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At The Consultants-E we help educators worldwide become more comfortable with technology in their teaching. This blog highlights technology trends, and offers tips and guidance on how to use technology in the classroom and online, based on several years of experience of helping teachers worldwide integrate technology effectively. We hope you enjoy it!

July Blended Cert ICT in Barcelona and free development session

June 8, 2011

Summer is coming, and you are no doubt busy winding up the school year. July is the perfect time to take part in some further professional development - especially if you are someone who is well aware of the growing importance of using technology well with learners, but could do with some support and training to do this as effectively as possible. Teachers who know how to use ICT (Information and Communications Technology) effectively will not only motivate and inspire their students, but help student retention and raise the profile and credibility of any school.

From 4-15 July, International House Barcelona and The Consultants-E are running an intensive version of their popular Blended Cert ICT: Certificate in Teaching Languages with Technology. The course is fully validated by Trinity College London and the Generalitat Departament d'Educació.

The Cert ICT: Certificate in Teaching Languages with Technology is a new online international qualification, designed and developed by The Consultants-E, and fully validated by Trinity College London. It is usually offered fully online in Moodle. The course examines a range of useful technology-related skills and tools which are immediately applicable in the language classroom. Course participants develop basic computer literacy skills, learn about various approaches to using technology in the classroom, explore (free) online tools, and have the opportunity to put these into practice over the duration of the course itself.

The Blended Cert ICT covers exactly the same content as our fully online Cert ICT, but it is run in blended mode, which means that part of the course is offered face-to-face (f2f), and part of the course offered online. Of the total 120 course hours, 50 hours are offered f2f intensively over two weeks, and 70 hours are then offered online. Please see below the dates for the blended Cert ICT in Barcelona:

Barcelona, Spain (Intensive or Part-time)
f2f component: 04 – 15 July 2011 [ 50 hours, 5 hours per day, two weeks ]
online component: 03 October – 18 December 2011 [ 70 hours over ten weeks, online ]
f2f component: 07 October – 16 December 2011 [ 50 hours, 5 hours every Friday over ten weeks ]
online component: 12 January – 19 March 2012 [ 70 hours over ten weeks, online ]

location: International House Barcelona c/ Trafalgar, Barcelona

The July course tutor is Nicky Hockly, an award-winning author and trainer in the application of technology to the language classroom. We are pleased to announce a free teacher development session with Nicky on Friday 10 June, 10.30am - 11.30am, at International House Barcelona. The session will:

• present the Blended Cert ICT course
• share what past participants have learnt
• provide you with several practical ICT ideas

Breakfast will be provided after the session.

Please confirm attendance (for yourself and/or any of your teachers) by signing up here.

Even if you don't plan to attend the session, you can sign up for our regular free Teaching with Technology Newsletter on this link.

We expect the Blended Cert ICT Barcelona to fill up soon. If you’re interested, you can find out more about it here.

Would you like to learn how to use Blogs and Wikis effectively with your students? Our 2 week Blog Online Course begins on June 15th, 2011. Our 2 week Wiki Online Course begins on July 1st, 2011.  See if these courses are the right fit for you! 

Poll: What is the most important thing needed for an online community to grow?

May 27, 2011

Try our poll and see! Click on the image below to go to the poll. Here's the link, http://twtpoll.com/9lrfnb


You can then tweet this poll to your network and see what they think!

Would you like to learn how to run your own online community/conference successfully? Our 2 week e-Network course begins on June 1st, 2011. Would you like to become an effective online teacher? Our 4 week E-Moderation course also begins on June 1st, 2011.  See if these courses are the right fit for you! We offer a 15% discount to Celta Tutors! Get qualified to be a Cambridge CELTA Course Online tutor!


Tips for the online conference speaker

by Nicky Hockly

May 20, 2011

Samen met @ARispens een @misterharder webinar geven aan @meesters

Do you need to give a conference presentation online? Don’t panic — you’ll find some tips about how to give an engaging presentation online in my blog post. Make sure you read the comments too, there is some good advice in there!

But what about if you need to moderate a webinar or conference presentation? In other words, you don’t need to give a talk, you need to manage the session and handle the audience.  Here are some of the things that an online event moderator typically has to do:

  • welcome the audience
  • set the agenda for the event
  • outline any protocols (e.g. don’t draw on the PowerPoint slides unless invited to do so!)
  • introduce the speaker
  • give permissions to speakers and participants to use certain tools such as the shared whiteboard, or the microphone
  • keep track of any questions that may appear in the chat window during the talk
  • moderate a question-and-answer session when the speaker has finished his or her presentation
  • sum up, thank the speaker and audience, and close the session.

The online event moderator will typically do these things more or less in the order above. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? On the whole it is, although there are a few things for the moderator to keep in mind. Here are a few tips!

Tips for online event moderators:

Tip 1: Tech check!

Well before the online event, check that the speaker knows how to use the videoconferencing software effectively. Check whether she needs to use tools such as the shared whiteboard, or will be using shared web browsing during her talk. Run at least one test session in a few days before the event to check that her microphone and web cam settings are working. Do this even if the speaker swears she knows the video conferencing software like the back of her hand! Double check that the speaker will be using the same computer on the day of the event itself. Many an online event has lost half of the audience because the speaker’s microphone and camera settings were not checked in advance, and far too long is spent at the beginning of the talk faffing around trying to get things to work! Unnecessary technical faffing is one of the quickest ways to lose your audience. Quite apart from the fact that it makes the entire event looks very unprofessional.

Tip 2: Name dropping

Check how the speaker would like to be introduced. What would the speaker like you to say about him or her? Should your intro include only professional information, or perhaps you could mention a hobby or two? Will you put a photo or two of the speakers on the whiteboard  during your intro? And are you sure you know how to pronounce the speaker’s name correctly? Iclearly remember being introduced once as Niggly Hogly instead of Nicky Hockly…

Tip 3: Who’s who & what’s what

At exactly what point during the webinar or conference session will you (the moderator) be speaking? What is your role? Let the audience know at the beginning of the online event how it is going to be structured, and what you are there for.

What sort of protocols do you want your audience to follow? Will they be given permissions to draw on the whiteboard, for example? Can they use the chat window? Be aware that if you have a chat window open during the session (highly recommended), the session participants will use it to — well, chat. And if the speaker does not keep them engaged, they will start chatting among themselves about the weather, their interests and general stuff… and just tune the speaker out. Not necessarily a bad thing, and a good online speaker will know how to use the text chat window to ensure audience participation (see my previous blog post for some tips on this!).

Tip 4: Permissions

If the speaker is going to invite participants to draw on the shared whiteboard, or to comment using the microphone, you the moderator will need to think carefully about when and how you are going to handle permissions. Microphone permissions are usually very straightforward to grant – a participant will signal that he or she wants the microphone, and as moderator you simply give permission to that individual.

Giving permissions to use drawing tools on the shared whiteboard is also straightforward, but think carefully about when you are going to give permissions. Will you give everybody drawing permissions from the beginning of the session? In that case you risk participants doodling on the PowerPoint slides during the talk (would’t be a first)! Will you give everyone drawing permissions only when the speaker invites them to draw on the whiteboard? In that case you will need to be quick in giving each individual the necessary permissions — with a large audience this might be quite time consuming, and those that you give permissions to first will have finished the task before you have given everybody permissions. … So check in advance with the speaker how long their whiteboard task(s) are going to take. This may help you decide exactly when to give drawing permissions.

Tip 5: Q&A

If there is going to be a question and answer (Q&A) session at the end of the speaker’s talk, how are you going to run that? How will the audience submit questions? Via the text chat window, or will you give the microphone to individuals to ask questions? Or will you use a combination of text chat window and mic? Be aware that while participants are adding questions to a chat window, it is extremely difficult to scroll back up to read what people have contributed earlier! The text in a chat window is constantly refreshed, which moves previous text up the screen, making it almost impossible to scroll up and hold a section of text still to read it.

During the Q&A, it’s a good idea for the moderator to simply watch the chat window, and quickly scribble down questions (and the name of the person who asked the question) on a piece of paper. These questions can then be relayed orally by the moderator to the speaker in the order in which they were asked. In fact, during the talk itself, the moderator should keep a close eye on the chat window, and note down topics or issues which participants bring up while the speaker is talking. It’s very difficult for a speaker to be fully aware of questions coming in via a text chat window while he or she is speaking. Nobody is that good a multi-tasker. It’s the moderator’s job to keep an eye on the text chat window.

Tip 6: Goodbyes

How are you going to summarise or round up the session? Will you do a short roundup activity, for example in the text chat window? Or will you simply thank the speaker and audience? If the speaker is going to include a roundup activity (see my previous blog post for some activities suggestions) — and you’ll need to check – then you could simply say a few lines summarising the talk and what you find interesting/useful. Remember to tell participants where they can access the PowerPoint slides and the session recording after the event.

Would you like to learn how to run your own online community/conference successfully? Our 2 week e-Network course begins on June 1st, 2011. Would you like to become an effective online teacher? Our 4 week E-Moderation course also begins on June 1st, 2011.  See if these courses are the right fit for you! We offer a 15% discount to Celta Tutors! Get qualified to be a Cambridge CELTA Course Online tutor!



Nicky Hockly

Nicky Hockly, is the Director of Pedagogy for The Consultants-E.  She is also the author of Teaching Online with Lindsay Clandfield, Learning English as a Foreign Language for Dummies with Gavin Dudeney, and How to Teach English with Technology with Gavin Dudeney. She's an international speaker and has been moderating online since 1997.  You can read more e-learning tips from Nicky on her blog, e-Moderation Station.

What makes a good online tutor?

Try our poll and see! Click on the image below to go to the poll.


You can then tweet this poll to your network and see what they think!

Would you like to become an effective online teacher? Our E-Moderation course begins on June 1st, 2011.  See if this course is the right fit for you! We offer a 15% discount to Celta Tutors! Get qualified to be a Cambridge CELTA Course Online tutor!


M-learning & Moodle Courses & Resources

by Shelly Terrell

May 1, 2011

We've still got a few places on our upcoming online teacher training courses that begin May 6th. Learn from the comfort of your PJs or even on the go! What about adding a few more professional skills and qualifications to your teaching portfolio?

mLearning in Practice

Dates: 6 May – mid June 2011
Time: 30 hours over 6 weeks
This course is about mobile learning, or ‘mlearning’ - learning with mobile or handheld devices. We have participants enrolled on the mLearning course from Australia, Canada, the UK, Spain, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. You have a great opportunity to collaborate with educators worldwide. The course aims to explore mLearning from both the learner’s and the educator’s perspective. It looks at the range of mobile or handheld devices currently available for learning, some of the games and apps (small programs or 'applications'), best practice and principles in mLearning, as well as implementing mLearning through project work with learners. Note that it is not necessary to own a mobile/cell phone of any description to take the course, although if you own a smartphone, you could take the entire course on it! Gavin and Nicky will be tutoring this course. See more...


You will get the opportunity to create great lesson plans like these from our previous participants!

What our participants think...


Here's more of what our participants have to say about their experiences with the course!

Moodle Starter

Dates: 6 May – 2 July 2011
Time: 8 weeks
We have participants enrolled in the course from Italy, the UK, Spain, Bolivia, Canada, and Turkey!This course is aimed at teachers, trainers, tutors, facilitators, lecturers and mentors from any discipline and any level of education, who are interested in learning how to set up and use Moodle to offer online courses. No previous experience of Moodle or of any other online learning environment is required for this course.

What our participants think...

  • Azra Ahmed, Pakistan

    The structure was fine and course content was useful […] I enjoyed the interaction with the colleagues […] [The tutor] is amazing - I particularly appreciated his willingness to make screencasts whenever we got stuck ...
  • Albert Adroer, Spain

    The most important thing to me is that the tutors response time was fast, which is really useful in online contexts. Besides, they kind of managed to create a nice atmosphere and encouraged participants through personal praise. I think I’ve learned lot when it comes to using Moodle, but there’s still a lot more to learn. I now feel definitely much better prepared to run my own courses successfully

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