The second edition of The Image Conference: Film, Video, Images and Gaming in English Language Teaching took place at Cultura Inglesa in Brasilia, Brazil on 25th October. The conference was organised by the Brasilia Chapter of Braz-Tesol and had the backing of the International Association of Teaching English as a Foreign Language Association’s Learning Technologies Special Interest Group. 140 participants from all over Brazil came together to discuss the impact of media and images in language learning.
The programme included plenary sessions by leading experts Graham Stanley and Kieran Donaghy (both ELTons award-winners for Innovation in Teacher Resources). In his session Kieran looked at how a variety of short films could be used to promote creativity and communication in the language learning. Graham examined why teachers should be interested in video games and shared a number of practical activities using images taken from video games that could be used in the language classroom. There were 18 workshops in which practitioners in the use of images in language learning shared their experiences, insights and know-how and provided participants with an excellent opportunity to enhance their competence in specific relevant areas.
The two key aims of the conference were to put media and images at the centre of the language learning agenda, and to offer guidance on using media and images critically and creatively in language teaching in the age of the Internet.
There were three recurring themes throughout the day. The first was that the proliferation of mobile devices such as digital cameras, mobile phones and tablets, which allow us easily and proficiently to capture moving images, the introduction of inexpensive, accessible and user-friendly editing tools, and at the same time the emergence of distribution sites such as YouTube, Daily Motion or Vimeo have changed the way moving images relate to society, education and language learning forever.
A second dominant theme was the many educational benefits of using images in language teaching. Many speakers highlighted how the use of different types of images promotes creativity, critical thinking and collaborative learning, and gave practical examples of how this could be exploited in the language classroom.
The third recurring theme throughout the conference was the highlighting of the educational benefits of not just using media and images inside and outside the classroom, but also of creating media and images. Many speakers looked at innovative ways of integrating images into the school system and suggested ways teachers could develop to become successful 21st century educators.
In conclusion, the conference showed the efforts of the language learning educational community in Brazil and further afield to integrate digital media in all its different forms into curricula on a large scale. The diverse target group of The Image Conference provides an ideal starting environment for ongoing and effective knowledge sharing and creation around these issues.
The conference was a great success and initial feedback has been excellent. Cocktails, pizzas and a VJ in the gardens of Cultura Inglesa were the perfect way to end the conference.