In 1998, some CALL-IS members had a fantastic idea. Why not
take advantage of the existence of free online platforms to extend
TESOL’s Electronic Village (EV) beyond the confines of the TESOL
convention? Thus was born the Electronic Village Online(EVO), founded by
CALL-IS members Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Susan Gaer, and Tom Robb,
initially as a way to discuss issues prior to the convention and
continue the discussion on these issues after the convention. The first
iterations used Blackboard, but in 2002 the switch to Yahoo Groups
increased accessibility and functionality (Hanson-Smith &
Bauer-Ramazani, 2004). Since its inception, EVO has been open to TESOL
and non-TESOL members worldwide.
In the years following, EVO sessions became stand-alone
sessions, rather than being tied to topics of the TESOL convention. Much
has been gained as EVO sessions have become a popular way for TESOL
members, IATEFL members, and ESL/EFL educators around the world to
engage in free professional development about a wide range of topics,
including teaching with technology (from blogs and Moodle to Second Life
and e-textbooks, and many more); using drama or music to teach English;
teaching oral communication skills, business English, pronunciation,
and vocabulary; NNEST, ITA, and DREAMer issues; just-in-time teaching
and the flipped learning approach; mentoring and lesson-planning; games
and gamification; conflict resolution and peacebuilding for ELLs;
multiliteracies; and content and language integrated learning
Every year, teams of moderators submit their proposals to a
group of volunteer coordinators who read and discuss the proposals.
Promising proposals are provisionally accepted, and the moderators,
themselves also all volunteers, participate in a 4-week training session
in the fall, during which they learn about the EVO’s unique
all-volunteer, all-carrots-no-sticks culture while developing their
session syllabus and materials and building and practicing with the
platforms they will use to deliver the mostly-asynchronous sessions.
Those teams whose proposals meet the requirements for readiness by
December receive the go-ahead to offer their session for 5 weeks in
January and February.
Now in its 16th iteration, EVO2016 ran between 10 January and
14 February 2016. This year, 14 sessions were offered:
Research for Professional Development: Participants
learn about different stages and forms of teacher research for teacher
development in order to improve their efficacy and motivation.
Act: What Teachers Can Do: For U.S.-based
educators, this session aims to help teachers find ways to support the
undocumented students known as DREAMers.
and Copyright: Do the Right Thing: Participants
learn about principles of copyright and fair use and are introduced to
Framework Analysis and public domain/Creative Commons.
Minecraft MOOC: Participants learn about
gamification of learning through constructive play with this popular
VILLAGE 2016: In another gamification session,
participants learn about creating and using games in virtual worlds such
as Second Life.
Learning: Participants in this session look at how
the flipped learning approach can motivate students to develop
This session supports teachers who would like to incorporate technology
into their classes but do not know where to begin.
Resources and Emotions in Teaching and Learning:
This 5-week session involves participants looking at and understanding
emotion with regard to teaching and learning.
for Teachers: Participants access resources,
activities, and blocks in Moodle from a student perspective and then
practice using the same features in practice areas as teachers and
managers of a course.
as Designers: A hands-on and project-based session
during which participants develop an ICT-based activity that follows the
Learning Design cycle and meets the particular needs of their contexts
Creating Digital Textbooks: Participants create the
first chapter of a textbook for their own students in the third
iteration of this popular session.
EFL to Young Learners: This session focuses on the
use of storytelling, drama, games, and action songs with young
Pronunciation Differently: Participants learn to
use the articulatory approach to teaching pronunciation.
for EVO 2016: Participants learn why and how to
implement the CLIL approach that is mandated in many European
educational systems, focusing on how to incorporate technology into a
There were more than 8,500 participants enrolled in these 14
sessions, or an average of more than 600 participants per session. In
reality, enrollment ranged from fewer than 20 in the smallest to almost
5,000 in the largest session.
Although the 2016 sessions have concluded, why not
consider proposing or participating in EVO2017? Our Call for Proposals
comes out in June, and the Call for Participation in December, here. See you next
Notes From the Field
Some of our moderators report what’s going on in selected sessions.
Classroom-Based Research for Professional Development
Run for the first time in EVO sessions, “Classroom-Based
Research for Professional Development” aimed at providing its
geographically dispersed participants with chances of collaborative
learning, discussing practice, reflecting upon issues that create
puzzles, seeking support from each other, and assistance for
professional growth. There were 229 international teachers
participating. The majority of the 92 participants who responded to a
survey conducted at the onset of the session concurred that they were
not very experienced in class-based research. Recognizing this
constraint, the moderators directed the participants toward online
participatory practice in research through asynchronous (wiki, emails,
social media tools, Google Plus) and synchronous (Google Hangout on Air)
technologies. Thanks to this truly great online learning experience, we
were able to open the doors of our classrooms to other colleagues and
tackle the daily challenges of teaching more effectively through sharing
expertise, socializing, and collegial connection. (Asli Lidice Gokturk
EVO ViLLAGE (Virtual Language Learning And Gaming Environment)
focused on creating and applying games in virtual worlds such as Second
Life, OpenSim, and Minecraft by using ideas from f2f (face-to-face)
communication and transferring them to virtual language learning.
Participants learned to build; add sound, texture, and script; import
mesh interactive objects; and design role-plays, simulations, and
With the support from 15 experienced moderators, some 100
participants from around the world immersed in the processes of creating
simulating scenarios to generate language activity in their classes by
inspiring creativity and combining linguistic and technological
development for learners. (Helena Galani)
TECHNO-CLIL for EVO2016
TECHNO-CLIL for EVO2016 aimed at spreading the link between
CLIL and CALL, through synchronous and asynchronous activities on
Moodle, Wiki and WizIQ. A lot of hints and suggestions were offered on
how to plan and implement CLIL lessons through the use of web tools and
ICT in general. Daily online synchronous meetings with international
experts on CLIL and ICT were the highlight for this session's more than
5,000 participants. (Letizia Cinganotto and Daniela
EVO Minecraft MOOC
EVO Minecraft MOOC, #evomc16, has 185 members based here. We have a syllabus which
points to a set of missions here.
Participants were able to find the missions and complete them without
having to ask too many questions.
Figuring all this out is how you play the “Big G” Game of EVO
Minecraft MOOC (Gee, 2008). Completing the missions led to the awarding
of an #EVOMC16 survivors' badge. Evidence of completion of the required
missions was recorded in a spreadsheet, which was in turn linked from
the badge. A link from the awarded badge directs anyone who clicks on
your award to an open document displaying verifiable evidence of what
Participants were all learning about gamification here; it
wasn’t so much about Minecraft specifically. Minecraft is the “little g”
game, the enabler of their emerging knowledge of gamification. When
players entered survival mode, they found that they were assisted by
others in world. With their help, players stayed alive and learned. So,
gamification turned out to be learning through teamwork and mutual
support, and meeting challenges and achieving their goal, whatever it
was. In this game, players set their own goals. By achieving their goals
in the game, light bulbs went off in their heads and lit their way to
some realization of how what they were learning in EVOMC16 might work to
meet their real world challenges. (Vance Stevens)
Teachers as Designers EVO
Out of more than 200 enrolled participants from around the
world, only a handful were really active in the forums, but the quality
of their contributions was high. They work in diverse contexts, and it’s
super interesting to be able to peek into their classrooms and see what
change they want to bring about. They not only completed the weekly
tasks, but also gave constructive feedback to each other, which is part
of the session design and part of what makes it so special. It was
reassuring to see the participants experiment with technologies—for
example, quite a few of them took up a challenge to create their
learner’s persona using infographic software. The weekly synchronous
convergence sessions also added a more personal touch to the session, as
did gaining more insight into Learning Design through our guest
speakers. Overall, even though it was our first time moderating an EVO
session, it was certainly an inspiring experience. (Emma Cresswell and
Gee, J. P. (2008). Learning and games. In K. Salen (Ed.), The ecology of games: Connecting youth, games, and
learning (pp. 21–40). The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press. Retrieved from http://ase.tufts.edu/DevTech/courses/readings/Gee_Learning_and_Games_2008.pdf
Hanson-Smith, E., & Bauer-Ramazani, C. (2004).
Professional development: The Electronic Village Online of the TESOL
CALL Interest Section. TESL-EJ, 8(2). Retrieved from http://tesl-ej.org/ej30/int.html
Liakos, retired; EVO coordinator since 2012. Gaithersburg,
Lidice Gokturk Saglam, EFL teacher and moderator of Class
Research EVO 2016. Istanbul, Turkey.
moderator of EVO Virtual Language Learning And Gaming Environment 2016,
EFL/EAP tutor, adult educator, FL school teacher, assessor. Lamia,
PhD, moderator of Techno-CLIL for EVO 2016, researcher at the Italian
Institute for Documentation, Innovation,and Educational Research
(INDIRE), former teacher of English, teacher trainer and author of
Cuccurullo, moderator of Techno-CLIL for EVO 2016, EFL
teacher, tutor, trainer, university contract professor, forum moderator,
author of digital content.
Stevens, EFL teacher at HCT/CERT in Al Ain UAE; comoderator of
EVO Minecraft MOOC, founder of Webheads in Action, coordinator of
Learning2gether podcasts since 2010, and EVO coordinator since
Bauer-Ramazani, ESL teacher and teacher trainer at Saint
Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, USA.
Cresswell, moderator of EVO Teachers as Designers 2016, ADoS
and EFL teacher and trainer at International House Coimbra, online tutor
for International House World Organisation, Cambridge Speaking
Examiner. Coimbra, Portugal.
Rolinska, moderator of EVO Teachers as Designers 2016, EAP/ESP
tutor and TELT officer at the University of Glasgow, teacher trainer
for Certificate in Online Tutoring and online tutor for MA in Education
at the University of Derby. Glasgow, Scotland.