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Graham Davies

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About Graham Davies

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  • Birthday 06/02/1942

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    I began my career as a teacher of German and French in secondary education in 1965, moving into higher education in 1971, where I taught German (and also English as a Foreign Language to students training to become professional translators) until 1993. I have been involved in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) since 1976. In 1982 I wrote one of the first introductory books on computers in language learning and teaching, which was followed by numerous other printed and software publications. In 1989 I was conferred with the title of Professor of CALL by the Academic Board of Ealing College of Higher Education (later integrated into Thames Valley University). I retired from full-time teaching in 1993 but I continued to work as a Visiting Professor for Thames Valley University until 2001. I was the Founder President of EUROCALL, holding the post from 1993 to 2000. I am a partner in Camsoft, a CALL software development and consultancy business, which was founded in 1982. I have lectured and run ICT training courses for language teachers in 22 different countries and I sit on a number of national and international advisory boards and committees. I have been actively involved in WorldCALL since 1998 and I currently head a working party that is in the process of setting up WorldCALL as an official organisation that aims to assist countries that are currently underserved in the area of ICT and the teaching and learning of modern foreign languages. I am fluent in German, I speak tolerable French, and I can survive in Italian, Russian and Hungarian. I enjoy golf, skiing, walking my dog (a retired racing greyhound) and travelling. I used to scuba-dive regularly - my last dive was on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 - but now I just swim at my local fitness centre.

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  1. Dear All The experimental “Virtual Strand” of the European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL) 2006 conference has been reviewed by Lesley Shield in the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) online newsletter: http://newsletter.alt.ac.uk/ The aim of the Virtual Strand was to enable people who were unable to travel to the conference venue in Granada, Spain, to participate in the main events of the conference. The main elements of the Virtual Strand were a blog, a wiki, a “blobber” (live text chat) and streamed videos of the keynote presentations and panel disc
  2. The EUROCALL 2006 Conference Wiki is now active. Join in the fun at: http://eurocall2006.wikispaces.com/ The Virtual Strand will become active from noon, 4 September 2006. Further information is posted in the above wiki.
  3. EUROCALL 2006 will take place at the University of Granada, Spain, 4-7 September: http://www.eurocall2006.com/ But if you cannot attend in person why not join the Virtual Strand? See the following forwarded message from David Barr, University of Ulster at Coleraine. I'll certainly be joining the Virtual Strand as, due to illness, I cannot fly to Granada. From David Barr: Cannot come to EuroCALL in Granada this year but would like to get the "conference experience"? Why not take part in the VIRTUAL STRAND? It's for people like you who can't come to Granada or who'd like to know more abou
  4. There is an active group of teachers of foreign languages who use Moodle - although it should be emphasised that most of them are EFL/ESOL teachers rather than teachers of French, German Spanish, Japanese, Chinese etc. EUROCALL conferences in recent years have featured Moodle presentations and workshops. There will will be Moodle presentations at this year's EUROCALL conference in Granada, Spain. http://www.eurocall-languages.org There is an active Moodle for Language Teaching forum is at http://moodle.org/course/view.php?id=31 However, I must say that I am disappointed with what I have
  5. As a retailer of educational software, I am not impressed by city academies so far. Few appear to be spending their money on educational software and we have recently had to take one city academy to the small claims court for failing to pay a trivial £30 bill that was overdue by many months. It cost them over £100 pounds in the end, which is not exactly a model of good financial management.
  6. I am inclined to agree. Most of what I have seen in my subject area, produced by companies such as Boardworks and the big publishers of modern foreign languages coursebooks, is all presentation and no interaction. It's a return to the teacher as a presenter/animator - creating more work for the teacher rather than less work. I always thought computers were designed to help reduce our work load. When I first got interested in computing in 1976 the emphasis was predominantly on interaction. The interactive programs that were developed subsequently in the 1980s placed a lot of emphasis on feedba
  7. Roy asks I don't actually teach these days. I retired in 1993, my last job being a director of a university language centre. Since then I have been involved in training language teachers to use ICT and in various types of consultancy work. But nowadays I spend more time gardening, walking my dog, playing golf, swimming and travelling to nice places abroad. I keep in touch with what's going on in Computer Assisted Language Learning by surfing the Web, via email with numerous contacts worldwide and through membership of the professional associations EUROCALL (Europe) and CALICO (USA). A lot
  8. Roy writes: No, I am not familiar with this software, but there are several packages around of this type, e.g. TaskMagic, which includes a "Millionaire" type game. You can author it easily. My first priority re IWBs for Modern Foreign Languages is to ensure that a decent pair of loudspeakers is available so that multimedia packages can be used - vital for presenting the children with authentic native voices. You don't need special software for IWBs either. Many standard packages such as the text-reconstruction package Fun with Texts and mystery games in foreign languages such as Oscar Lake
  9. Andy writes: 1970s? The 1960s was my period. My college, Queen Mary College, London, had a fantastic theatre/ballroom. I was at gigs held there in the 1960s where these bands played live: The Who, The Animals, Manfred Mann, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Them (Van Morrison lead singer). My wife-to-be worked at an architect's office in Soho Square in the 1960s, next door to the British Board of Film Censors. One day when was on my way to meet her for lunch I was accosted by an Asian woman protesting outside the Board about a film of hers that had been banned. Stills from the film showed just
  10. John writes: I am one old “silver surfer” (just turned 64) who is still a big kid regarding electronic gimmicks, in spite of the fact that my old eyes find it increasingly difficult to read and write mobile phone text messages – but I do try! What worries me about young teachers is that they often fail to look back at the lessons of the past, e.g. relating to my subject area, modern foreign languages, the rise and fall of the language lab. There are various reasons for its demise, but the main ones were lack of training and the inability of teachers to exploit fully the new approaches to t
  11. Roy, you are absolutely right about CPD being the key. I was called in as a trouble-shooter by one of the NOF training agencies towards the end of the NOF funding period. Many teachers who had been enrolled as NOF trainees by their schools had failed to complete their tasks (some of which were completely pointless) and I spent several months visiting around 20 different schools in order to get teachers over the final few hurdles so that they got their NOF training certificates. NOF was a mess and identified as such by Ofsted. This is a digest of the thoughts I formulated post-NOF, based on fe
  12. As I indicated before, I first got interested in ICT in 1976. It was not easy to get into at that time. All my college had was a Prime 300 minicomputer. With the advent of the Apple II, the Commodore PET and the BBC Micro it got easier in the late 1970s / early 1980s. Then things got difficult again. Networks arrived and the PC arrived. The Mac made things easier again, but then Windows arrived (Win 95 = Mac 87) and has continued to make things more difficult again. Now the pace of change is so fast that many teachers have just given up. Last year I was offered a free mobile phone upgrade by O
  13. Modern language teachers are often not experts, especially if they are non-native speakers. I consider myself fluent in German, but I am definitely not an expert. I frequently seek the advice of native speakers, dictionaries and - using a KWIC concordancer - authentic texts in electronic format in order to verify something I am not sure about. This is why we try to introduce as many authentic materials as possible in the classroom, e.g. recordings of native speakers from different regions of the country/world where the language is spoken, authentic texts, off-air recordings from satellite TV,
  14. I also tend to support the view that the IWB tends to be "interactive for the teacher and less so for the students" - unless the teacher is particulary active in the classroom firing questions at the class and getting them to do things. Modern language teachers tend to be very active, regardless of the technology that they use. This is because we are teaching a subject that is performance-related (as is music too) rather than knowledge-related. Getting the learners to "perfom" is what we try to do in the classroom. I got into computer assisted language learning (CALL) in 1976. What made it di
  15. Dealing with plagiarism, as David points out, can be problematic. In my experience there are quite a few grey areas where, for example, the student is guilty only of sloppy bibliographical referencing, in which case a quiet word and a request to add the reference will suffice. I have only come across one case where a whole piece of coursework was largely a cut-and-paste job. I spotted several examples in the piece of work in question and then the JISC detector found lots more. We just gave the coursework a fail grade and reprimanded the student. He didn't learn the lesson, however, and carried
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