Posts, articles & interviews

ELT Entrepreneurs – John Pettigrew

ELT Entrepreneurs – John Pettigrew

Our ELT Entrepreneurs so far have been teachers turned start ups so this week we’re looking at an entrepreneur with a different ELT background. John Pettigrew has gone from working for ELT publishers to bring his expertise to his own company, Futureproofs, a web-based platform that helps teams of authors, editors and designers to make sure that the books they work on are correct before they’re published.

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Applying the Pareto Principle to ELT Publishing

Applying the Pareto Principle to ELT Publishing

In another post from the ELTjam vaults, we look at the concept of MVPs in ELT.

The acronym MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, seems to be popping up in conversations with ELT publishers all over the place right now; and that’s odd, because up until about 2013, I’d never heard a publisher mention it. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an MVP is a tactic used in product development to gauge customer interest in a new product or product feature. The idea is that you don’t build the whole thing; you just build enough to see whether people might be interested in what you’re proposing.

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Shaking up the ELT conference format

Shaking up the ELT conference format

ELT conferences are great. They’re an opportunity to learn, to network, to make new friends. They’re also a chance to enjoy a few nights out where it’s acceptable that ELT is the only thing on the conversational menu! But having attended a couple of conferences already this year, with IATEFL on the way, and with my memories of past years still fresh, I increasingly feel that the ELT conference scene could benefit from a bit of a shakeup. On May 8–9th this year, ELTjam and Oxford TEFL Barcelona are hoping to do just that with our Innovate ELT Conference.

Here are a few of the things about ELT conferences that we felt were due an update and how we’ve decided to address those things for our event in Barcelona.

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How to be a successful education app developer

How to be a successful education app developer

When this blog was brand new (nearly two years ago), I stumbled across a post by a French indie app developer called Pierre Abel who was having great success by focussing on educational iPad apps for young learners. As someone who had spent quite a lot of time and effort trying to develop successful ELT apps while working in-house at an ELT publisher, I was interested in how an independent developer had approached it, and whether I could find any useful lessons that ELT app publishers could apply. I thought it would be interesting to see how he’s done since then and whether the same lessons still apply.

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8 ways to get traffic to your ELT website

8 ways to get traffic to your ELT website

If you have a language learning blog or website, you’re one of millions out there. The question you should be asking yourself is how do I compete with all those other sites? How do I get ahead of them? How can I get interested learners to visit my website first? It’s not easy. There’s no magic wand. But it’s possible. Here are 8 ways that should get you going in the right direction.

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ELT Entrepreneurs – ELT Teacher 2 Writer

ELT Entrepreneurs – ELT Teacher 2 Writer

The latest in our ELT Entrepreneur series is ELT Teacher 2 Writer –  a team of three. Karen Spiller is a freelance publisher with 28 years’ of experience in ELT publishing and it was her idea back in 2012. Sue Kay is a best-selling ELT author (Inside Out, Reward Resource Packs, Focus), and Karen White is a freelance ELT editor and project manager who’s worked for Macmillan Education and Richmond ELT, among others.

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Ten tips for getting into digital materials writing

Ten tips for getting into digital materials writing

A popular post from our archives gets an update. Getting into digital materials writing is still a goal for many. Good luck if you’re one of them and here are some tips to help. While not comprehensive, the list is the real deal and reflects the big changes happening right now in ELT publishing as a result of the rush to digital. It’s aimed more at those trying to get in as new writers, rather than established authors.

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Gamification with or without the tech

Gamification with or without the tech

It’s easy to think gamification is only for the tech savvy. Or to be put off by the buzzwordiness of it. But actually you can incorporate it into your classroom without having all the latest tech tools. Below are 3 ways to gamify your classroom with and without tech.

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Taking a step back from a start-up

Taking a step back from a start-up

In 2013, we ran two posts where Lindsay Rattray explained the opportunity he saw in bringing together the pedagogy of ELT and the power of inter-connected mobile technology.  His startup, ClassWired, was a way to do student-centred ELT activities in class. It was web-based to work on any device.  It gave you information about your class, like how fast your students are working, and what they are finding difficult. In fact, Lindsay was an early ELT Entrepreneur, asking questions and looking for answers from an ELT teaching and EdTech perspective. Picking up his story almost two years on, it’s interesting to see how the questions have changed, fundamentally.

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News & snippets

What we’re reading

What we’re reading

We’re not sure how we had time to read anything during IATEFL week, as we were all either presenting or attending the conference. Here’s a collection of what we managed to peruse nonetheless. Sell your lesson plans online The Time Educational Supplement... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

Another helping of what’s been occupying our screens this week. Tag Heuer to bring out a smartwatch If Tag Heuer makes a success of its smartwatch plans, it’ll be further proof that the biggest drawback to smartwatches so far is not what they can do, or... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

Yo! (translation: Here’s a post of what we’ve been reading this week.) The death of the app? Already?!  Apps might be replaced by notifications if the success of an app called Yo is anything to go by. Yo has one function — sending the word... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

We’ve all had our heads in the app clouds this week but there’s always room for an article about Dothraki on our reading list. How to hire a developer We’ve talked about hiring developers if you’re looking to build an app, but we’ve not... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

Another week of trains, reading, and a “Who’s the best boss?” competition: buying lunch for the office … always a winner. Here’s what we were reading when we weren’t perusing sushi and pizza menus. Sony smart glass With smart... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

More commute time being used wisely this week for the benefit of What we’re reading! Real world use of translation apps At least for now, the £24bn interpreter industry isn’t under threat according to the BBC journalist who set out to conquer a day in... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

Lots of reading going on this week at ELTjam. Here’s what’s been filling our screens: The key to building products that might succeed On a similar theme to our post on what to do with your app idea, this (long) article on avoiding building products that... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

We’ve all been backwards and forwards between London and Cambridge this week so there’s been plenty of time for reading on the train. Here’s some of what’s been filling our commute. Google stops making Google Glass … When Twitter stopped... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

This week the entire world has been reading about ELT with its sudden push into the spotlight. We, however, have been mostly reading this stuff: The experts weigh up 2015 EdTech predictions If you’ve got a week to set aside, this long article is worth a read.... Read more...
What we’re reading

What we’re reading

It’s almost that time in January when you can stop asking people if they had good holidays and opening every email with a New Year’s greeting. Think how much more time that will make for reading! Here’s what we’ve been reading in the first proper week of work in 2015.

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