seminars for free in the TESOL Resource Center. Select virtual seminars are available to nonmembers for purchase in the TESOL Press Bookstore.

In fairness, recordings of IATEFL webinars are available only to members

The recordings of the webinars below and the slides used during their presentations can be found in the members’ area of the IATEFL website. Please log in using your membership ID and password and then click on “webinars” to access them.

But still, you get my point 🙂

Escape the room! logo

One more note, in the spirit of sharing promoted in IATEFL, Graham Stanley posted to his Google Classroom:
Hi everyone, just wanted to share my experience at the IATEFL conference in Liverpool with you, where I ended up doing a workshop (featuring the Mystery of the Mayan Mask) for 200 teachers. I’m happy to say it went well, and I have shared the presentation here: Afterwards, I was contacted by a number of teachers who told me they were now inspired to do something similar, and by a couple of teachers who shared with me some of the escape rooms that they have already designed. If I get permission from them, I’ll share the materials with you all here. For me, the iATEFL Liverpool conference was the impulse for exploring escape rooms in ELT, as I put in to talk about them last August, with the idea that I would give myself until this conference in April to decide whether it was something I wanted to explore further.I think the reaction to the ideas has made me want to continue, especially as I see there is so much more that can be explored relating to how best to adapt escape rooms to language elearning and teaching. I hope that some of you feel the same way and look forward to you sharing what you discover here. I’m also thinking about repeating the experience of this EVO session and running it again next year.

Here is a link to the EVO session Escape the Room!!

And my point is?  ???

Sharing fosters collaboration and distribution of knowledge through robust learning networks and should be promoted in a professional organization seeking to educate upcoming generations of global citizens, starting with modeling the appropriate and relevant skills to and among teachers.

I hope that TESOL can emulate IATEFL through promotion of more widely accessible content available to the field at large, not just paid customers, from a position of leadership, keeping in mind that this stance would be deemed refreshingly progressive and could attract more paid customers.


Earlier events

Fri 22 Mar – ELT event at Bolu Abant Izzet Baysal University webcast via YouTube

Sun 24 Mar – 4 Apr – VWBPE Virtual Worlds 2019 pre-conference Immersive Experiences

and for a full calendar of events through April 19

And beyond

View Recorded Conference Sessions

Did you miss a Keynote? Were you a little distracted and would like to see a session again? Many of the conference sessions were streamed and recorded by our Stream Team, and may be viewed at the conference YouTube channel playlist


Upcoming experiences April 1-4

Mon 1 Apr 1300 Los Angeles The Queen’s Heroes in the 5 Kingdoms

Past Experiences Mar 24-30

Tue Mar 26 1300 UTC – iTDi hosts Pete Sharma – How to write for digital material

Facebook live with Pete Sharma

We’re thrilled to welcome Pete Sharma for a very special Facebook Live interview event this Tuesday, March 26th from 13:00 – 13:30 UTC.
The event will be hosted by iTDi Co-founder and Director, Steven Herder, and Philip Shigeo Brown, iTDi Director of the TESOL Certificate Course.

Pete’s website:

The recording has been made available for free –

The above graphic links to