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ElliiCon2022: Highlights & Takeaways

September 19, 2022

Our second annual virtual conference, held on September 15 and 16, was a huge success thanks to all of the organizers, speakers, and attendees.

After attending any conference, I love to jot down my top takeaways so that I can look back and see how far we've come. 

The theme for this year's conference was Simplicity in ELT, so here is my simple summary of ElliiCon2022!

S is for speaking activities

We were thrilled to have Shelly Terrell, a friend and former ESL Library blogger, join us at ElliiCon2022. Shelly has always shared the top digital tools with our community.

At ElliiCon, Shelly had plenty of fun ideas for getting students to speak up. I especially loved her idea of using avatar apps with shy students as well as this Show-n-Tell with a Cell activity.

show and tell with a cell

Shelly Terrell presents her "Show-n-Tell with a Cell" activity at ElliiCon2022.

Karina Zew from Bridge also shared a fun speaking task where students practice intonation and body language using the simple word "hey."

Drawing that demonstrates two people using different intonation and body language with the word hey.

Karina Zew shows teachers how students can practice intonation using the word "hey."

I is for inspiring ideas for assessment

Dr. Ken Beatty kept things simple by helping teachers rethink assessment. His ideas included having students create their own assessments and asking them to predict what would be on a test. 

Dr. Ken Beatty's assessment idea.

Dr. Ken Beatty talks about agile assessment at ElliiCon2022.

Keishia Thorpe also talked about assessment and the importance of helping newcomer students feel safe and welcome in order to maximize their potential. 

Famous quote by Reyes et al 2012 on assessment.

Keishia Thorpe talks about a famous quote by Reyes et al. on assessment during her session at ElliiCon2022.

M is for more than just bubble baths 

Dr. Katie Welch returned to ElliiCon2022 to talk more about social-emotional health. Dr. Welch shared practical tips for teachers including setting boundaries, streamlining with templates, and celebrating why we do what we do

She got a lot of love for her Circle of Influence tip, where teachers focus on what they can do (vote, mentor, advocate for change) rather than what is out of their control.

Presenter showing her Why I Teach Binder on screen.

Dr. Katie Welch presents her Why I Teach binder as an example of how teachers can celebrate why they do what they do.

P is for prizes and prizewinners

There were fun prizes auctioned off after every ElliiCon session, including Ellii mugs, water bottles, hats, T-shirts, and most importantly, free subscriptions! All of the speakers also received the same swag that they were giving away, which was a fun way to model the prizes. 

a list of the prize winners

List of ElliiCon2022 winners.

Congrats to all winners! Be sure to complete our Post-Event Survey (sent via email) before September 26 for a chance to win the grand prize: an Apple Watch! Two runner-up winners will receive a 1-year subscription to Ellii. Registrants of ElliiCon2022, keep an eye on your inbox to enter.

L is for laughter and light-hearted learning

I'm sure all attendees would agree that our lovely host (and Instagram star) Lise helped set the mood for a light-hearted learning event. 

Ellii Staff at ElliiCon2022.

Lise (bottom left corner) and the Ellii team at ElliiCon2022.

At Ellii, we love telling and hearing stories and often start meetings with jokes or tales. Our CEO, Ben, kept things simple this year by shining a spotlight on our CTO, Eduardo.

Eduardo works tirelessly behind the scenes and is responsible for keeping Ellii running 24/7 for teachers and students around the world. We hope you all got a chance to meet him at the Presenter Q&A Table.

Ben and Eduardo laughing at ElliiCon2022.

CEO Ben Buckwold (left) and CTO Eduardo Prauze (right) having a good time at ElliiCon2022.

I is for intensive listening activities 

We were thrilled and honored to have Nik Peachey speaking at ElliiCon this year. Nik shared simple, yet effective ideas and activities for listening practice, such as asking more questions that we don't know the answer to and having students convert closed questions (Yes/No) into open-ended ones.

The Publishing team was madly taking notes throughout Nik's session, inspired to continue improving our NEW Photo Prompts section and Silent Clips video category. 

Nik Peachy talks about listening comprehension at ElliiCon2022.

Nik Peachey talks about listening comprehension at ElliiCon2022.

C is for Coffee Talks

A few members of Ellii's Publishing team (Jen, Ann, Tanya, and I) kicked ElliiCon off each morning with an informal Coffee Talk.

On Thursday we chatted about simplicity and shared some of our favorite simplicity hacks. (You all ran out and bought a pay-attention-rubber-chicken, right?) We also shared some improvements Ellii has made this year to make teaching easier (Collections, Video gallery, Ellii Bot, and improved task designs). 

On Friday we focused on creativity and shared our Word of the Year wall as well as other creative projects we've done at Ellii, including our Wordless Lessons. We talked about what we do to incorporate creativity into our own lives and why creativity is important for teachers and students.

Watch Recorded Coffee Talk Sessions

I is for innovative flashcard activities

Ellii's very own Jen took attendees on an adventure through the Flashcard gallery, sharing innovative ways to use images in the classroom while also highlighting lots of features Ellii subscribers may be unfamiliar with, such as the ability to edit text, play audio, and make changes on the fly.

I hope you'll all try Jen's What are you doing this weekend? activity. 

T is for talking at tables with teachers

Between ElliiCon sessions, attendees could either take a break or stay online for speed networking or table talk! 

At the Publishing Team Table, members of the Publishing team (including Alison, Lula, and Lara who weren't in the Coffee Talks) enjoyed meeting new teachers after every session. We took down some excellent requests for new lessons, features, and flashcard categories and also enjoyed some small talk.

Y is for "You can draw too!"

One of my favorite parts of the conference was the invitation to doodle along! 

ELT graphic facilitator Emily Bryson's interactive drawing workshop showed how simple illustrations reduce the processing load on our learners. From roadmaps and visual rubrics to the Feedback Fairy, I think we can all agree that graphic facilitation is a superpower we can find a use for!

Drawings of common icons used in graphic facilitation like a drawing of an ear for listening and a drawing of speech bubbles for speaking.

Emily Bryson shows how drawing simple icons can help students learn and retain new vocabulary.

PS. I had fun sketchnoting Emily's session while she created sketchnotes of all the other sessions. (Emily's summaries will be available soon!)

If you registered for ElliiCon2022 and missed out on the event or would like to relive the magic, you can watch a replay of the ElliiCon sessions on YouTube!

What did you think of ElliiCon2022?

If you joined us at ElliiCon2022, please share your top takeaway!  

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