Sunday, December 8, 2019

Presentation idea: Flipping conference presentations in 2019

APACALL Newsletter #23 has just come out. I wrote an article for it. For the record, it's:
Stevens, V. (2019). Flipping conference presentations. APACALL Newsletter 23, December, 14-18. Retrieved from
I want to turn this into a blog post so that I can update and annotate it. So what follows is the text of the article as published above, but illustrated and hyperlinked in such a way that readers can better follow the flip. Here goes:

Flipping Conference Presentations in 2019
Vance Stevens, Penang, Malaysia

At conferences I have attended this year, I have given several presentations primarily focusing on two themes. 
  • The first of these was SMALL, a construct I have been writing about since 2009 and which stands for Social Media-Assisted Language Learning. 
  • The other theme I have been pursuing is a technique I have developed for encouraging weak non-native English speaking (NNES) student writers to develop fluency in their writing by giving them feedback in Google docs using the voice option available on mobile and tablet computers (Stevens, 2019a). 
These presentations might be of more than passing interest to readers of this blog because of how I managed to “flip” them, which is to say, 
  1. get them up online in advance of the presentation, 
  2. refer the live or online audience to the slides and other materials for viewing at their fingertips and on their personal devices while I am presenting, 
  3. and then put these and all related materials online so that the audience, or anyone for that matter, might view the materials later. 
For this purpose, I use, which is a podcast site where I have produced over 430 episodes since 2010 on various aspects of bridging learning technology with language learning pedagogy. You can see an index of all these podcast episodes here.

Thinking SMALL
One of the better examples of this occurred in April, 2019 at the Penang English Language Learning and Teaching Association (PELLTA, international conference in Penang, Malaysia where I presented a version of my paper entitled Thinking SMALL: A case for social media assisted language learning (Stevens, 2019a).

I had earlier that year conducted a survey of teachers on their perspectives on using social media with students and had presented the results in March as part of a panel at a CALL-IS Academic Session on SMALL: Research, Practice, Impact of Social Media-Assisted Language Learning, which had been Webcast from TESOL 2019 in Atlanta, so we had a recording of the entire symposium; and I had placed my Google Slides online, where they can be found at Stevens 2019 (March 13) along with the video link to my part of the panel.

That talk focused more on the research results than did the one I was planning for Penang. Based on what I had presented in Atlanta, I revised the Atlanta Google Slides presentation to reflect what changes I intended to make in Penang, and placed it on open access where anyone with the link could view it here: 

I then rehearsed the presentation in Zoom while sharing my screen as a dress-rehearsal for the presentation itself, and uploaded the mp4 recording file to YouTube. I then put links in the Google Slides linking to the YouTube rehearsal recording, which you can see here:


I next announced to my personal learning networks that I was planning to webcast in Zoom live from my conference presentation venue. To my live and distance audiences, I noted that I would only be able to overview the topic in the half hour available to presenters; therefore the presentation would be flipped. By this I meant that the full version of the presentation; i.e. slides, write up, and rehearsal video, were being made available for viewing before the brief live presentation itself.

To make the link more accessible to my on-site participants I created a TinyURL to the slides,, and communicated that to them at the beginning of my presentation, rather than try to get across to them the full and more complex link to the Google Slides. With a tiny URL, the part is easy for audiences to remember or type into a browser, and I was able to specify the logically remembered pellta2019vance when I generated the TinyURL.

During the on-site presentation, I pointed out to those present that they could bring up my slides right then if they wished on their personal devices and not only follow them that way, but have access to all the live links that existed on almost every slide to provide greater depth to the presentation. I pointed out that after the presentation, they could review the slides, read the write-up, and watch the rehearsal recording to see what I had intended to say, as well as see the recording that I was making of the presentation itself, which I would upload later to YouTube. I told them I would place the link to the video and all the other artifacts I would afterwards put online, at the link they already had, as you can now see in slide 2 at

One of those links to other artifacts was to the blog post I created on my Learning2gether site, where they and anyone reading this would not only be able to reconstruct the presentation, but seek greater depth in the presentation that I had already given in Atlanta, and also in the one that I would be giving that summer at the CALL Research Conference in Hong Kong, which I also recorded in Zoom, and which furthermore resulted in a formal chapter being published in the conference proceedings (Stevens, 2019a). All of this material and all these links can be found online in my blog at Stevens 2019 (April 19) and in my Google Slides presentation, slide 25.

Supporting Student Writing with the Help of Voice-to-Text
In another example of flipping presentations this year, I presented a technique I had developed for using voice to encourage revision from student writing. The technique has the students share an empty Google Doc with the teacher but start their writing on paper in class. The teacher collects the papers and then reads them correctly into the blank Google Docs using speech-to-text. The teacher makes printouts of each student’s Google Doc, which now has what they had written expressed in correct language and writes notes on these printouts suggesting revision and improvement to the papers. The paper printouts are returned to the students along with their original papers, and the students continue writing in Google Docs, for as many revisions as possible, now focused both on content and on whatever errors occur or re-occur. 

I had presented a paper on my work with this technique at the ALLT conference in UAE in 2018 and had published a description of my research into the technique in the conference proceedings (Stevens, 2019b).

On March 7, 2019 I was asked to demonstrate the technique from my home in Penang, Malaysia online to a group of EFL teachers physically attending a webinar event at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, Oman. This gave me an opportunity to consolidate my previously published research on the topic and focus it into a practical presentation. I webcast the event in Zoom and archived it as Stevens, 2019 (March 7). The archive of the presentation consolidated previous work I had done on this technique, included a slide show attempting to clarify the demonstration, and in addition produced a video of the demonstration itself.

Meanwhile, I had submitted a proposal to the GLoCALL 2019 conference in Danang, Vietnam, offering to demonstrate again the technique in a workshop, which was accepted and scheduled for delivery at the conference, as a workshop mind you, in the ridiculously short time of only 25 minutes.

Fortunately I was able to get my point across in that time by flipping my presentation not only from having done it online the previous March, but by having had the opportunity to present it online at MMVC19, the 8th annual Moodle Moot Virtual Conference, only a few days before the presentation in Danang; see Stevens (2019, August 4). Here, in preparation for both the online and on-site conferences, I had not only improved my slide presentation but I had written out what I intended to say, and the online conference had produced a video of how the Danang presentation might ideally go if I had had more time to present it. As with previous conferences, I was able to tell my audience in Danang where they could find the slides by again given them a TinyURL link,

That TinyURL led to a complete writeup in Google Docs of what was meant to take place during the workshop in Danang. At the top of the write-up one can now find a link to the Google Slides deck and a link to the archive blog post at Stevens, 2019 (August 9). At slide 23 in that slide deck, one can see the MMVC19 rehearsal presentation, embedded there from its YouTube link, here:

DIYLMS: Tools used
This is roughly the topic of some workshops I'm planning prior to ThaiTESOL in Bangkok the last couple of weeks in January, 2020. I plan to discuss flipped learning and model how to do the flip, introduce the tools, and reflect on what’s happened to some of our best free tools .lately. So let's look a what the tools are in the first place? To start with, what tools did I use in the example sited in this blog post?

Polls give students things to write about. For the research mentioned here, I used Google Forms, but there are many more; e.g.

More tools are described at 8 Best Polling Apps for Android and iOS Smartphones
by Gaurav Bidasaria June 15, 2019:

Blogs and wikis provide space to host your portal and centralize your message. I’m using Blogger for this article, and is based in for its podcast and archives, and PBWorks for its planning and index pages,

Other options include Weebly (I’m not fond of the free version; limited functionality with no ‘undo option for example). I prefer Wix; see Wix vs Weebly vs WordPress: Web War III, October 7, 2019,  by Dan Barraclough. Google Docs is also an excellent option as a wiki portal

I did the webcasting mentioned above through Zoom, Other useful tools for webcasting are OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), a robust, full featured open-source and freely downloadable screen capture and simulcasting tool, There are also Facebook Live and YouTube Live.

For pre-presentation screen capture recording, I used Zoom for this purpose as well. But other options are:

Image capture is essential for materials creation. There are hard and easy ways to capture images from your screen. Sometimes you have to use the hard way; for example if you want to show users a website with its context menus exposed and mouse over the one you want so that it’s highlighted, you’ll need to use your operating system's screen capture tool (PrtScr in Windows; button combinations on iPad and Android) and then share the captured image in iOS or Android, or by pasting to Paint in Windows, saving it as a file, and then sharing the file.

But for cropping and capturing a part of a screen, you can use the Snipping Tool in Windows, or, my favorite, Jing, mentioned above. I like Jing over almost all other tools because you can save your capture as a file on your computer, or on the web at where you immediately get its URL (saved to your memory buffer) so you can paste it into a chat, let’s say, or send it in an email, and the receiver can see your screen via the URL you paste into the chat or email.

I use Jing a lot in preparing slides, which these days I do in Google Slides, where you can prepare your show online, collaboratively, for free, and have its URL as you work on-the-fly, which you can share directly with an audience. Google Slides these days imports MS PowerPoint slides almost faithfully (as far as I can see; though it didn’t always used to). It also seems to export faithfully to (download as) MS PowerPoint slides.

Faithful correspondence between Google Slides and PPT is handy in case you use, which was acquired a few years ago by Linked In, which gives it a certain social presence. When I present and have uploaded my slides to, I can tell my audience that they can find them at Of course they would also have a direct URL, but that short link pulls up my latest slide show off the top and is fairly mnemonic in case you want to give an audience the opportunity to follow your slides while you are presenting. And another affordance is that hyperlinks all the URLs. My slides always have a lot of links that give them much greater depth than would be possible to convey in the presentation itself, so this is an important feature in case people in your audience want to explore your concepts either while you are presenting or afterwards.

Of course, Google Docs has all of these features as well, except for  the mnemonic URL. Google URLs are quite long and need to be shortened. Fortunately, there are many URL shortening tools; e.g. the three dozen listed at 37 URL shorteners and how to create custom branded shortlinks, October 6, 2017, by Eric Sachs,, but the one I prefer is TinyURL because it’s reliable (it's been around for a long time) and allows you to specify the URL you wish to shorten. All TinyURLs begin with but the interface allows you to specify what appears after the slash. This allows me to create mnemonic URLs for those very lengthy Google Docs and Google Slides presentation URLs.

This takes us up through preparing your materials in advance and having your audience follow them during their presentation, but how can your audience share these materials with their social audiences or with you, as a backchannel, while you are presenting if you wish, or afterwards?

The key is in creating a unique tag for the event. It could be the mnemonic part of your TinyURL, so that the tag for could be #pelta2019vance. Or it could be a course tag, such as the EVO Minecraft MOOC course we have coming up for EVO 2020, #evomc20. Or it could be a conference tag such as #glocall2019, whose hits you can see aggregated at

The latter is a good example of how participants at a conference can crowd-source through Twitter their impressions of a conference, tag them with the conference tag, and then watch as their colleagues share their own impressions. Participants in one session can track what’s going on in sessions they are missing even as they help their colleagues know what’s going on where they are. Since all the tweets carry a picture (or icon) of the person tweeting, it’s not uncommon for two people in the same session to see that someone else is tweeting in that session, look around the room, and find the other person looking for them. In such a way, bonds are formed between like minded colleagues.

What works for conferences can work for courses, either at a distance or blended, or in physical classrooms, or in workshops. Hash tags aggregated on Twitter or Facebook or through other means can form an ePortfolio of what the students or participants are doing collectively. They enable to collection of artifacts in one place where they can be displayed to demonstrate the outcome of whatever the task or project was.

These are components of a DIYCMS, a do-it-yourself content management system (CMS). All the tools mentioned so far are for creating, storing, and displaying content, and as it happens, for free. A CMS is a portal where content for a learning journey can be placed online for others to find and follow.

Add to that a means for having users upload their own content to the space, for this user-generated content to be responded to and evaluated, perhaps by peers in forums, then you have an LMS, or learning management system. If this is based in free tools such as Moodle, Schoology, Canvas, or Edmodo, or in a wiki where the community can upload content and interact with each other, then we have a DIYLMS, see

Still to come, stay tuned …

Audio and video editing tools

And a reflection on the tools we have lost

Here are a few I'd like to mention:

  • Ning, one of our first community-shattering turnabouts - Stevens, Vance. (2010). The Ning Thing. TESL-EJ 14(1), 1-7. Retrieved from; also available:
  • Google+ Communities, which abruptly went offline one year ago
  • Yahoo Groups, which has been hosting many of our communities since last century, is disappearing as we speak, on only a few months notice (gone as a CMS after Dec 14, 2019
  • PBWorks only let’s you have one free workspace now
  • Today’s Meet disappeared this past year, 
But there’s Yo!Teachj, a backchannel chat tool that can replace Today's Meet, which I used to use for passing messages to and from classes and other gatherings. I learned about Yo!Teach here

Yo!Teach is one of the similar tools listed at this website, Jeff Knutson, February 12, 2019, Give students a chance to connect with each other and be heard.

What happens next? What if we lose Google? Imagine when you have to download all your data from there on short notice, or lose it?

I have developed my presentation techniques over decades of presenting at online and on-site conferences, and in hopes of improving on the offers of many colleagues, whose presentations I have attended, to send them my email address and they would send me a copy of their slides. The flipped method provides a means for attendees at conferences to be better prepared to follow a speaker’s presentation by having access to presentation materials on hand during and possibly even before the presentation, and attendees can have a means of following up on their learning which provides much greater depth than what can be gleaned from a skeletal slide show. 

Furthermore, flipped learning is an approach intended for teachers to apply in their classes. In my presentations I hope to model for my peers how the flip works in a way they can understand experientially. Hopefully, on careful consideration of this approach, attendees at my presentations might try it out in their own professional lives, both with their students in class, and with their audiences when they present at conferences.

Stevens, V. (2019a). Thinking SMALL about social media assisted language learning. In J. Colpaert, A. Aerts, Q. Ma, & J. L. F. King (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twentieth International CALL Research Conference: Social CALL (pp. 257-272). Hong Kong: The Education University of Hong Kong. Retrieved from

Stevens, V. (2019b). Teaching writing to students with tablets using voice to overcome keyboard shortcomings. In Zoghbor, W., Al Alami, S., & Alexiou, T. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 1st Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching Conference: Teaching and Learning in a Globalized World (pp. 22-47). Dubai: Zayed University Press. Retrieved from

Stevens, V. (2019, March 7). Supporting student writing with the help of voice-to-text. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Stevens, V. (2019, March 13). CALL-IS academic session on SMALL: Research, practice, impact of social media-assisted language learning – Webcasting from TESOL 2019 Atlanta [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Stevens, V. (2019, April 19). Thinking SMALL at the 2019 PELLTA conference in Penang, Malaysia. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Stevens, V. (2019, August 4). Learning2gether with Vance Stevens at MMVC19 – Supporting student writing with the help of voice-to-text. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Stevens, V. (2019, August 9). Supporting student writing with the help of voice-to-text – presented at GLoCALL 2019 in Danang, Vietnam. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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