As I write, the International House World office is buzzing with excitement (and some trepidation) as we prepare for our very first live IH Teachers’ Online Conference. The conference will take place on Friday 25th November 2011 with sessions running from 07.00 – 22.00 GMT to allow teachers from all over the network to take part. The theme of the conference is ‘Collaborative Teaching’, and the idea is that teachers can share the successes they have with their students with other like-minded IH teachers around the IHWO network.
The conference will take place on Blackboard Collaborate (kindly provided by our sponsors Oxford University Press) allowing participants to attend the conference from anywhere using just a headset with a microphone. Our plenary speakers are Jeremy Harmer and Simon Greenall and we will also have sessions delivered by the IHWO Coordinators and teachers from IH schools all over the world.
Coming soon – the IH Platform!
On the theme of using online technology to facilitate sharing and collaboration, we are currently putting the final touches to a new sharing platform for the network. The platform was conceived and created by Trevor Udberg, the Managing Director of IH Newcastle. Trevor’s vision was to create an online space where teachers, administrators and directors could freely share best practice, materials and information. For teachers particularly, the hope is that the platform will become a virtual staff room and resource centre where they can upload lesson material to share with their colleagues all over the network. However, the platform won’t be limited to academic use. For example, receptionists could also use the platform to share documents or blog about visa issues. International House World has already made some progress in the area of ‘online sharing’ with our Language Resources moodle site, where IH Coordinators post material and resources for IH teachers to use. With the new IH Platform we hope to create a system that is truly collaborative and beneficial for staff in all areas of our language schools. The IH Platform will be launched at the Director of Studies Conference in January 2012.
Launch of new ‘look’ for IH Brand identity
As you will have hopefully noticed, International House has a new look. An essential element of this process was revamping our website www.ihworld.com. Not only does the new site have a fresh look that incorporates our ‘language rainbow’ and the new Rufus font but we have also spent a lot of time making the site more accessible and user friendly. If you work for an IH school then please visit the Affiliates’ Area where you should be able to find what you need a lot more easily! For IH schools looking for guidance on implementing the new IH Brand identity we have a dedicated IH Brand resources website. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
International House in Action
In May this year we launched International House Action Day – http://ihworld.com/actionday One aim of International House Action Day is to celebrate the charitable efforts made by all the schools in the International House network across the globe. More importantly though, it is an opportunity for the schools to pledge their charitable donations for the year ahead, to launch new fundraising campaigns and to tell the network about what they do to help their community. Obviously the International House World office couldn’t launch such an initiative without making pledges ourselves, so we all took part in sponsored events over the past few months to raise money for our chosen charity. Between us we raised over £2,000.