About the Webcast

About the Technology involved
The Koreabridge Guide to Webcasting

Objectives:

This demonstration project will produce a "technology kit" to enable other ELT organizations around the world to affordably produce webcasts of their own conferences/symposia, with the obvious benefit to teachers in accessing conferences beyond borders. That kit will be on the internet, and publicized. And of course, this first event will bring ELT figures such as David Nunan, Donald Freeman, and Dave Sperling to groups of teachers in various locales outside of Korea in live interactive discussions.

Rationale:

The idea of making ELT conferences available to those who can't travel is hardly new. In the past year the British Council, IATEFL, and ELTeCS have joined to include video broadcasts to a few venues and daily email reports to a wider community. Several other conferences have used live chatboards.

While the Internet has long been lauded as a means to access information, connect teachers, and provide teaching resources, the interactive side of the technology has been largely untapped. Research has indicated that there have been no ELT conferences that utilize audio-video technology for real-time presentation and interaction. While recognizing the value of "chatboard conferences" (where participants read documents and then discuss them through either "live chat" resources or asynchronous "discussion boards"), all teachers are aware of the value of aural and visual input. Additionally, the input of an audience crossing national/ethnic/cultural boundaries is a benefit to all.

There are certainly a great number of technological options - a large number of online courses are available, including some MATESOL and TESOL-studies programs. These generally rely on expensive and technologically-advanced environments: WebCT, Blackboard, etc. Even if a local university were to offer access to their online classes system, the learning curve for presenters and viewers alike makes this an unattractive choice. Additionally, there is no assurance such support would be available in subsequent years at differing venues - this project aims to develop non-dependency.

IATEFL 2003 was the inspiration for this ELTeCS project, along with a few chatboard conferences and our own history. Korea TESOL took the first step on this path in 1999, when we hosted PAC2 (the Second Pan-Asia Conference) and placed a number of presentations and interviews on the web - most of this is still available, at http://www.asianbridges.com/pac2/index.html .

Recording presentations and interviews and placing these on the internet is nothing innovative. Interactivity, in conferences and well as in classrooms, is the key. However, we must also recognize technology's limitations - which in this case is infrastructure and pricing, not computer hardware or software.

Our solution is to offer followup "meet the presenter" interactive discussion sessions, using audio-only output from Korea, and email/chatboard/"messenger" input from our overseas participants. These sessions take place on Sunday after viewers have watched Saturday presentations, which are downloaded overnight. This webcast both proves the viability of this approach, and produces a kit to enable others to replicate this project. And the files will remain on the web for years to come. (As of September 2003, the Claire Kramsch video at the Asianbridges.com site gets over 30 hits per month - for a four year old recording)

Team members:

Webcast Coordinator: Robert J. Dickey, Immediate Past President, Korea TESOL; Assistant Professor, Gyeongju University School of Foreign Languages & Tourism (Administrative coordination)
Webcast Producer/Director: Jeff Lebow, Pusan University of Foreign Studies; owner and webmaster of Koreabridge/Asianbridges/Wordbridges/Pusan Web (Technical coordination)
Webcast Associates: (5) David Cormier, Hannam Univ, Manager of Daejeonweb.com; Sarah MacAdam, Bukyung Univ, incoming Pusanweb manager; Bonnie Stewart, Hannam Univ;
Conference Chair: Yangdon Ju, Associate Professor, Hyechon College (Conference management)
Conference Co-Chair: David Kim, Instructor, Kookmin University (Conference management)

Partners:
IATEFL-China has pledged to host two viewing sites, ETA-ROC (Taiwan) one, and we have two sites pending with Japan Association of Teachers of English.
We hope to incorporate several British Council offices in various Asian countries, particularly in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. The issue here is whether they can open Sunday morning for this event.
Conference supporters include Korea Research Foundation, TESOL Inc. , British Council , and numerous publishers