I am currently at the aPLaNet launch conference in Istanbul and thoroughly enjoying it.
The day started with music from the ISTEK Chamber orchestra (photo below). I think it's always nice to start a conference with something completely different, and today's musical selection was a great choice. It provided a moment of reflection and relaxation and set us up for the day ahead.
The musical introduction was followed by the plenary by the aPLaNet team. Representatives of each of the partners of the project took the stage to talk about the project's objectives and achievements. It's been a long 2-year journey, but a very enjoyable one, and it was great to hear from the other partners their experience of working on the project, and to reflect on the progress we have made so far with the piloting - here's looking forward to the next stage of the aPLaNet journey, and hoping that many of you will stay on board for the ride. Our presentation finished with Joel congratulating our project manager, Burcu Akyol (below) for her splendid work in keeping us all on track, and for all of her hard work organising the conference - a true inspriation.
After a break for coffee, we heard Nik Peachey (plenary slides available here: http://tinyurl.com/dxwmu3y) talk about some great ways to build a PLN. Nik shared his advice about the best way of making use of Twitter and other tools he recommends in order to develop as a language teacher - fabulous stuff.
Nik's plenary was followed by the concurrent keynotes, and people headed off to different rooms to hear a wide variety of talks about the experience of different teachers. The aPLaNet partners were involved in many of these, talking about social networks in academic settings, the methodology of the aPLANEt project, mentoring teachers using social networkss, how to manage autonomous social networking, the European Union project challenge and how to become a blogging genius in 45 minutes.
Other talks included Paul Braddock's gamification of professional development, and news about other exciting EU projects such as the European CLIL Resource Centre for Web 2.0 Education. If that wasn't enough, we were privileged to have the opportunity to listen to Vance Stevens, founder of the Webheads speak about Learning2gether, an inspiring example of how teachers can develop collectively - where there's a will, there's a way!