CALL-IS Academic Session on SMALL: Research, Practice, Impact of Social Media-Assisted Language Learning – Webcasting from TESOL 2019 Atlanta

Learning2gether Episode 405

I was on the panel for CALL-IS Academic Session proposal number 1020-004276, titled, “SMALL: Research, Practice, Impact of Social Media-Assisted Language Learning,” which was included in the program proper of the TESOL 2019 convention in Atlanta. You can find it in the program on Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019, from 1300-1545 UTC

The panelists were Elke Stappart, Maria Tomeho-Palermino, Susan Gaer , Vance Stevens, and Sandy Wagner. We appear here backstage getting ready before taking center stage.


This was the link to our Academic Session page on the CALL-IS Webcasting wiki:


There were two recordings because the streaming computer crashed in the middle of our presentation, and there were also choppy audio issues that are slightly distracting but still comprehensible. But the two original recordings have by now been removed and consolidated into one long video:

In the video


We created our own wiki space to serve as a portal for our presentation

In that space, we provided information about our presentations (in the order presented)

Sandy Wagner talked on
Research on Social Media for Language Learning and Social Engagement
Presentation entitled
SMALL: Large Impacts on Language Learning and Social Engagement

  • Social Media_Assisted Language Learning (SMALL), grounded in the tenets of connectivism, offers “new virtual ecologies that afford language learning and socialization.” (Valnecia, J., 2016). Research provides deeper insights into these “new virtual ecologies” and offers a plethora of justifications, proven results, and recommendations for integration into language teaching and learning. The presenter highlights the spectrum of research-based rationale that opens the doors for greater student engagement, motivation, and interactions.
  • Link to Sandy’s slides here

Vance Stevens ( talked on
Thinking SMALL: A Case for Social Media-Assisted Language Learning
Vance’s contribution to this panel covered:

Elke Stappert (The New York Public Library/ talked on
Impact on Learning: Success Stories and Potential Drawbacks

  • Elke talked mainy about Whatsapp, with brief mention of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. She covered
    • Why Whatsapp? and how to set up a group
      • Different types of groups (by class, multiple same level classes, by topic. Set up by T or Ss)
      • from T involvement in the group to independent S communication
    • Successes (show examples / snapshots from Whatsapp groups)
    • Challenges (show examples / snaphots)
    • Conclusion: Choose best format for YOUR learning environment and set up clear rules
  • Elke’s presentation in Google slides (no link here)

Susan Gaer presented on
Social Media/Network Practical Examples

  • In a cleverly conceived video presentation, Susan demoed her ESL low beginning class from 2017 using Facebook Groups. She talked about the process she went through, how she used FB groups, and the benefits that she saw in terms of student engagement, extension and enhancement using Facebook Groups with ELL immigrant adult students at the low beginning level
  • Watch Susan’s video presentation here:

We announced that viewers could view the stream in these spaces

Here is more information about my presentation as part of the panel:

Vance Stevens presentation on Thinking SMALL: A Case for Social Media-Assisted Language Learning

Here is my slide show for the presentation

and a graphic I had included in the slide show:

In the presentation I described how I have been involved with bringing CALL enthusiasts together at TESOL since helping co-found the CALL-IS Interest section in 1985

  • I started engaging students in online spaces around 1998 with my online course Writing for Webheads which introduced features that presaged many introduced by Moodle in 2002 and Facebook in 2004.
  • In 2002 WfW morphed into Webheads in Action, a community of practice of language learning practitioners that formed to model for one another how to bring Web 2.0 to bear on teacher professional development. Web 2.0 was being gradually introduced to the popular zeitgeist before Tim O’Reilly made the term mainstream at the Media Web 2.0 Conference in 2004.
  • Principles worked out by WiA were put into action in three worldwide Webheads in Action Online Convergences in 2005, 2007, and 2009.
  • By 2010 I had converted the 72-hour webcastathon model to a more manageable weekly event called Learning2gether, which has just completed its 400th podcast.
  • I started mooting replacing the acronym CALL with SMALL, Social Media Assisted Language Learning, at the 2009 TESOL Conference in Denver.

Meanwhile colleagues identifying with Webheads were actively engaging in the CALL-IS Interest Section and in the TESOL Electronic Village Online. EVO sessions perpetuated the movement to bring educators up to speed with Web 2.0 and social media by helping them through their personal paradigm shifts and tool kits to utilize with their approach to their students.

  • One example was the EVO session Multiliteracies, which started out as a certificate course in the TESOL Principles and Practices of Online Teaching program. Multiliteracies increasingly took on elements of cMOOCs, following the emergence of connectivism as a learning theory for a new age, and itself merged into an EVO session called MultiMOOC.
  • Introducing gamification into the mix, I co-founded and have helped nurture and develop EVO Minecraft MOOC for the past 5 years.

Accordingly, my contribution to this panel covered:

  1. My involvement in social media assisted language learning since last century, before Moodle and FB were invented, before the terms Web 2.0 and MOOC were coined, as explained in his 2014 article Connectivist Learning: Reaching Students through Teacher Professional Development
  2. My consistent promotion of the term SMALL since his presentation at TESOL 2009 in Denver, at a session celebrating 25 years of CALL-IS
  3. Preliminary results (60 responses so far) from a survey aimed at gauging educators’ perceptions of various aspects of using social media with each other and with students.

Wed Mar 13 through Fri Mar 15 – Catch the live stream courtesy of the CALL-IS Webcasting Team

Selected presentations were streamed live from TESOL Atlanta by the TESOL CALL-IS Webcasting team. Here is a list of those selected and links to their recordings:

Find the CALL-IS Electronic Village (and including the Technology Showcase) program online here:

I webcast myself from the Electronic Village, but for the remaining events, I was part of the webcasting team using OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) to stream from two locations at the conference. The following article tells more about our efforts streaming and webcasting from TESOL conferences for the past two decades:

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.

Here are some pictures of the webcasting team in action in Atlanta (more when I find them):


Martha Ramirez being webcast live by Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Christine’s picture, posted here with permission. Sandy Wagner took the picture below at my request with my camera.


Vance Stevens presents on Supporting Student Writing with the Help of Voice-to-Text

Learning2gether Episode #403

On Thursday, March 7, 2019, Jim Buckingham invited Vance to meet his teacher colleagues at Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman, online in Zoom to share insights into giving feedback on student writing in a digital age. We start from what the teachers are doing currently with student writing at SQU and see if any of my recent research and publications on the issue will be of relevance to them.

This presentation demonstrated techniques in providing students with feedback on their writing  while utilizing Google Docs with voice input via features native to tablet and mobile devices. The presentation was in three parts.

The first part starts with a demonstration of using Google Docs with students through video evidence of its effectiveness.

The second part shows how the kind of feedback illustrated in the video can be performed by the teacher using voice tools rather than keyboard. This frees the teacher to move among the students in a classroom and provide feedback by speaking into a handheld device, while the spoken feedback shows up as comments in the student’s Google Doc.

The third part shows how teachers can encourage writing fluency by collecting student writing on paper and then speaking what the student wrote, in correct English, into Google Docs. The teacher returns the original paper to the student with a printout of what the student said expressed in correct language. On the printout the teacher has written suggestions for holistic development of what the student is trying to communicate. The student works in Google Docs to act on the suggestions for revision and improvement made by the teacher, and subsequent revision cycles address both accuracy and fluency, but with a version of the student’s work which is not bogged down in accuracy from the outset.

Here is a breakdown of the presentation

7:41 min – Introduction – 3 Parts of the Presentation are Introduced – Why Google docs is my tool of choice for teaching.
10:38 min – Part 1 – Screencast – Demonstration of “real-time” Teacher to Student feedback using Google Docs.
13:34 min – Part 2 – “Just in Time” feedback – Teacher making comments on student work
16:41 min – Live demonstration with the group on using “Voice to Text” in a Google doc comment.
25:30 min – Part 3 – Using “Voice to Text” to encourage student revision
36:00 min – Q&A – How does the technique increase accuracy?
39:55 min – Q&A – Might this have a practical application in the CPS Writing Center?
41:12 min – Comment – The technique could help students with getting feedback on writing structure
42:30 min – Q&A – Does the technique run the risk of discouraging/diminishing student effort?
45:09 min – Q&A – Did you ask students for their feedback on the technique?
46:03 min – Q&A – Can students interact with the teacher in the same way? ie. using “Voice to Text”
49:39 min – Q&A – Is it possible to insert “voice recordings” into Google Docs?

A Twitter back-channel was made available during the presentation. Participants were told they could ask questions and/or tweet about this presentation at #squvance


The presentation had three phases
As explained in this slide presentation

This presentation is accessible via this conveniently mnemonic URL here:

1. Why Google Docs is a my tool of choice for providing feedback on writing

  • A great example of student interaction with a teacher in Google Docs

2. How teachers can use voice to provide just-in-time feedback to students in class on their writing

  • Derived from
    Stevens, V.  (2015). Finding Your Voice: Teaching Writing Using Tablets with Voice Capability. TESL-EJ, Volume 19, Number 3, Available:; Also available at :; pp. 1-11 in pdf.
  • This is basically about using voice to make corrections in Google Docs to compositions the students are composing on their devices.
    • The teacher logs on to Google Docs and puts a student’s work on a data show connected to the class PC
    • The teacher logs on to Google Docs on his mobile device and carries it to where the students are, and advises them individually about revisions needed
    • While advising, the teacher creates comments in the students’ papers and speaks those comments into his/her device
    • The comments appear in the composition the student has open in Google Docs, and also on the data show where other students can see it
    • The students act on those revisions and the teacher works with them

3. How teachers can use voice to help students who start writing on paper increase fluency and possibly accuracy

Jim Buckingham has prepared a document and distributed it in advance to faculty at SQU

In that document I left a question for SQU teachers

I am told you have PC labs that students can’t practically access, but that your students have mobiles that your teachers may or may not be utilizing. Given these conditions, how do you teach writing?

In order more me to address the issue of what is practical there I need to know how the teachers are teaching writing, what the problems are, do they use the mobiles already in writing, if so how? and so on.

The SQU context (audience)

  • SQU has 6 computer labs shared among 200 instructors and booked solid almost constantly so access to them is limited. However, mobile phones are everywhere and thus commonly available in the classroom.

The KBZAC context (my most recent teaching assignment)

What I was addressing at the aviation college was large classes 20 students or so, each in possession of a device. At one time they all had PCs, at the end they all had iPads. There are three issues.

  1. Getting the students to write. I have always had them write in Google Docs no matter what the device, which is a great tool for a teacher to collect writing and quickly give feedback. But in large classes many let themselves slip through the cracks. Minimal effort, not much follow through on revision, with some exceptions.
  2. When they did write, getting feedback to them. When they had PCs they had keyboards. They could respond to feedback. With iPads or mobiles I suppose, more problematic. I began looking at ways for me to use voice to speed the feedback process. When the iPads appeared I got students to start on paper and then used my voice to read what they had written into Google Docs.
  3. Revision. I can work quickly in Docs using voice. My early work is about walking around a room and giving feedback orally on my device that would then show up on the student’s and might also be projected on the screen in front. It was effective for reading over students’ shoulders and working with students where they sat, not from the front of the room. My later research when students lost keyboards with switch to iPad showed students responded to the technique you read about. Not all of them, not the crack-slippers, they didn’t care. But if I converted what was on paper into a Google Doc, the students were in many cases willing to revise that.

If I were teaching there at SQU I could get my students to use my technique, or the more open minded to, as I did in my aviation college context. But in that context the other teachers didn’t care how I did it. Each teacher taught writing his/her way. Exam results were always abysmal for writing. Nothing was effective, the usual way because it wasn’t, my way because I couldn’t get enough students on board to provide traction, and also I tended to be shunted between classes and rarely got more than 2-3 weeks with any class of students at the time I was doing my research.

Given these ‘limitations’ on my study I was quite pleased to get the notably positive response from the students who increased their output in writing through following my technique, a sampling of whom I have documented in my results.


Facebook Groups

Google+ Communities

Earlier events

Wed Feb 20 12pm EST – EFLIS webinar on Conversation Analysis in the Language Classroom

EFLIS are pleased to announce the 4th and last EFLIS webinar for this year 2018-2019.
I hope you can make it! Information on the webinar and how to access it is below:

TitleConversation Analysis in the Language Classroom

Date: Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Time: 12 PM to 1PM EST (NY time)

Presenter: Dr. Catherine Box, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Abstract: This webinar will explore practical ways in which insights from Conversation Analysis (CA) can enhance classroom practices. First, we will examine some of the basic tenets of CA. The bulk of our time together will explore applying CA to the Language Classroom. Specifically, we will discuss (1) how CA can be helpful to decide what to teach, and (2) how CA can help us to either create or adapt materials in order to provide students in the SL/FL classroom with authentic learning experiences. Focus will be on the practical, rather than theoretical, aspects of CA.

Presenter Bio: Catherine Box is a Lecturer in Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on utilizing CA principles to inform language instruction, particularly in K-12 ESL settings. She teaches in the M.S.Ed. TESOL program, where she teaches TESOL methods and practica to budding ESL/EFL teachers. She holds an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she served for three years as full-time faculty in the TESOL K-12 Program.

Webinar Access:

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Fri Feb 22 to Sun Feb 24 – Nellie Deutsch hosts 10th annual free connecting online conference 2019

Nellie Deutsch would like to invite you to the annual free connecting online conference for 2019:

She writes: “This is our tenth anniversary. The conference will take place online via Moodle for Teachers from February 22 to 24. Click to join the conference area so you can enter the live online classes, view the recordings, learn about the presenters and their sessions, engage with the other participants, reflect, and get your badges and final certificate:

You may view the recordings, if you cannot make the live online classes. There will be badges and a free certificate for attending or watching the recordings, reflecting, and learning. Let the learning begin!”

Wed Feb 25 1030 ET – 2nd of 3 TESOL Webinars free to TESOL members – Exemplary Teaching with the SIOP Model

Bringing the 6 Principles for Exemplary Teaching of English Learners to Life With the SIOP Model

Presenter: Deborah Short

Date: Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Time: 10:30 am–12:00 pm ET

Registration Deadline: 25 February 2019

Register to attend or be notified of link to recording:

Register for FREE! (free for TESOL members; $50 for non-members)

Mon Feb 26 or Tue Feb 27 2000 EST Kim Harrison discusses Symbaloo on VSTE Island in Second Life

Kim Harrison invited the VSTE VE PLN which she moderates to an event “Tonight on VSTE Island at 5 PM SLT (8PM EST)” This was received by me “today” Feb 26, at 6:56 AM

Here is what Kim posted:

Symbaloo is not a new tool, but maybe it’s one you’ve never tried. Maybe the way you once shared URLs with your students has disappeared as devices have changed. Since the dawn of the 1 to 1 Chromebook in my district the network space we used to share jump off pages has gone away. My old friend Symbaloo has returned to rescue us in a big way.

Tonight on VSTE Island we will share Symbaloo and other cool tools that help make teaching and learning easier.

If you don’t have a Second Life account get one, it’s free. We recommend setting one up at the Rockcliffe University Consortium’s Gateway here: Download and install the software. While your Second Life viewer (software) is open click this link…/104/22 and voila! Look for an avatar on VSTE Island and say, “Hey, I’m new!” We will take care of the rest.

Thu Feb 28 1800 UTC Eurocall VW SIG host Margherita Berti on use of VR in the language classroom

Our first webinar presenter of the season is Margherita Berti who, on THURSDAY 28Tth FEBRUARY at 6pm GMT, will talk to us about her research on the use of VR in the Language Classroom.

Title: “You can almost feel like you are in the place presented”: Implementing Virtual Reality in the Language Classroom

Description: This webinar illustrates principles and practices regarding the use of virtual reality to foster cultural awareness in the language classroom. Findings collected during a cultural immersion experience with beginner and intermediate L2 Italian students revealed that virtual reality allowed learners to see and discover diverse cultural layers, practices and perspectives in authentic and contextualized environments. Affordances and constraints of virtual reality for language learning will also be discussed.

Bio: Margherita Berti is a doctoral student in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) program at the University of Arizona. Her current research focuses on the integration of technology tools for pedagogical purposes in foreign language courses. She has presented papers at various conferences such as ACTFL, AAAL, and CALICO and published articles and reviews in academic journals as Issues and Trends in Educational Technology (ITET) and CALICO Journal.

Details about the venue (Adobe Acrobat) will be shared closer to the date.Feel free to disseminate!Best regards,Susanna & Chris

Here’s a link to the recording for those who were there and want to watch it again, or disseminate it and for those who could not make it.

Fri Mar 1 1300 UTC EVO Minecraft MOOC convenes to discuss moving from Google+ Communities to Moodle

Whither EVOMC20?

How can we replace Google+ Communities. Rose Bard proposes Moodle. Vance and Jane concur.

But what do you think? We plan to meet and discuss.

Here is the time wherever you are:

It is proposed to

  • meet in discord
  • meet in discord and Minecraft as well (optional) and record the meeting to allow others to follow the discussion

Hi all. As the clock counts down on the demise of this marvelous home for our community, many of us are actively considering where we should move to. If you have any thoughts on the best all-in-one home for our continued sharing and discussion, please add them here. If you’d like to talk it over live, you can meet us in Discord at 1300 UTC on March 1. It might be fun and appropriate to pop into Minecraft while we’re at it, if that’s not too distracting, though the focus would be on the discussion.

The following is from a thread in FB which captures one part of the genesis of this proposed meeting

<Rose BardVance Stevens and I talked about Moodle Livre. Now that I can work on the computer again, I need to discuss this with the team. The great thing about Moodle is that we can link the blog (wordpress) into it and use the blog as external tool to the community. Let’s have a meeting in Discord this week to discuss it.
<Jane ChienAbsolutely! Mattie Tsai will be reading this tomorrow, and he’d be touched as well. Great suggestion! Moodle is better than Google Classroom! we’ll set up a discord meeting this week.

<Jane ChienVance Stevens I think Friday March 1st 1300 UTC works well. I’ve checked with Olive, Rose, and Dak. I’ll ask Don and Mircea as well.

To join us in Discord, follow these instructions

Instructions for joining us in Minecraft are here

Mon Mar 4 Webinar on Error Correction: Tips & Techniques for Language Teachers

Nikki Ashcraft

Dear TESOLers:

Please join me, the University of Missouri, and VIPKID for a free 1-hour webinar on “Error Correction: Tips & Techniques for Language Teachers” on Monday, March 4, from 6-7 p.m. EST.

Register to watch the recording, even if you can’t participate in the live session. Become more aware of your error correction practice and develop new strategies as well! Great for novice teachers as well as experienced teachers who want to improve the effectiveness of their error correction.

Nikki Ashcraft
Associate Teaching Professor
University of Missouri

Tue Mar 5 0100 UTC Minecraft Monday Treehouse Challenge

Kim Harrison a.k.a. K4sons has announced Minecraft Monday TONIGHT! 8 PM EST (March 4, 2019)

Our task will be to:

Work individually or in teams to create your own treehouse. Try to create a functional shelter within the branches of a nearby tree. Challenge yourself by setting a time limit. Don’t forget a ladder or stairs to get in! We can build in creative then switch to survival to see if we can survive the night!

We’ll meet at VSTE Place and use Discord so we can chat.

Learning2gether with the Electronic Village Online 2019 closing ceremony

Learning2gether Episode 402

On Sunday, February 17 Electronic Village Online coordinators, moderatators, and participants held their 2019 closing ceremony online in Zoom, hosted by Nellie Deutsch. Here is the video:

EVO Sessions is a series of 5-week online workshops on digital skills for language educators, organised by TESOL CALL-IS

At the Closing Ceremony Jane Chien and Vance Stevens spoke on behalf of EVO Minecraft MOOC, at the link starting here:
from 31:42 in the video to 38:33

Here are the slides shared during the event

The Zoom Meeting was held here:

Who’s invited?

EVO, participants, coordinators, and moderators

From the EVO 2019 Coordination team

  • Christine Bauer-Ramazani – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Vance Stevens – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Jane Chien – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Nellie Deutsch – Ed.D – organizer – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Martha Ramirez- Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Sibel Taskin Simsek – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Natasa Bozic Grojic- Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event if available (will know when her teaching schedule is set)
  • Also on the team: Mbarek Akaddar, Carolina R. Buitrago, Sanja Bozinovic, Jose Antonio Da Silva, John Graney, Ayat Tawel, and Sheryl McCoy

Basic Linguistics for English Language Teachers

  • Carmen Medina – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Lana Hiasat – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Roslyn Billy – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event

CEFR vs assessment

  • Maha Hassan – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Also on moderating team: Aya EL Wakil

Classroom-based research for professional development

  • Moderating team: Kenan Dikilitas, Asli Saglam, Babita Sharma Chapagain, Eraldemir Tuyan, Seden Evans, Michelle Ghazal, Sadeqa Mazzei, Ruben Serra, Mariana Loreto Aliaga, Lidia Casalini

Escape the (class) room

  • Heike Philp – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Graham Stanley – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Randall Sadler – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event

EVO MInecraft MOOC

  • Jane Chien – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Vance Stevens – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Heike Philp – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Also on moderating team: Maha Abdelmoneim, Rose Bard, Don Carroll, David Dodgson, Kim Harrison, Jeff Kuhn, Beth O’Connell, Mircea Patrascu, Dakota Redstone, Aaron Schwartz, Filip Smolčec, Mariana Smolčec, and Bobbi Stevens

Flipped Learning

  • Juliana Diaz for Flipped Learning – Presenting live on-site in Atlanta at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Martha Ramirez- Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Also on moderating team: John Graney, Jeff Magoto, Katja Auffret, Carolina R. Buitrago, Juliana Díaz, Gabriela Garibotto, Birgit Jensen, and Diana Salazar (who presented live on-site at TESOL Chicago 2018)

Getting online as a teacherpreneur

  • Harshita Kapoor – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Nellie Deutsch – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event


  • Moderating team: Ayat Tawel, Jose Antonio Da Silva, Mariana Smolčec, Sneza Filipovic, Efrossini Zoniou, Sanja Bozinovic, Angiolini Tiziana, and Svetlana Obenausova

Job-oriented training for ESP teachers

  • Moderating team: Ozimova Halima, Tohir Sultanov, Mavjuda Shakhakimova, Gulnoza Egamova, Yokut Sharipova, Odil Quvvatov, Kalanov Ulugbek, Tohtasinov Dilshod, Sherzod Gulomov Siroj, Zumratkhon Shukurova, Guzal Zahidova, Mansurkhonov Kamoliddin, and Galina Suleymanova

Moodle 4 teachers

  • Nellie Deutsch – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event

Mother tongue use in the ESL classroom

  • Moderating team: Georgios Neokleous and Anna Krulatz


  • Moderating team: Maria Laura Mas, Paula Penelas, and Fernanda Pascuet

QR Codes in Action

  • Sibel Taskin Simsek – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Nellie Deutsch – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Also on moderating team: Nezaket Köymen Özgirin

Teaching EFL to Young Learners

  • Nellie Deutsch – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Also on moderating team: Judy Wong, Charles Goodger, Julie Pratten Kacmaz, Sheryl McCoy, and Nives Torresi

Teaching Pronunciation differently

  • Moderating team: Roslyn Young, Piers Messum, Carrie Terry, and Arizio Sweeting


  • Daniela Cuccurullo – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event
  • Letizia Cinganotto – Presenting from a distance at the Best of EVO 2019 event



Earlier events


Fri Feb 8 Learning2gether episode 401 – Michiyo joins EVO Minecraft MOOC participants in a deliberately executed tomb raid


While EVO Minecraft MOOC is in session through Mid February, earlier events are being archived here:


Sat Feb 9 Nives Torresi, Dena McCoy, and Sheryl McCoy present on materials for the low-resource classroom


Wed Feb 13 1030 ET – 1st of 3 TESOL Webinars free to TESOL members – Supporting Students With Interrupted Formal Education


Supporting Students With Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE)


Presenters: Judith O’Loughlin and Brenda Custodio


Date: Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Time: 10:30 am–12:00 pm ET

Registration Deadline: 11 February 2019

Register to attend or be notified of link to recording:


Register for FREE! (free for TESOL members; $50 for non-members)



Rose Bard, Dakota Redstone, and Jane Chien host Building Challenge on EVO Minecraft 1.12.2 server

Learning2gether Episode 399

This Building Challenge took place on the EVO Minecraft MOOC 1.12.2 server on Sunday, January 27, 2019, at 1400 UTC. It was hosted by Rose Bard, Dakota Redstone, and Jane Chien, with Don Carroll aka Abu Fletcher taking charge as natural master of ceremonies. The event was recorded by Vance Stevens as episode 399 (erroneously announced in the recording as being episode 499 — we’ll get there; wait for it). EVO Minecraft MOOC resides at https//missions4evomc.

Here is a document entitled Building Challenge for Language Learners professionally prepared by Rose, Dakota, and Jane:

Teacher Vance made this recording

The event was announced here:

This says that +Rose Bard, +Dakotah Redstone, and Jane Chien are hosting a building challenge. This is an activity designed for beginning English language learners. Please join us for a test run and we welcome your input afterwards.

Place: EVOMC19 Server, we’ll meet at /warp 14k

Here’s how to join our events

  1. Purchase your login to Minecraft from Mojang
    With your login credentials, all logins plus software downloads including server software and client software for multiple devices are free;
    you pay around $30 for your unique login credential
  2. Register with EVO Minecraft MOOC by filling in the Google form,
    Here you tell us your Minecraft user name so we can whitelist you on our server
  3. Once we’ve whitelisted you, you can create a profile in Minecraft for build 1.12.2 and drop by our EVOMC19 server at this address
    For detailed instructions, see
  4. Once you’re in Minecraft we can text chat
    If you want to speak to us in voice, activate Discord by following these instructions
  5. Use the Minecraft text chat window to warp to 14k. At the beginning of the line type, starting with the slash /
    /warp 14k

Vance didn’t stream the event. I was distracted getting Discord to work.


Earlier events


Mon Jan 21 1400 UTC Learning2gether with EVO MInecraft MOOC

This posting includes the Sat Jan 19 1300 UTC

1.13.2 server extreme survival adventure


Tue Jan 22 1330-1500 UTC Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear hold a Guided Practice Sandbox on the EVO Minecraft MOOC 1.12.2 server

Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear plan to hold a Guided practice on the EVO Minecraft MOOC 1.12.2 server today Jan 22 from around 13:30 (we hope to get back home in time for it) until 15:00 max (bedtime)

This is for anyone with questions or who wants some guided practice or who just feels like playing and happens to be there. We’ll be in Minecraft 1.12.2 and in Discord.

What did we do?

EVO moderators met in Discord and talked about how to help participants who were weak in English. In the background we worked on our projects individually. Teacher Vance traveled to the 20k area and found a desert temple there. I hope to return there with an expedition to excavate it.


Wed Jan 23 1300-1500 UTC EVO Minecraft MOOC helps Michiyo build a home

No event was declared for today, but Teacher Vance went into Discord at around 1300 UTC to see who was there. Rose was there working on a project she was planning with Jane. I went to the server and found Michiyo there. I tracked her down wandering around the boat buildings near the Birch House. I asked her what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to build a house, so we wandered up the hill opposite the causeway leading out to the floating structures. I found a flat area, a clearing in the woods, and as the sun was getting low on the horizon, I suggested we build there.

We set to it. There was not a lot of conversation because Michiyo wasn’t in Discord and there was little time for text. I decided to model the process. I laid down dirt walls and when it got dark I planted some torches. When I ran out of dirt I added cobblestone for the ceiling. Michiyo followed my actions and helped building.

Soon Dak arrived, followed by Jane. By then I had pulled some glass from my inventory and made windows, and donated my bed (I can always make another). Dak added a door and attractive flooring. When Jane arrived I left them to complete the job because I had a real life dinner cooking in another room. When I returned next day, I found the place appearing much as I had last seen it.

There have been discussions among moderators as to the “correct” approach to getting newcomers into the game. Ideally it would be good to have workshops IF we could get people to attend them. Workshops can lead people efficiently into building, but self-guided tutorials are helpful for just-in-time learning. My approach is to just “be” on the server when I can and help people when they have a question. So when Michiyo said she wanted to learn to build, I was there to model it for her. Now that she knows what she wants to do, and as she often drops by the server, we learn more about how we can guide her, but in the MOOC way, in response to learning what SHE wants to know.

Both approaches have their merits. It’s good if a group of moderators can work on both approaches in aggregate.

There has also been much discussion about how we can help participants who are weak in English improve their language skills, or at least achieve a point of flow where they feel comfortable to where they want to learn enough language of their own accord to interact with us in English, and we have in fact written a lot ourselves on the language benefits we believe accrue from playing Minecraft, but that is for another post, perhaps for discussion of some sort as suggested by Don in this post on the Google+ Community.

But meanwhile, here is Michiyo’s house:

Sat Jan 26 0400-0600 UTC Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear host Sandbox Adventure on EVO Minecraft 1.12.2 server


We have created a Doodle Poll for Saturday Jan 26 for the times in the morning we can be available.

You can find the poll here, hopefully times given in your time zone (starting at 2 am UTC, 8 pm in Chicago):


If you’d like to join us, indicate your availability in the poll,

we’ll see it, and we’ll schedule a time we will definitely be in Minecraft when we know that others can be there.

We can either meet with no plan, or if you would like an adventure, we can explore the jungle mansion near the spawn point

Or go looking for desert temples. Teacher Vance knows where two are, at least one of which (the one pictured above) is likely unexplored (hence not yet looted).

Pictures from the Sandbox Adventure Sat Jan 26

In the end, EVOMC19 participants were online only briefly, so Dak and I chatted in Discord while Teacher Vance roamed around the server, making discoveries which would help me lead adventures later and creating paths.

In search of the Woodland Mansion I happened on mountains where alpacas live. There were several herds of brown and white ones.

I found a tower just west of my homestead

Southwest of that I came across a village. The alpacas were in the mountains in between.

 I created a path from the village heading back toward the tower but I didn’t complete it because Dakota appeared and helped me find the mansion

I spent my last two hours in world setting a torch trail from the mansion back to Dak’s mushroom tower. The last part nearest the tower was over treetops (no torches)

Dak helped me find my way through the tunnel and into the pools to the north that exited again to the north on views overlooking my house and his builds

My way was torch-lit already up the mountain to my Scraggly Tower and down to my mountain eyrie, where I found a bed and a good night’s rest






Learning2gether with EVO Minecraft MOOC – Wilderness adventure trek to Black_Kitten’s village

Learning2gether Episode 398

The 2019 rendition of EVO Minecraft MOOC,, entered its second week on Sunday, January 20. On that day I had announced my availability for around 1400 UTC in one of our Guided sandbox practice sessions  where I promise that Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear will be online to meet participants in-world and help in whatever way we can to get them up and functioning on our EVO Minecraft MOOC 1.12.2 server.

In my guise as Teacher Vance, I went online at the appointed time and found “Black_Kitten” there. The odd thing was, she was in the game in text chat, but I couldn’t find her on the map, here. She was confused herself about where she was. She had built a house somewhere on our server but had wandered away from it and now couldn’t get back to it.  So I offered to teleport to where she was, and I found her in a village with an extensive library and librarians who will trade emeralds for paper. But having joined her, I couldn’t even find myself on the map now, so we were both lost.

She said she could find her house if she could start back at the spawn point on our server, so we both warped there, to the Birch House, and she showed me how to get to her house from there. It was an interesting way: she entered a warp closet in the Birch House and we were both teleported to an area that Dakotah Redstone had recently located as a “wilderness” area, and once I’d followed her there I knew exactly what I was going to do for my streamed event which I had set the next day, and which I immediately announced as follows:

Mon Jan 21 1400 UTC – Learning2gether with EVO MInecraft MOOC – Wilderness adventure trek to Black_Kitten’s village to help develop the seaport there

I managed to stream it successfully and here is the recording (

Where? My instructions were to meet at Birch House on the EVO Minecraft MOOC 1.12.2 server. Birch House is the 2019 spawn point, or from anywhere on the server, you can use /warp 14k to get there.

Or join the stream: We wanted people to join us on the server, but I told people to look for what’s streaming on Vance’s YouTube channel:

i said we would use Dak’s Wilderness Warp in the BirchHouse to arrive in The Wilderness, an untamed and as yet unmapped place where the air is clear and the land pristine. When we arrive we’ll head west, the direction shown in this image.

But you can see in the video that when I got there, I told the group to go east, my bad – fortunately others knew the way so we eventually arrived at “Black Kitten’s Village,” which I also found out had another name, Riverbend.

Black Kitten had told me the day before that she wanted help finding clay to make flower pots and in setting up a kind of dock to act as an exchange point for travelers who might find her home. I followed up on that by adding a few planks of wood to the extended pier, but soon went off to try and find what others were doing.

Apart from that, the village, and the area, was interesting to explore.  Don Carroll (Abu Fletcher), Dakotah Redstone, Jane Chien, OliveTree Lighthouse, Mircea Patrascu, and Mattie had all turned out for it. The group soon focused on helping  Abu Fletcher build a swank California style house near the village. I built a tunnel from there up to a bridge that I discovered Dak had built (in case you were wondering what I was doing for much of my time in the video), and in the end we visited where OliveTree and Dak are curing a zombie on a mountain top near the 24k warp point, and learned some details about that process.


Earlier events

Sat Jan 12 1400 UTC Electronic Village Online 2019 Kickoff event


EVO Minecraft MOOC also left a record of its first week of activity

Mon Jan 14 noon UTC – Guided sandbox practice – EVO Minecraft MOOC server with Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear

Vance and Bobbi team up to meet and greet visitors to the 2019 EVO Minecraft MOOC server each day this week at noon UTC

This is 4 am in California (say what??), 5 am in Colorado (maybe for lumberjacks), 6 am in Chicago (gotta be up for work anyway) but 7 am eastern time USA and western South America up through 11:00 in Brasil (y’all can manage that can’t you?)

The rest is easy: noon in London, 14:00 in Cape Town, 16:00 in Dubai and Moscow, 17:30 in New Delhi, 19:00 in Bangkok, 20:00 in S’pore and Shanghai, 21:00 in Seoul and Tokyo, and 23:00 in Sydney

What happened during the event



Mon Jan 14 1300 UTC – Dakota Redstone and Maha Abelmoneim help you Hug a Creeper on the EVOMC 1.13 Aquatic server

“Share the Love” will be held on Monday, 14 January 2019, 13:00 UTC
This event will take place using Minecraft version 1.13, hosted on the “Aquatic” server

How to join us? ADAPT these instructions:

How to adapt? Use these details where you enter the IP address of the server: and enter using a 1.13.2 profile

RECORDING from  the Share the Love – Hug a Creeper event at 1300 UTC Mon Jan 14

YouTube link:

More information:

About “Share the Love” – a.k.a. Hug a Creeper – lessons in seeing things differently, or “Why dying’s not so bad after all”. We’ll talk about the meaning behind the event during or after we finish it, according to the preferences of the participants.

NOTE: this event will take place using Minecraft version 1.13, hosted on the “Aquatic” server… If you would be interested in attending, please let us know if you need some assistance in getting more familiar/comfortable prior to the event.


Monday Jan 14 at 1800 UTC – The Treasures of The Halls of Knowledge On EVO Minecraft 1.12 Server

Follow the white path, read the signs, be guided by tiles of gold, listen to the messages, talk to helpful villagers and travelers, find your way to the halls of knowledge and claim your treasure of gold. Remember to take pictures and at the end take a selfie to show everyone your achievement.

This activity has two  main objectives:

  1. Guide participants who are new to gaming in general and Minecraft in particular through learning the basic skills of how to move and interact with different in-game tools and items. 
  2. Give participants an opportunity to  experience an example of some of the Minecraft items and functions/mechanics that can be used in learning activities.

Tue Jan 15 noon UTC – Guided sandbox practice – EVO Minecraft MOOC server with Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear

What happened during the event

Here, Teacher Vance shows Michiyo how to make a bed (she asked me how it was done)

The screenshot below shows my desktop showing my map view plus my Minecraft window where I had a crafting table open. I passed Michiyo a link to the screenshot in MC text chat so she could see how it was done. I had left her some wool in one of the boxes, and she already had the planks, so she made a bed which she carried with her on our next adventure

Here is the map which anyone can see through this link (zoomed in about 5 levels)


Tue Jan 15 1300-2100 UTC Dak in Minecraft – Expedition to explore the Woodland Mansion

What happened during the event

We started out on a path not far from the 2018 Longhouse where Michiyo found a horse and mounted it while we waited for Dakota Redstone to arrive and start the next adventure

It was getting dark (and Bobbi had to call her mom :-), so Vance and Michiyo warped to the Woodland Mansion, but it turned out to have been already tamed. I (Teacher Vance) saw from the map that we were not far from southeast of the spawn point for this year so we headed on a northwest trek, digging an L shaped cave to stay safe one night, then putting our beds on a well-lit beach the next (I always carry torches). I reached the Birch Mansion at the spawn point the following day but Michiyo, who had been trekking wonderfully for the past half hour, even following in swims downstream, somehow drowned just short of the goal. It was time to return to real life anyway 🙂 so I quickly completed the trip alone.


Wed Jan 16 noon UTC – Guided sandbox practice – EVO Minecraft MOOC server with Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear

What happened?

Michiyo was on the server but she had to go and tend to her studies. Mattie Tsai, Jane Chien’s son, was there and I noticed he was in the vicinity of a house he must have built in a swamp not far from the spawn point, so I headed out overland to reach the spot. It’s about a day’s trek from the spawn point if you know where you are going, but I didn’t so it took me longer, two nights. The second night I camped out on a beach on my bed and survived the night. Next morning I found myself surrounded by slime. Olivetree in Discord told me they were hostile, but I could slay them for slime balls, so I did that.

Moments later I found Mattie, mired in the swamp, and under attack by zombies which I slew snicker snack with my vorpal blade.

Maneuvering around Mattie I found that he was changing color from gray

To red, to grey / red, and back and forth again.  I sent a screen shot to Olivetree and Dak in Discord, for their diagnosis.

Dakota in Discord explained that Mattie had unfortunately, erm, uh, passed away. His mom will be sorry to know that.

From there I retraced my steps back to my house near the spawn point and laid down a track as I went, in shoveled earth and in torches.

Next day I will try to improve the path. I may lay a similar one from the spawn point to the Woodland Mansion, though bereft of it’s original mobs, it seems to be of little interest to hard-core community members.


Thu Jan 17 noon UTC – Guided sandbox practice – EVO Minecraft MOOC server with Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear

What happened?

Today we all gathered at the longhouse (/warp longhouse). Several moderators were there as well as participant Michiyo, one of Abu Fletcher’s students. Mattie was around as well but somehow got stuck in the APLACKA

We decided to follow the river over to Jo Kay’s old place. We survived the night there. In the morning we went up the mountain looking for Rose Bard’s old place but  couldn’t recall how to get there. But I spotted a settlement of some kind to the northwest.

I was using the map and trying to keep the group together for most of the day. But people dropped back one by one. As you can see in the map view below, it’s after midnight already and I can see the lights of the village. I’m heading for it. It was getting late in real life too. I just wanted to reach it before I had to leave the server, or die in the attempt. I survived by spending the night in a tower.


Fri Jan 18 noon UTC – Guided sandbox practice – EVO Minecraft MOOC server with Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear

What we did

Michiyo appeared at the appointed time, and I joined her at the spawn point. We decided to go in search of the House of Knowledge which entails talking to avatars outside the birch house and then following the speckled white path to the riverside where boats are waiting. I got in a boat and invited her to do the same. I saw her in the river and she kept going down it in a fast-paced swim, so I followed. I finally caught up with her near the mouth of the river at the edges of terra incognito. Dusk was near, so we planted torches, laid out some beds, and made it light again, since it was only us on the server.

I asked if she wanted to go back or onward, she said onward, so we explored the coastline to a point where we could see Dak’s mushroom structure on the mountain top in the distance to the west.  It was getting dark so we set up beds in torchlight where we were and survived safely until it got light suddenly.

I said I would remain one more Minecraft day and suggested we head back toward the mushroom structure. We traveled through a forest and came to the back of the mountain where we climbed up toward the mushroom on the other side and walked on the top of it, where passing clouds sometimes obscured our view on the green valley below. It was getting dark so I started heading toward my home base via my mountain tunnel to the north.

I lost Michiyo suddenly and Dak told me in DIscord that she had found his secret tunnel and would emerge the other side, so I went down the mountain to try and intercept her. I could see on our map that we were right on top of one another, though she was inside the mountain. I started up the mountain to my tower on the top and since it was dark I laid torches for her to follow.

She found them and was soon nearby. We were nearing the top of the mountain and the tower when skeletons attacked. I managed to fight them off and head back uphill, passing Michiyo, but she was heading downhill, away from me and my shelter. It was time for me to leave in real life and I saw she had been slain by a zombie, so I went on up the mountain and followed my trail of light down the other side to my mountain eyrie. I took a screen shot at that point:


Sat Jan 19 noon UTC – Guided sandbox practice – EVO Minecraft MOOC server with Teacher Vance and Bobbi Bear

Teacher Vance and Olivetree Grove show Maestra Mirelle around the builds near the spawn point – images and YouTube

Maestra Mirelle was moving about quite well, following instructions in Discord and successfully swimming the river to enter the cave full of minerals at the Temple of Lost Knowledge.

To facilitate travel, I built a land bridge from the Temple of Lost Knowledge to the landform leading to my castle. I must remember to go back and remove it lest mobs use it for nefarious purposes.

I recorded this exploration of the Temple of Lost Places while waiting for Mirelle to appear

My posts to YouTube are tweeted automatically


Sat Jan 19 1300 UTC 1.13.2 server extreme survival adventure


Abu Fletcher’s post

Wow! That was something else. We managed to “survive” for 5 days. However, we took some casualties and we sure didn’t have Seal Team coordination. : )

It was too hectic for me to take any photos and while we communicated a LOT we were also talking over each other and often engaged in overlapping conversations much of the time (which is a possible feature of group interaction anytime there are more than three participants).

One failing (if we can consider it a failing) is that we never had any clear objective other than just surviving. I suppose that’s OK.

On the plus side, as a group, we divided tasks, shared resources, worked together, all of which required substantial language use. This would have been too overwhelming for my Japanese EFL learners, but would have worked for more intermediate learning, I think.

Dakotah’s “above the fray” view

(For best results, play videos on YouTube in HD or highest resolution possible)


Teacher Vance’s view from the trenches up to where he drowned in one of them

Jane reacted on Twitter





Learning2gether with the 2019 annual Electronic Village Online Kickoff event

Learning2gether Episode 397

On Saturday, January 12, at 1400 UTC, coordinators, moderators, and some participants in the 2019 round of Electronic Village Online sessions met online for their annual Kickoff event. The event was held in Zoom:

Zoom produced a recording of the event, now available on YouTube

The YouTube URL is

For the benefit of participants from Uzbekistan and other countries where YouTube is blocked, the recording was placed on Vimeo (courtesy of Nellie Deutsch)

The PPT (actually a Google Slides presentation) for the Kickoff session was collaborated on by all the EVO coordinators. By kickoff time, it was ready to be shown to the world at large:

During the event all moderators present spoke about their individual sessions. Here are the  sessions on offer this year, followed by links to their descriptions:


Preparation for Best of EVO at the upcoming TESOL 2019 conference in Atlanta

Thursday, March 14 2019: 10:30-12:20 pm in Atlanta
Friday, March 15, 2019: 1:45 – 3:00 pm in Atlanta

The event ended with an invitation to all moderators of 2019 EVO sessions to join us either face-to-face in Atlanta in March for the 2019 TESOL conference or from a distance at either of the two events shown in slide 21 of the presentation embedded above.


EVO moderators are welcome to present (in person or online) but anyone will be able to watch the presentation when it is streamed live from Atlanta.

How to join us is explained on the slides


Earlier events

Learning2gether was in haitus over the end-of-year break, as were many of the other events we follow. In November “we” (meaning Vance) were in Chile for the WorldCALL conference, and in December I tried to catch up with the #el30 MOOC that Stephen Downes had been running.

Fri Nov 16 – Vance Stevens presents ‘Gamifying Teacher Professional Development through Minecraft MOOC’ at WorldCALL 2018


Mon Dec 17 – Learning2gether with Stephen Downes about eLearning 3.0


Vance Stevens presents ‘lightning talk’ on Engaging students in gamified classrooms using Minecraft

Learning2gether Episode 395

Vance Stevens’s proposal to present virtually in the lightning talks portion of the Games and Learning Community Group session at EDUCAUSE (in Denver this year) was recently accepted. The Games and Learning Community Group session took place on Thursday, November 1 at 9:45am-11:15am MT in Meeting Room 403.

According to the organizers, “lightning talks are limited to 5 minutes and should include easy ways for attendees to learn more about the topic if interested. This may include your contact information, links to additional resources, or a copy of the presentation.” They go on to say, “live demos at a conference can be tricky, especially if they require a solid internet connection. You may wish to record videos as an alternative to streaming or live demos.” In the end they requested a video and were reluctant to deal with live presenters at a distance.

The didn’t limit the number of characters for the title of the talk, so I made it descriptive …

Learn to engage your students in a gamified classroom through experiencing the participatory culture inherent in Minecraft by interacting with like-minded teaching peers in EVO Minecraft MOOC

Minecraft is a game that for the past decade has caught and sustained the attention of teachers wanting to introduce elements of gamification into their classrooms. However, there are two steep hurdles for teachers: (1) the complexity and depth of the game itself, and (2) understanding how students will interact and communicate with each other in promoting their self-directed critical and collaborative learning. EVO Minecraft MOOC is preparing to enter its 5th year engaging teachers hands-on with peers in the participatory culture their students will experience when playing the game of Minecraft. This presentation explains how you can join us.

The recorded talk makes a handy trailer for a talk I’m scheduled to give at WorldCALL 2018 at 3pm on Friday, November 16 in Concepción, Chile. The talk is due to last only 30 minutes and I have just been informed that

  1. I must bring a Microsoft PPT or PDF of  my slides on a thumb drive to Concepción and submit it to technical staff there in person at least 3 hours prior to my talk,
  2. The presentation will be loaded by technical staff onto the computer in the presentation room where I will be, and
  3. No presenter(s) is(are) allowed to use their own device to give their presentation

This is a bit limiting. I’m surprised that at a WorldCALL conference there would not be some means of uploading these files online. Using thumb drives where so many presenters will be inserting them into the same computers is a bit promiscuous, though I presume they feel they have protected their environment. Also it means that all presentations, both those presented and those attended when the presenter is not presenting, will be subject to gradual death by PowerPoint. I like to liven PPT up with video, especially when my topic is Minecraft, and possibly even demo the game from the podium, maybe even with other participants joining me online. Also I prefer to put my slides at Google Docs and present from a tablet. I like to walk about and swipe the screen untethered from the podium and the mouse attached to the computer there, much easier to engage with an audience that way. So I’m disappointed that scope for creativity will be constrained for all concerned, but that’s their concepcion of WordCALL, and I’ll do my best to make my part as interesting as I can; the topic is one I’m passionate about 🙂

At any rate, here are the title, abstract, and summary of my talk coming up in Chile

Gamifying teacher professional development through Minecraft MOOC


EVO Minecraft MOOC is an ongoing community of practice of language teaching practitioners which invites newcomers to join in every January / February and then continues throughout the year with a dedicated group of teaching peers who have been interacting online in Minecraft for the past 4 years. This presentation explains how the group was formed, how it functions, and what we have learned about gamifying learning by experiencing it ourselves when playing the game Minecraft with one another. More importantly we reflect continually on how this informs our approach to teaching and learning. This presentation shares our insights and perspectives with our audience and invites them to join us online if they wish to learn more about what gamification feels like as a learning experience.


Electronic Village Online is an annual teacher training event run under the auspices of TESOL CALL-IS. EVO Minecraft MOOC is a 5-week session that has taken place in Minecraft, a wiki, and Google+ Community space each Jan / Feb since 2015. The presenter conceived the idea for EVO Minecraft MOOC as a way that he himself could develop expertise in the game and thereby use it with students. Other teachers were attracted to the concept, including some who had some experience in the game. Participants were attracted to the session for the same reasons — not that their learning paths had been prescribed for them in a neatly pre-set syllabus but that by entering the “game” or session, learning would happen for them in a way that participants would come to understand by experiencing the process that Ito et al (2010) characterize as “hanging out, messing around, and geeking out.”

We have found that Minecraft is capable of reversing the normal student teacher dichotomy whereby teachers traditionally are assumed to know more than their students. We have found through the experience of participants in our EVO session that that participants tend to take charge of their learning by guiding one another in the vagaries of the game.

This presentation explains what teachers (who are learning about the game through the experience of playing it as learners) are learning about designing worlds within the game context that will meet their curriculum objectives and create an engaging and enjoyable experience and task-based environment for learners. But above all, the paper explores how teachers can be made aware of the affordances of Minecraft by creating such spaces for one another and interacting in those spaces. It also serves as an example of how we teachers can use what we have learned through our experience with MOOCs to form communities of practice to reboot our own learning, using the community as curriculum (Cormier, 2008).

Ergo …

It seems that if I said pretty much that, reworded more conversationally and with some elaboration, this would take about 5 minutes

I worked on that part in a Google Doc (this one)

The organizers of the Educause event have since reported back that my lightning talk appeared in a slide presentation shown at the conference and shared here:

Sandra Annette Rogers wrote me: I thought you might want to see the Educause Games & Learning community group meeting slides that included your lightning talk on slide 21-22. I heard there were about 30 participants.

Here are the slides introducing the event, and what my slides 21-22 looked like





Slide 22 embeds our video, so in theory it should be possible for attendees and others to enjoy our asynchronous presentation.


Earlier events


1300 start Sun Oct 7 thru Nov 4 – Teaching Online with Heike Philp – a paid iTDi course


Mon-Fri Oct 15-19 4th Annual Pearson ELT Webinar Series

To see the lineup and register (free, but required) for the events

I replicated the table of presentations here so I can see when they are and work them into a schedule on this page and convert times to UTC.

Date Time Session Presenter
Monday, October 15, 2018 12:00 p.m. EDT = 1600 UTC 21st Century Teaching and the Global Scale of English Sara Davila
Monday, October 15, 2018 2:00 p.m. EDT = 1800 UTC How to Organize a Lesson Plan Around a Short Story Sybil Marcus
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 12:00 p.m. EDT = 1600 UTC Engaging Students in the Classroom Through Photos and Images Joe McVeigh
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 2:00 p.m. EDT = 1800 UTC Space for Uncertainty: Developing Critical Thinking Skills Ken Beatty
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 2:00 p.m. EDT = 1800 UTC Teaching Grammar with Pop Songs: Ain’t No Reason Not To Sandra Heyer
Thursday, October 18, 2018 12:00 p.m. EDT = 1600 UTC Fostering Independence: Helping Students Become More Effective Self-Directed Learners Sarah Lynn
Thursday, October 18, 2018 2:00 p.m. EDT = 1800 UTC Ten Tips to Accelerate Academic Listening Michael Rost
Friday, October 19, 2018 12:00 p.m. EDT = 1600 UTC An Inductive Approach to Teaching Grammar Geneva Tesh

Here’s how the event was announced …

Joe McVeigh
On Sep 18, 2018 11:17 AM
Joe McVeigh posted in MyTESOL Lounge,


The fall is a great time to work on professional development, and here is a great resource: a series of eight free webinars during the week of October 15-19.

The webinar topics include ideas for teaching grammar; developing academic listening skills; working with photos and images; using short stories; helpings students become self-directed learners; using popular songs; developing critical thinking skills; and 21st century teaching.


The presenters include TESOL professionals Sara Davila, Sybil Marcus, Joe McVeigh, Ken Beatty, Sandra Heyer, Sarah Lynn, Michael Rost, and Geneva Tesh.


These webinars are sponsored by Pearson as part of their 4th Annual ELT Webinar Series.  They take place throughout the week at either 12:00pm or 2:00pm Eastern Daylight Time.  Be sure to adjust for your own time zone.  All of the webinars are free, but you must register separately for each one. All registered participants will receive a certificate of attendance.


For complete descriptions of each webinar including exact times and to register, go to

If you have questions about the webinars, please send them to this email address:

I hope to see you online in October!

See this posting online here


Wed Oct 17 1900-2200 UTC – 3rd Library 2.018 mini-conference – Social Crisis Management


The third Library 2.018 mini-conference: “Social Crisis Management in a 21st Century World,” will be held online (and for free) on Wednesday, October 17th, from 12:00 – 3:00 pm US-Pacific Daylight Time (click for your own time zone). Register now to watch for free and/or to receive the event recordings.

This event is being organized in partnership with Patty Wong, Director of Library Services at Santa Monica Public Library.

Our human condition has changed dramatically and has implications for libraries of all types on a global scale. Food insecurity and hunger, housing policies and homelessness, violence, mental health service needs, social, economic, educational and racial equity, substance abuse and drug overdose – all of these and many more challenges impact the people who frequent our libraries – as customers, students, faculty, and staff. Operational decisions continue to be influenced by social concerns. Join us for a series of conversations on how libraries have developed, responded, and championed programs and services to address some of these social crises and learn about outcomes. What’s the new normal for libraries in this world of social and economic disparity? Has it altered or enhanced our core mission?

This is a free event, being held online.
to attend live and/or to receive the recording links afterward. Please also join the Library 2.0 network to be kept updated on this and future
Participants are encouraged to use #library2018 and #librarysocialcrisis on their social media posts leading up to and during the event.

SESSION LIST as of Oct 10:

  • Active Shooter Training – Mary Soucie, State Librarian
  • Bibliotecas acción social – Judith de Méndez, Librarian.
  • Broward County Library – Reach Out Reach Up Reintegration Program – Roslyn Dean, Community Engagement Manager, Broward County Library
  • “Conversescion”: not a mis-type, a different way to inclusion of asylum seekers – Matilde Fontanin
  • Educating Information Professionals to Manage Social Crises – Jen Jumba, M.L.I.S Adjunct Faculty at SJSU and Adult Services Librarian/Supervisor at Cuyahoga County Public Library
  • From Transactional to Transformational Responses and Roles: Current and Potential Library Responses to Social Crises – Paula Miller, Director, Baltimore County Public Library
  • It’s not (just) about transition: Librarians’ role in promoting trans affirming healthcare – Mary Catherine Lockmiller, MLIS, M.Eng., AHIP
  • Meeting some basic needs of SJSU students and San Jose citizens @ the MLK Jr. Library – Peggy Cabrera, Associate Librarian for Art & Art History, Environmental Studies, Humanities & Philosophy, San Jose State University
  • Opiate Users In Your Library: A Community Health Crisis – Dr. Steve Albrecht
  • Planning to React: Creativity, planning, and community coordination in response to crisis – Christian Zabriskie, Executive Director/Founder
  • Providing Support to Library Customers with Adverse Life Challenges – Alix Midgley, LCSW
  • The Role of Libraries in Addressing Homelessness and Poverty – Dr. Julie Ann Winkelstein
  • What role can public libraries play in the fight against HIV/AIDS? Lessons from Lubuto Library Partners in Lusaka, Zambia – Elizabeth Giles, Director of Library Services


Fri Oct 19 at the Online Facilitation Unconference – Vance Stevens connects with Hossein Vakili’s class of ELT teachers in Tehran

More about the Oct 15-21 5th annual Online Facilitation Unconference



International Facilitation Week 2018 is officially under way!



And for the fifth time, the Online Facilitation Unconference (OFU) is happening alongside it.

This year’s OFU event consists of two phases:

  • Warm-up activities (Monday through Thursday)
  • Unconference (Friday & Saturday)

We’ve set up a Google Doc to keep the schedule and session plan updated:


Full information here

There it says you can participate  in this conference  for only $1 (or whatever you like) if you re interested in joining.

Register here:

Ignore the prices, click on REGISTER, and scroll down to the bottom of the window till you see this:

This is an inclusive conference. If you haven’t registered by now you probably won’t at the suggested price structure. So the organizers encourage anyone to enter $1 as payment, try less if you wish, and join in the fun.

Social Media

Here are the previous announcements with description of the event

Another Online Facilitation Unconference (our fifth). This year, the event will take place October 15–21, 2018.

Once again, we will be playing alongside International Facilitation Week, a week-long celebration of great facilitation and the skilled (and sometimes brave) people around the world that make it happen, organized by the International Association of Facilitators (IAF).

If you’re still interested in exploring what role technology can play in all this, OFU is the place to be. We’re super excited and hope you can join us. Stay tuned for more updates.


Your OFU18 team,
Lyda, Palash & Tim

PS: Please help spread the word. See our social media channels below or simply forward this email to your friends and colleagues. Thanks!

Another Year, Another Unconference!

This year’s Online Facilitation Unconference 2018 will be our fifth event since we first started 2013.

Each year, we continue to tweak the format. We will share more details with you over the next couple of weeks regarding this year’s program.

Claim Your Super Early Bird Discount!

We’re almost ready to roll out ticket sales (incl. sponsor options), probably sometime later this week.

If you’d like to get a little bit of a head start, you can secure your ticket for only $15 using our super early bird rate. This option has been extended to September 24, at noon Pacific Time.


But actually, at this conference there is an option to pay what you like

 At an Unconference participants create the agenda.

See the FAQ to learn more about the process.

Activities are listed here:


Sun Oct 21 1700 UTC EVO first Moderator Development Session

The official EVO 2019 Kickoff Webcast for the Moderator Professional Development took place on October 21 at 1700 UTC

on ZOOM at this location:

Here’s the recording (in two places) of the week 1 live online event


Tue Oct 23 Curt Bonk in Teacher Educator Interest Section webinar

The Teacher Educator Interest Section (TEIS) webinar series resumes with a discussion with Curt Bonk on E-Learning. He has been consistently listed from 2012-2018, by Education Week as a top contributor to the public debate about online education. He will be sharing his thoughts in the TEIS webinar on the emergence of at least 30  different ways in which learning is changing-for instance, it is becoming increasingly collaborative, global, mobile, modifiable, open, online, blended, massive, visually based, hands-on, ubiquitous, instantaneous, and personal.

The webinar will be in a conversation format moderated by Faridah Pawan, the TEIS Chair Elect-Elect. The webinar is free to all TESOL International Members. (See attached brochure for additional information)

What is the State of E-learning? Reflections on 30 Ways Learning is Changing 
Tue, Oct 23, 2018 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM Eastern Daylight (EDT)/Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.




Oct 25 Tanita Saenkhum in TESOL webinar on academic job market


Oct 15 through Dec 19 e-Learning 3.0 – Connectivist learning by Stephen Downes

Upcoming course events listed at

All events are recorded in the Activity Center:

Communicate with the course via Twitter #el30

Stephen Downes describes how he built this course in gRSShopper

This is worth looking at because in part 5 Stephen explains where you can find the video archive for the course

(which I later discovered is actually the Video link in the right hand sidebar)

Oct 11, 2018 Elearning 3.0 – Introduction

Introduction to Elearning 3.0 –
Oct 17, 2018 Conversation With George Siemens

Stephen Downes and guest George Siemens get together for a conversation on how we got to this point in the history of e-learning.
Oct 18, 2018 E-Learning 3.0 – The impact of the Next Wave of Emerging Learning Technologies

This presentation explores the impact of the next wave of learning technologies emerging as a consequence of significant and substantial changes in the World Wide Web.


Oct 24, 2018 Conversation with Shelly Blake-Plock
Wed Oct 24 2018 20:00:00 GMT+0400 (Arabian Standard Time)

Week 1 of E-Learning 3.0 with Shelly Blake-Plock, Co-Founder, President and CEO – Yet Analytics.


Applications, Algorithms and Data: Open Educational Resources and the Next Generation of Virtual Learning Oct 29, 2018 video

Using examples such as virtual containers and actionable data books, I sketch the future for the next generation of OERs as a distributed and interactive network of applications, algorithms and data. My presentation starts at 1:18:00 in the video.


Using OPML Oct 29, 2018 video

Quick (13 minutes) description of how to use the E-Learning 3.0 OPML feed (at ) to collect the list of feeds being shared by course participants and read all their new poss in your feed reader – I demonstrate how to import OPML for both Feedly and for gRSShopper.


Harvesting Feeds on gRSShopper Oct 29, 2018

A quick look at me approving feed and harvesting them. This is the manual process; it can all be automated, as I’ll show in a later video.


Conversation With Tony Hirst, Open University Oct 31, 2018

We covered server virtualization with an in-depth look at using Docker to launch full web applications in just a few moments, and then looked at embedded programs in Jupyter notebooks, tying it all together with a discussion of how these might be used in the future.


What is Docker? Docker containers explained

Serdar YegulalpInfoWorld, 2018/10/31

For many years now, the leading way to isolate and organize applications and their dependencies has been to place each application in its own virtual machine. But virtual machines are bulky. Enter Docker containers. Containers make it possible to isolate applications into small, lightweight execution environments that share the operating system kernel.


Docker Hub
Docker, 2018/10/31

Docker Hub is the world’s largest public repository of container images with an array of content sources including container community developers, open source projects and independent software vendors (ISV) building and distributing their code in containers.


Sun Oct 28 1400 UTC Djalal Tebib on Sundays with BELTA

Seen on EFL Talks 10 in 10 presenters, 

More information here,


Sun Oct 28 1700 UTC EVO Moderator Development live session 2

Join us for the Week 2 Live Session

When: October 28th, 2018 5PM UTC

Last year’s week 2 slides are here

There was a technical issue with the recording; however the chat transcript was preserved here,