#OMLTA2014 – From demystification to learner engagement. Doing education differently

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*For teachers in the conference room reading this post, please feel free to give impressions/questions via Twitter, using #OMLTA2014.


I’m honoured by the invitation of the Ontario Modern Language Teachers’ Association (OMLTA) to speak at their 2014 conference, Languages 2.0: Teaching in the 21st century/Langues 2.0 : Enseigner dans le 21e siècle. Having been with language teachers at CASLT (Ottawa) and TESL-NB (Bathurst NB), I remain impressed by the devotion and openness of language teachers towards their field, as they continue to renew their practice in light of advances in language learning pedagogy. Their innovative use of technology seems to be increasing, Twitter is abundant with language learning hashtags, and the enthusiasm of the organizing committee at this year’s OMLTA conference is contagious. Kudos to this 128 year-old professional association!



Once again, I feel the need to take time in demystifying the challenges for education in today’s world (I’ve stopped saying « 21st century », heck, we’re one-seventh already in) and inviting us all to « do » education differently.

My keynote, shared here on Slideshare and presented to the group via Presefy, http://presefy.com/zecool, emphasizes the following ideas/reflections:

  • The world is hyperconnected, all generations are online, in more or less the same spaces.
  • Managing the flow of information online is a key skill for all learners.
  • Tomorrow’s jobs still largely non-existent, yet.
  • Engagement is a means to an end, that is, empowerment. « Le pouvoir d’agir ».
  • Digital skills, cross-curriculum and at all grade levels, as described by the Mozilla Foundation, aim to Explore, Build, Connect.
  • My favourite line: « When a kid can say with confidence «Just Google me», we have achieved something good ».
  • And kids do tell us what really engages them. They are today’s leaders, in many cases.
  • The importance of leaving traces behind and connectedness. Social media’s amazing leveraging power for the connected educator.
  • Teaching: an art AND a science
  • « We all start out ugly. » (Ed Catmull, Pixar)
  • Pedagogical models as a reference canvas, not just an ascending slope.
  • The attributes of today’s teacher, in a most complex profession.
  • An invitation to be change agents

In order to put this piece together, I’ve been collecting cool links that I’ve grouped in this Diigo list. Feel free to share!

Photo credits for the images in my slides can be found here.

After this keynote, I’ll have the great pleasure of listening/meeting/exchanging/attending sessions with Ontario language educators and connecting with some Twitter colleagues too.

Sure beats shoveling out of blizzard country, you know 😉



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