Saturday, February 15, 2020

And now, after a month of workshops and conferences, the back side of the flip

Bobbi and I just returned home after midnight last night from the most amazing month. I guess I'll be piecing it together over the coming month, picking up the pieces off the internet and putting them together in an even better picture of what took place, but here is where the pieces have kind of come together.

I was invited to do an English Language Specialist gig in Thailand involving giving workshops from January 20-29, a plenary and another workshop at the ThaiTESOL conference in Bangkok, followed by three weeks of eLearning to be delivered from my home in Penang. So, we flew to Thailand on Jan 18 and were put up in the Conrad Hotel, nearby the US Embassy and in the most congested part of Bangkok, Sukhumvit Road. We were on the executive floor which had breakfast in a special lounge, full buffet without crowds, and came with an evening happy hour with enough of a buffet to fill us for dinner. Lunch was usually provided by the RELO's office or the places where I gave workshops while we were there,  but if not, we never felt the need for it. 

After dinner I usually had to focus on my next day's workshops anyway, which I constantly fine-tuned according to what I'd learned the previous day (i.e. how to improve them) and made changes to accomodate the next day's audience, whether I would be presenting to undergraduate students or practicing EFL teachers, Thai or native speakers, number of participants (anywhere between 14 and 40), and length of the next day's workshops, which could be anywhere between 2 and 4 hours. All this was manipulated and archive through the wiki portal I'd set up as a home page for the workshops, here: .

The workshops were on flipped and blended learning and I was modeling how to create a blended learning environment and flipping that to optimize meaningful and self-directed learning. The wiki was the core to that but I also had a Google Slides presentation,, the better to walk participants through the parts of my wiki that I would cover on a given day. 

The wiki included polls, Padlet, and places where teachers could create wiki backchannels for communicating with students asynchronously or on the fly, in the classroom. I always encouraged participants to aggregate what we did in any workshop around a Twitter tag, unique for each day. This vacuumed up a lot of what the participants produced each day which I dumped onto a wiki archive for each set of workshops, here:

To complicate things Bobbi and I were flown or driven between four different cities in Thailand -- in and out of Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani, Bangsaen, and our favorite, Chiang Rai, which ironically we'd just passed through the year before on our two-day boat trip up the Mekong from Luang Prabang, on our way down to Chiang Mai. Normally we'd leave our hotel before breakfast and fly (or in the case of Bangsaen, drive) to the next destination, give a workshop there, overnight in a hotel, and give more workshops in the morning before returning to Bangkok to rest at the Conrad before workshops in Bangkok the following morning, rinse and repeat for two weeks, with time off on Saturday and Sunday.

This went on until my last workshop in Bangkok Wed Jan 29, and then the next day the annual ThaiTESOL conference started, and I was the plenary speaker on the first day right after lunch. The talk was on Flipped Learning so I got Jeff Magoto, a colleague in Oregon who was conducting an EVO session on that topic, to allow me to simulcast it to his participants. He recorded it in Zoom for me, and I blogged it, with the video recording and all the slides and ancillary artifacts flipped onto the Internet here: 

I also gave a workshop the following day at the ThaiTESOL conference, on teaching EFL through coding, coasted through the last day of the conference, and then Bobbi and I flew back the following day to Penang, where we repacked and flew just a few days later to Phnom Penh, where I gave the same workshop at the CamTESOL conference.

I recorded this one myself, with a larger audience, better delivery on my part, and livelier dynamics with the participants, here:

While at CamTESOL, I found that the Regional English Language Officer, RELO Bangkok, was preparing to announce the 3-week follow-up to my workshops to be held online from Feb 17 to March 7. This had been in the overall plan but details had been left way up in the air until the RELO got back from a retreat in Bali Feb 8. Meanwhile we had arranged to fly the day after CamTESOL to Phuket in Thailand and then get a taxi an hour north to Khao Lak where there was reputed to be good diving. We executed this plan, dived for three days, and then flew back from Phuket to Penang via KL. 

Now I've got to come up with a store full of goodies for the eLearning that starts in just two days. I've got a storefront up here, 
but at the Schoology link, I've yet to stock the shelves. I need to get that done today and tomorrow.

I'll complete this post with pictures and videos when I get a moment, and create a new post on the eLearning in March. Meanwhile, you can follow a lot of this at my more often updated blog,

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