SAVE THE DATE!
In the last six months, we have been thrust into cyber school, virtual doctor appointments and Zoom weddings, giving way to a new definition for ‘Virtual Reality’! It’s hard to believe that something you can’t even see could have such a catastrophic impact on our lives! We have experienced trauma and great loss in a variety of forms, not the greatest nor the least of which was not gathering together for iFLT (International Forum on Language Teaching).
Anyone who has ever attended or been involved in iFLT knows the tremendous undertaking it is to put together all the pieces that make it a one-of-a-kind experience and a tremendously valuable training event. Teri and I generally spend an entire year planning and preparing for iFLT, and quickly putting together a high-quality virtual event– while simultaneously helping teachers get through COVID with emergency lesson plans, online support and digital curricula– was not an option!
Now that we have had time to process and consider the vast ramifications of our ‘new virtual reality’, we are more excited than EVER to announce iFLT 2021, July 12-16. iFLT is back, bigger and better than ever–and virtually! Time and space will no longer impede your ability to participate! Wherever you are in the world, and no matter what time zone you are in, iFLT will be accessible! Although most of us would prefer to meet face-to-face, making iFLT 2021 a virtual event has a host of benefits and makes more sense for a myriad of reasons.
First and most importantly, we care about your health and safety. There is no way to predict the eradication of COVID, and we know that large gatherings could potentially cause a resurgence of the virus… even IF there is a vaccine. There are so many unknowns, which not only impact your physical health but also your emotional well-being. Many of us will not be ready to get into an airplane or conference room with hundreds of others in close proximity. An online conference removes the risk of spreading the virus and the stress of putting yourself in that situation. You can participate in iFLT from the comfort and safety of your own… patio, porch, living room, bedroom, or swimming pool!
In addition to your mental and physical health, we have to consider your financial situation. Teachers have lost jobs and taken pay cuts; spouses have been furloughed and/or permanently laid off. Schools have cut funding for travel and training, and some have actually banned travel, removing it from the budget entirely. Virtual iFLT takes travel expenses out of the equation and creates a conference that will be more cost-effective and longer-lasting.
All of the LIVE sessions will be recorded and housed on the iFLT 2021 Cloud. That means that you don’t have to miss a single session! You can watch live sessions and later return to watch the concurrent sessions that you might have missed.
An online conference also gives us the ability to expand the conference to a full FIVE days! If you have ever wondered why iFLT generally starts on a Tuesday, it is because during the summer, schools cannot give us access over the weekend to prepare for a Monday start. A virtual event gives us more TIME and more TRAINERS. Because presenting an online session does not require two days of travel, many more presenters will be able to participate! iFLT will continue to offer training in cohorts at your level of proficiency in ADI, with coaches to guide your progress. You will have a variety of options to create a personalized conference that fits your schedule and your experience level in ADI (acquisition-driven instruction).
This summer we ourselves had the opportunity to participate in a variety of online conferences and webinars. What an awesome way for us to gain perspective! We learned a great deal about how we can put on a virtual event that engages and inspires AND still maintains the high standard of excellence that iFLT has been known for. We are planning and preparing for an epic conference with an even greater global reach.
At the same time, we at Fluency Matters are here to support you and to help you not just endure the 2020-2021 school year, but to ENJOY it. Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to share and connect with our incredible iFLT colleagues. We look forward to supporting you throughout the school year and to seeing your next summer at iFLT 2021! In the meantime, mark your calendars!