Blending Life Skills with Digital Literacy

Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014

Who is it for?

The Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014 is open to all teachers and professionals working in ELT and is completely FREE to attend!


Part of the Life Skills session at the Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014, this webinar will teach you how to help your digital native students to build the real-life, 21st century skills they need to succeed.

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Webinar details

Blending Life Skills with Digital Literacy

Monday 10th November 2014: 12.00-12.45 (GMT)

As the Knowledge Age develops, we are all aware that it is becoming increasingly important that students develop digital literacy skills. Are we clear, though, on what those skills are? And do we know how best to support our students in this area?

Drawing on the Open Mind and Mind series, in this webinar we’ll consider different types of digital literacy skill and look at the implications for what happens both inside and outside our classrooms.

About the speaker: Steve Taylore-Knowles

Steve has spent 20 years in ELT as a writer, a trainer, an examiner and a teacher. He has written a number of successful courses for adults and young adults, including Open Mind and the Mind series (both from Macmillan) which include life skills as an integral part of the course. He’s also written popular secondary courses such as Laser. He regularly speaks at events throughout the world on various aspects of English language teaching and learning. Steve is now based in his native county of Lancashire in the north of England, where he lives with wife Jo and young daughter Scout.

Here, Steve tells us more about his work and what you will learn from him at MEOC2014.

What will people learn from your webinar?

They will learn a useful way of viewing digital literacy and some practical ideas for developing their students’ skills. I hope those who are at an early stage of their adoption of digital ways of working and who are unsure of their own ability to meet the challenges of developing digital literacy skills will be reassured that it doesn’t demand that teachers become IT experts. And I hope those who are further along in that journey will also get an interesting slant on the whole area.

Tell us about your latest/recent projects with Macmillan Education?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved as a writer on two best-selling series: the Mind series for adults and young adults and Laser for secondary-age students. The third edition of Laser, with two brand-new levels and three completely updated levels, came out a couple of years ago and the ongoing popularity of that series is very gratifying.

Since then, I’ve been working on the new editions of the Mind series: a second edition of the American English version and the launch of the first British English edition, Open Mind. It’s been very exciting to see how the concepts behind that course have really clicked with people in so many parts of the world. I’ve been travelling extensively this year to speak to people about the course, from Moscow to Madrid and from Bournemouth to Brazil, amongst many other places, and I love learning about the ways people are putting the series to use in different teaching contexts.

What inspired and continues to inspire you to work in ELT?

For me, it’s always been about the students. It’s an enormous privilege to be able to influence a person’s experience of learning English and as a teacher and as a writer I’ve always had the same aim: to open students’ eyes and minds to the transformative potential that speaking English offers. I constantly strive to make the learning process as engaging, as personal and as clear as I can.

In practical terms, I’m inspired on a day-to-day basis by a framed letter that has hung in my office for the last 13 years or so. It came from a 12-year-old student in a class where they were using one of my courses. In it, she tells me how much she enjoys the storyline in the book, which characters she loves, and she thanks me for the book. I’m very proud of that simple note and I often glance at it as I’m working to remind myself who it’s all about: the student.

If you could have written one book what would it be?

To Kill a Mockingbird. My daughter is named after the narrator, Scout, so you can tell how much my wife and I rate this classic coming-of-age story. The real reason I wish I’d written it, though, is that Harper Lee wrote this one book, made a fortune when it became an instant best-seller and never worked again. Surely something to aspire to!

Steve's top teaching tip

Forget about teaching. That’s not really your job, and it’s doubtful whether anything like a language can really be ‘taught’ as such. Focus on learning. It’s a mysterious, alchemical process and your job is to create the circumstances where it can happen. Make that the centre of what happens in your classroom and let everything flow from that idea.