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The Image Conference - Live from Malta

Published on Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Image Conference is currently being held in Malta, specifically at the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) as an introduction to the 5th ELT Malta Conference 2016. This conference is the only conference in the world which integrates the world of film, images, video and gaming with that of English Language Teaching.


Kieran Donaghy is the founder of The Image Conference and during our interview, which you can see in the link below, we asked him about the purpose of this conference, what the aims behind it are and why he thought that Malta was an ideal destination for this conference.


In fact, The Image Conference is held in a different city every year - this year it's Malta's turn. Speaking about this, Daniel Xerri, Chairperson of the ELT Council, stated, "After being held in Barcelona, Brasilia, Cordoba and Munich, I thought Malta would be the ideal venue for the fifth edition of the Image Conference. Malta has a thriving ELT industry that is based on offering students from around the world with an engaging language learning experience. Teachers of English in Malta have a wealth of professional development opportunities to choose from and these are all geared towards enabling them to provide a top-notch service to their students. I invited Kieran Donaghy to organise the Image Conference in Malta because I wanted to offer teachers and other ELT professionals with a means of exploiting some of the most innovative ideas in the field at present. In the 21st century we recognise the significance of helping language learners to capitalise on visual and digital resources since these have the potential of maximising engagement. Hence, holding the Image Conference in Malta is an excellent means by which teachers can develop their ability to harness such resources."


The conference started with a plenary from Paul Driver which focused on Learning by Design: Exploration and Memory in Digital Games and Virtual Reality. As a concept, a mere few years ago this was more than just farfetched. However, we are now living in an era in which digital gaming is no longer something that is frowned upon by teachers. On the other hand it is something which can be very nicely integrated into their lessons, making them more hands on; consequently giving the students the opportunity to actually relate to the material being used in class, hence making the topic being discussed more tangible.


Following the plenary talk, attendees then moved on to participate in four different workshops. Workshops were given by Kieran Donaghy, who focused on "Moving Words: Using Moving Images to Help Students Learn Vocabulary"; Kevin Spiteri who spoke about "The Gamification Experience"; Magdalena Wasilewska, who gave a workshop on "The Power of Image'nation How to Teach a Visual Generation", and last but not least Jean Theuma, who focused on "Cartoons and Comics: Communication with Visuals".


The next group of workshops took place after a coffee break. Marjorie Rosenberg spoke about "Practical Ideas for Using Images in the Classroom". At the same there there was Sylvia Karastathi in another room giving a workshop on "Visual Literacy and Ekphrastic Writing in the Language Classroom"; Bozica Saric-Cvjetkovic spoke about "More than a Video"; and Magdalena Brzezinska focused on "Peace Art: Words and Images Interwoven".


The third group of four workshops consisted of "Ten Creative Engaging Ways to Educate Youth about Human Trafficking" given by Judy Boyle; "Colours in the Classroom" - a workshop given by Candy Fresacher; "English through Art: An EFL Enrichment" given by Jean Sciberras; and a workshop by Lisa Phillips entitled "I see what you Mean: Visual Literacy in the Classroom".


Following lunch, the final part of the Image Conference consisted of a series of talks on various other topics related to film, images, video and gaming. The Image conference came to a close with a plenary by Antonia Clare on "The Power of Video".


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