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TESL Ontario Conference - Part 1
November 17, 2015
DAY 1 
Anyone coming in from London via Via knows the drill.  The earliest one can arrive at the Sheraton is 9:10, and that's if you walk at a quick pace from Union Station straight up to the Sheraton.  After the bags were checked, we went upstairs to register and check out the publishers/posters.  My colleague dashed right into a workshop but I took some time to catch up with other TESL O members, some of whom I had never met IRL (In Real Life).  

Workshop #1: Reading and Visual Tools (Widgit Online)

This was also the first year TESL Ontario experimented with  first-come, first-served workshops.  For most, this worked out, because there was ample time betweeen workshops to find your way to the next one. My first workshop was Breakthrough Reading And Visual Tools In The Cloud by Bogdan Pospielovsky of Bridges.  I'm usually wary of attending the publishers' workshops because I don't want to spend a lot (or any) money on resources.  Widgit Online will let you try out their resources for 21 days before asking you to pay for it.  Create an account, use the freebies as much as you can, and then maybe convince your admin to buy the package.

Widgit online will take a reading, and allow the instructor to create "widgits" above the key words or expressions that can help learners negotiate meaning without constantly referring to their dictionaries.  A string of text will be accompanied with graphics or other images that the instructor can edit for logic.  Like I said, very useful for lower levels, or Literacy programs.

But that's not all!  Instructors can create interactive material on this site.  Students with access to a lab can hover their mouse over the content words to see an image, or choose the point and speak option, which will allow the learners to read and listen to the material at the same time.  Having just taught a Literacy class for the first time last year, this workshop ignited a fire of possibilities.  Imagine the resources you could create!  


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