IATEFL Conference in Brighton - 16th to the 19th April 2011
Despite not being quite as exotic as Orlando or San Diego (although perhaps more so than Baltimore), a trip to Brighton was met with considerable enthusiasm by Nicola and myself. Not only was it both our first times to Brighton, but it also was our first time promoting Audio Notetaker as a tool for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
The story of how we ended up exhibiting at the IATEFL conference is actually quite interesting, as stories about exhibiting at conferences go. It all started when Richard Cauldwell, after being introduced to Audio Notetaker, decided to get in touch with us. Richard has been working the TEFL arena for many years and is passionate about using authentic language in order to teach students how English is actually spoken, as apposed to how text books claim it’s spoken. Really getting to the nitty gritty of speech is something that’s made significantly easier with Audio Notetaker, as he soon discovered. We chatted for quite a while and he suggested we try to make an appearance at a conference he was going to speak at, the biggest in the TEFL calendar. It was only by sheer fluke that the day I made my second enquiry about sponsorship/exhibition, they had had a cancellation and we were able to get first dibs on the spot.
Simultaneously, I had also been having a dialogue with Tammy Yeadon, the principal at the Northern School of Languages. I had approached her with a proposition for a partnership and she was interested enough to invite me to a meeting with her and their director of studies, Cheryl Greenlay. The deal, as I proposed it, was that they tell their international students about Audio Notetaker, the students get a discount on the retail price of a great tool which can help them get better grades, and the school can make some commission. In essence, our Affiliate Scheme. What came out of the meeting, however, was something a lot more exciting. Cheryl instantly saw the potential to use Audio Notetaker in the classroom and for creating resources for independent study (more on this in future posts).
Over the following days we arranged for Cheryl to come down to IATEFL and spend a bit of time on our booth. Her presence was an asset, not only as she gave concrete examples of exercises Audio Notetaker could enhance, but she also engaged in a couple of conversations with influencers and even arranged to publish a study into Audio Notetaker in a TEFL magazine. I for one am I very excited about our partnership with Cheryl and the NSL. Richard also spent some time with us and gave us a few exercises he had created to demo with. His input as well was very gratefully received and several people even recognised his material, which I’m sure gave us some extra respectability.
The event itself went very well. It did take a bit of bribery to get people to come over and chat to us (ie., chocolates), but when they did come they were impressed, almost without exception. Watch this space for more information regarding the development of Audio Notetaker into the languages marketplace!
Aside from the conference itself, we all had a great time in Brighton. Exhibiting hours were 8:30-17:30, which didn’t leave us a whole lot of time to explore the city, but Nicki and I were both pleasantly surprised at what we saw. The dilapidated exteriors of buildings once grand now add a certain quaintness to the coastal strip, the distant skeleton of the old pier epitomising the sense that the promenade is but a ghostly reflection of its palatial past. The erratic alleyways connecting the larger streets further adding to the whimsicality of the place. We were not short of choice when it came to dinnertime too, and I must say we had fantastic meals every night. All in all, a good trip!