International conferences, for free

Last night, I watched David Crystal’s plenary talk at the IATEFL conference. Of course, it was still morning in Liverpool, where he was speaking. I couldn’t get to Liverpool this year, as much as I wanted to. But, being able to watch the livestream from the comfort of my living room is a pretty good deal. I was able to share the plenary with over 200 good friends in far flung corners of the globe. And for friends whose far corners don’t include decent Internet connections, there’s a recording.



IATEFL will be broadcasting all of their plenaries and interviews, and a fair number of sessions all week. You can check their online schedule here. For me here in Japan, the conference in London begins at dinner time. I can catch the plenaries easily enough. Most of the conference, however, happens while I’m asleep. As much as I adore Ken Wilson and the speakers lined up for Failure Fest on Thursday, I don’t imagine that I’ll be up at 3 am to catch that live. Luckily, there will be a recording waiting for me in the morning, so I can enjoy the event with my morning coffee!

Being there virtually is not as much fun as being in Liverpool with all of the great teachers who are gathering there to share and learn together. But, it is several thousand dollars cheaper, there’s no jet lag, and I can enjoy recordings, forum discussions, reports from roving reporters, and blogs at my convenience. It’s not a bad trade off at all. The easiest way to find the links to live presentations (or recordings afterward) is to follow the conference on social networks. On Twitter, simply do a search or follow the #IATEFL hashtag. On Facebook, join the IATEFL group page for updates.

Jasmin watching IATEFL

Jasmin watching IATEFL

The teachers with IATEFL Hungary are amazingly organized, and have created a parallel conference around the IATEFL online offerings from the conference in Liverpool. Even if you aren’t in Hungary, you can follow their guidelines for really getting a lot out of your virtual conference experience with Liverpool Online in Budapest!

Finally, if you get excited about virtual conferences, I’ve put together an archive of past conference recordings on my wiki for IATEFL and other online conferences. If you notice that I’m missing a conference, please let me know!

See you in Liverpool, sort of!



You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Ivan says:

    Barb, I liked the part you said ” it is several thousand dollars cheaper, there’s no jet lag” and I couldn’t agree more with you. The worst thing about going to conferences abroad is that you always have to pay a fortune to participate. I wish I could go to more conferences but they’re a rip off… :-(

    • Barbara says:

      Thanks, Ivan! Unless you have a teaching job that pays your conference expenses, attending a major international conference is a huge expense, and it can be very hard to justify the expense — no matter how wonderful the experience.

      Online participation will never replace the excitement that comes with physically being at a conference. The energy that comes from being around hundreds of motivated and enthusiastic teachers is amazing! However, it’s not something that most of us can do often, and being able to join in the fun and learning online is a very decent substitute!