On Saturday Sophie from emc headed down to London to the beautiful Macmillan campus for MaWSIG’s conference ‘New Ways of Working for New Ways of Learning’.

The day was a real mix of practically looking at the ways in which our working practices have changed over recent years to how these have impacted the classrooms and learners we are all connected to, in some way or other.

Working smarter, not harder: the nine characteristics of the Productivity Ninja

Graham Alcott from Think Productive kicked off the day with his fantastic exploration into the messy and muddled way in which we work in ever quickening and complex teams and organisations. He also looked at the way in which we add our own stresses to this mix by heaping pressure on ourselves to be quicker, think better, do longer all of the time, which inevitably is counter-productive. Taking 9 areas he suggested small, do-able adjustments to our working patterns and ways of thinking where we could have significant, positive, impact on our work-life balance – for the long term.

Our key snippets from Graham’s talk:

View our storify of Graham’s full talk here.

Working in a digital space

ELT author Antonia Clare gave us an interesting overview of the digital space – what that means to her and us now, but also how it has changed over time. Antonia looked at the opportunities that working in this space provided us with as well as some great tools for being able to work effectively in them. What we loved about Antonia’s talk was the emphasise on collaboration and making a point to communicate effectively with each other – whether that be digitally or face to face. Here’s a few of the top tweets, but read them all here.

Looking after number one

One of the areas that often gets neglected at conferences aimed at CPD is the focus on yourself. Bev Alderson’s session was aimed to get us thinking much more about how we can look after our bodies and our minds. Bev told us some frightening statistics about the effects of sitting at your desk has on our bodies:

And then proceeded to give us a host of really simple, practical ways we can alleviate some of these effects:

And we even had time for Bev to take us through some stretches that would help keep us supple and pain free.

At the time of publishing this post Storify was down so we haven’t been able to publish the full tweets from Bev’s session, but we’ll add it as soon as it’s up and running again 🙂

Writing skills for effective 21st Century materials

After lunch we then launched into a fascinating and in-depth look at the current issues facing writers when working on digital materials. Heather Buchanan and Julie Norton are both lecturers as well as ELT authors and have been pulling together research on digital pedagogy. It was by far the most comprehensive and sensible analysis of the state of the industry and we’re really looking forward to hearing more about the research at IATEFL when the next instalment will be ready. There are far too many interesting tweets from their session to list below so it’s definitely reading the full storify of tweets if this interests you, but for now here’s a few essential points:

Emerging new pedagogies: should we change the way we design classroom activities?

A joint presentation from Thom Kiddle (Director at NILE) and Kirsten Holt (Publisher for Teacher Professional Development at Macmillan and MaWSIG Event Co-ordinator) on whether we should change classroom activities given the new pedagogical implications of emerging technologies.

We ended the day (well, before we had wine courtesy of Macmillan) with the opportunity to discuss and reflect in small groups these questions:

So as you can see we crammed a huge amount into the day. And there was a lot of great discussion as well as sharing of frustrations! Sophie has also been organising MaWSIG’s next event which is the Pre Conference at IATEFL in Birmingham. This day will be delving into a lot more of the practical issues surrounding writing for digital so don’t miss it if you can be in Birmingham on Tuesday 12th April.