Posts Tagged ‘KOTESOL’

Alternative Reality Gaming as an ESL Activity

October 11, 2015

I’ve just finished day one of two of KOTESOL International Conference.  Some presentations were better than others but one, though not the best transfer of information seems the most interesting to build on in the next semester.

An Alternative Reality Game has many of the following elements: fictional narrative, interactive, transmedia (takes place in the real world and online in a variety of media), “This is not a game” mentality (don’t break character), puzzles and codes.  The 1997 Michael Douglas movie, The Game, is an example and another one is given below.

Oh, the talk was given by Paul Starr of Seoul National University.  He gave a good talk that explained the basics but I don’t think it got into the “Participants will then be asked to design some basic ARG elements for their own learning environments.” part described in the conference guide.  To be fair, he had a lot to cover in a short time and I did become interested enough in the idea to want to learn more and that’s gotta be an indicator of success.

I think I’m at three now:  On the third hand, he also included a code game on his handout so some of us ignored part of his talk to solve his mini game.

I teach various classes at my university and also run voluntary activities at the “English Cafe”.  In the past, we’ve watched The Simpsons -with questions to be answered for a prize, played board games (again with prizes available) and every semester we have a scavenger hunt.  If I can get this going, next semester we will have an ARG instead of the Scavenger Hunt.

As my very first brainstormed ideas, I envision:

  • Some kind of code or QR code in the official class information for ESL students.  Leading to…
  • Posters randomly appearing on campus – at the English Cafe and elsewhere.
  • Interruptions or notices during half-times of sporting events or school festival week.
  • Directions to as many English locations on campus – the library has at least two floors with English hard cover books, the ESL profs’ offices, the TOEIC testing room, ….

The big thing lacking is a narrative.  As a sci-fi/ fantasy fan, could it be the signals of a future Dongseo student trapped in time by an experiment in the engineering or medical training spaces?  Or is that too cliche?  Whatever, I want to do this.

ARGs on Dave’s ESL Cafe

An old ARG that rests, slowly decaying, online.

Socks incorporated

Alternative Reality Gaming  Network

Brian is an active blogger

June 30, 2015

I gave a presentation at the Jeju KOTESOL Regional Conference on creativity and in the bio I wrote for their program, I described myself as an active blogger and gave this address.

I still think I am an active blogger but the most recent post before this one on this blog is from …2014, maybe?

I am active at and my presentation slides can be found here.

I do want to re-awaken this blog and some posts in mind.  I just needed to start by allowing any visitors from the conference to find my slides.

See you in a few hours at this address…

Call for articles: Kotesol International Conference reviews

October 24, 2012

To my dozen(s?) of readers, I will soon be reviewing the sessions I attended at the conference and want to know about other sessions.  I review somewhat critically but try to keep focused on the topic.  If you think you have what it takes to write Surprisesaplenty-quality material, let me know.


If you think you have what it takes to write Surprisesaplenty-quality material, let me know, please.

My presentation at the Local Kotesol Meeting

September 18, 2010

Yesterday, I discussed ‘Creativity in the classroom’ at the Busan-Kyeongnam branch of KOTESOL.  My talk went for about a hundred minutes and I am mostly satisfied with it.

I posted about the upcoming meeting a week or so beforehand and mentioned that I was nervous about it.  I can say now that I was indeed nervous, very nervous, for the first few minutes of my talk.  Teaching students now seems comfortable.  Speaking before my peers remains, well, less comfortable.

In my talk, I described how teachers could encourage creativity and even teach how to be creative, but to be careful because sometimes you don’t want creativity in a specific lesson.

The last point first; When it comes to memorizing multiplication tables, there is little room for creative thinking for the student.  In a more scholarly vein, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy of education, one first builds knowledge and comprehension, then works towards using that knowledge creatively.  Beginners are not ready to be creative in most fields.

In how to teach creativity, I discussed a few exercises designed to ‘force connections’.  Creative thinking can be defined as deliberately focusing and loosening your concentration.   You think specifically about your problem – perhaps how to flood-proof your house.  Then you think generally about houses.  Hey, a turtle carries it’s house.  A mobile house might be flood-proof.

To encourage creativity, I referred to Drive, By Daniel Pink.  It’s an interesting read about motivation.

I am not sure if these slides will be all that useful without the one-hour-plus of narration that accompanied them, but have a look, if you like.

Hmm.  I can’t embed the Google Doc.  Alright, time to give up a little more privacy.  Here is a link to creativitiproject.  Someone else had already taken the name with ‘creativity’ spelled right.  The linked blog feels a little rougher than this one as I wrote it mostly for myself and left links that I could check up on later and such. Still, it includes just about everything discussed in the presentation and has the slides.

Saturday the 18th. Now I’m nervous.

September 6, 2010

I wrote at the beginning of the semester that I was concerned that I wasn’t nervous enough.  Now I am:

And there goes any anonymity I might have had.  The Busan Gyeongnam branch of KOTESOL can be found here and you can register now for the international conference held October 16-17 in Seoul elsewhere on the site.


Busan Kotesol interview videos

June 28, 2010

I mentioned in the previous post, that Tim had interviewed some people at the conference.  Here are links to those videos.

Ashley of Busan EFM

David of Ten Magazine

Yeonu of PUFS

Here are some other videos Tim made regarding KOTESOL in general, not just our mini-conference.

Busan Kotesol Mini-conference

June 26, 2010

The weather cooperated well with our plans for a conference – it was miserable and raining all day.  One might as well go to a conference as stare at the rain.

Here are some pics I took.  Click to embiggen.

Starting at the top left: two representatives manned the ATEK desk in the hallway.  I think Greg is being interviewed by EFM Busan English radio.  The Oxford representative and his books.  EFM (again, maybe) interviews two volunteers – from Japan and studying at Dongseo University. A representative from Cambridge publishing.

Second row: Costco kept everyone fed.  We placed them in a poor location but they gave us a great supply of food. David from Ten Magazine showing gift cups come with a subscription.  Peadar prepares his lecture on comics in the classroom.  Jeff LeBow interviews Greg from ATEK.

Bottom row: Busan-Gyeongnam KOTESOL President dramatically demands the jury issue a not-guilty verdict.  I guess ‘Foxy’ leaves the computer on sometimes.  Lyndon and a volunteer clean up.  After the conference, Lyndon went to his evening job and waited tables at Pasta Vanita.

I may post commentary about the conference later.  I was involved in registration, so I only saw one presentation.  I wasn’t thrilled with it, to be honest, but it was on a subject that I have worked on for several years myself, so I probably wasn’t the target audience.

Added Later: The presentation, on making student videos as a class project, was clear and well-thought out.  There were a few ideas that I will incorporate into my current student video diary program, a program I have run and refined over six or seven semesters.  However, the presenter’s class and facilities are quite different from my own.  It was a good presentation, but did not have a lot of meat in it for me.


We had hoped for sixty or more attendees and we had more than eighty so it was a clear success.  The next conference will be even better!

A few links



Ten Magazine

Busan KOTESOL Summer Conference

June 18, 2010

Updated: I had posted a picture of text that included personal information – I have removed it and tried to replace it.  Safari is showing me a ‘failed photo’ image though.  No luck – refer to the link for further information.


On June 26, the Busan Gyeongnam branch of KOTESOL will hold a mini conference.  It is worth going to on it’s own merits, but also, you could meet me at the door there.

Click to embiggen or follow the link below.

More information can be found here. At that link, I found a PDF with this information (and more):

KOTESOL is holding the first annual Busan KOTESOL Summer Conference on June 26th at Pusan University of Foreign Studies. This event is open to all educators, both Korean and expatriate, and aims to develop and enhance networks among professionals in the Busan area. The conference also offers teachers an opportunity to develop their professional skills and understanding of how technology can be used in the classroom. The conference is aimed at both public and private sector educators.

KOTESOL is the Korea-based affiliate of TESOL International, a non-profit association of professional EFL/ESL teachers and educators.

At the last meeting I attended – I missed one to do farm work – the plan was to print about 100 copies of the conference book.  The book will contain  abstracts and further information about the presentations.  I mention this because pre-registration will almost certainly guarantee you one – the rest will be handed out on a  first-come, first serve basis.

KOTESOL: is it worth it?

April 15, 2010

I think so.  I was a somewhat active member of Gangwon’s KOTESOL group for many years.  I am currently involved with the Busan chapter and assisting, in the most limited way, with a mini-conference they are hosting in late Spring. Oh, wait.  KOTESOL is the acronym for Teachers of ESL in Korea group, usually written this way to emphasize it can be Foreign and Korean teachers, not exclusively Korean teachers, as it may read if Korea is at the front of the phrase. Alright, you now know what KOTESOL is and that I am satisfied with being a member.  Why do I think others wouldn’t be? Well, particularly in Gangwondo, the meetings were interesting but frequently focused on issues that didn’t affect me.  Sokcho and surrounding area had a large EPIK group and many speakers gave talks on their specific issues.  There was a talk on teaching at ESL camps, but the speaker and the examples were all concerned with the mandatory camps the EPIK teachers had.  They had reasonable and clear concerns, but mine were different.  For example, EPIK camp teachers have specific teaching schedules they have to follow that don’t allow as much individual input at they would like.  Budgets are set and spent before the foreign teacher knows they exist…  Anyway, the camps I frequently work at, by choice, do allow, or require, personal initiative, are longer in duration and have different goals than the EPIK camps.  Attending that meeting was by no means a total waste, but it wasn’t as satisfying as I had hope. In short, university teachers were a minority at those meetings and their interests were not met.  Which is the chicken and which the egg, I cannot say. Perhaps Scholarly Societies are on their way out as like-minded groups can increasingly refine their specific likes and needs and meet those needs online.John Dupuis, at Confessions of a Science Librarian has examined the issue closely and discusses an article at The on the subject.  This article is about scientific societies, but clear parellels can be found. WordPress is not allowing me to have nested quotes – that is, the first quote indented and the second quote (inside the first), double indented – so I will not indent Dupuis but will indent the stuff he quotes. The thrust of the article is that scholarly societies are having trouble offering true value to their members in the Internet age, that their business models and even their raisons d’etreare being disrupted.

In years past, the answer was easy because being a member came with tangible benefits, such as inexpensive journals and the ability to submit abstracts to annual meetings. Nowadays, these perks don’t seem very important. Most society journals are freely available online [1], and the proliferation of scientific meetings has made it easier to find venues to present my current research. Thus, the frequency with which I ask that question–“should I bother?”–has steadily increased.

Clearly, I am not the only scientist who is ambivalent about societies. Judging from their newsletters, many of the larger societies are struggling with stagnant or declining memberships, especially among young scientists. Although it is the youngest scientists who potentially have the most to gain from a scientific society because of networking opportunities, they are the ones who usually are most poorly served by those societies. This is because scientific societies generally cater to the status quo, not to the new and emerging elements of a field.

Both the The article and Dupuis’ comments on it are worth reading.  Dupuis also links to several of his previous posts on the subject and asks these questions (and is waiting for answers): Questions for scholarly societies:

  • Does your society subsidize member programs with profits from it’s publications program
  • What kind of outreach do you do to the next generation of scholars?
  • What do you tell them is the “value proposition” for joining your society?
  • Do you facilitate your members online networking and professional development?
  • What are your thoughts on an Open Access business model for scholarly society publishing?
  • Do your members often mumble your name under their breath with the words to the effect of “just don’t get it” or “waste of money?”

Added later: Jason Renshaw, who once was president of the Busan/Gyeongnam chapter of KOTESOL, discusses problems with the small meetings and local conferences given by various chapters of KOTESOL.  The problem, apparently, is us!