JALT Board of Directors: Message to JALT Members
Thank you to everyone who made JALT2017 such a wonderful success! To the dozens of volunteers and sponsors, the hundreds of presenters, and around 1,500 attendees—each and every one of you played a vital role in the event. Volunteers were on site early Friday morning setting up and by lunchtime the Technology in Teaching team had arrived to kick off a well-attended afternoon of tech-based sessions. This was followed by a packed Welcome Reception, which was an evening of good food, drinks, and conversations. The next morning the Opening Ceremony began with a bang (literally!) with a traditional Japanese drum and shamisen performance that had people on their feet for a standing ovation, energizing them for the engaging days ahead.
One of the greatest achievements of the conference was being able to bring together so many stimulating sessions with speakers from Japan and abroad, from well-seasoned plenary speakers such as Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto and Gabriel Diaz Maggioli, to those who were getting up to share their work for the first time. And there were many other highlights, such as celebrating the achievements of Chapter and SIG members at Best of JALT (with more networking and even some dancing at that event), learning new skills and taking a break from the hustle and bustle in the Mind and Body Space, seeing the wide range of new products available at the Educational Materials Exhibition, and catching up with old friends and new in meetings, lunch breaks, and after hours. This year we also introduced an initiative to encourage parents to attend. Children and a guardian were welcomed free of charge, and this resulted in several families participating with their children and making use of the Family Room that was provided.
Although JALT2017 has only just finished, plans for JALT2018 are well underway. We hope you will join us on November 23-26 in Shizuoka. There are two important dates for the Call for Proposals:
Deadline for Regular Vetted and Unvetted Submissions: Monday, February 12, 2018
- SIG Forums (one per SIG is accepted unvetted)
- Featured Speaker Workshops (sponsored by SIGs/Chapters/AMs – vetted)
- Technology in Teaching Workshops (vetted)
- All other regular vetted submissions (i.e., most of the individual submissions to JALT2018)
Deadline for Special Unvetted Submissions: Monday, May 21, 2018
- JALT meetings (e.g.,. SIG Annual General Meetings)
- Chapter First-Time Presenter (See Officer Resources/Contact Chapter President for guidelines)
- Associate Member (sponsored) submissions
- Submissions through JALT International and Domestic Partnership Agreements
More details, including submission links, are available at https://jalt.org/conference/jalt2018
The theme for JALT2018 is Diversity and Inclusion— “To everything there is a season.” And a reason. Now is the season for inclusion, to embrace the incredible diversity within our profession. Although there seems to be much diversion, division, and exclusion in the wider world, the time is now ripe for us to look at the diversity within our practices and ask, “How can we be more inclusive?” In order to support inclusion and create a more level playing field for our students, we need to better understand the evolving language learning and teaching landscape, become aware of the work that is being done in new areas, and heed the call from our learners, teachers, and institutions to play our parts in a brighter future.
JALT2018 will provide a platform for new ideas and hitherto unheard voices to be heard. It will provide avenues to open up our classrooms and challenge existing ideas about what we language teachers and our learners need in order to usher in an era of change. We aim to address the concerns of teachers, learners, and leaders and show how “inclusion” provides a place from which multiplicity of thought and action can flourish. We hope you will join us there!
The new Board of Directors (BoD) that began working together after JALT2016 has had both a fulfilling and challenging first year. Highlights include introducing the new Code of Conduct, creating opportunities to meet local members in Fukuoka and Nagoya on BoD meeting weekends, and providing Development Grants that helped to facilitate several SIG events. One of our challenges was the resignations of the Director of Public Relations and the Auditor. Fortunately, our constitution allowed for an election to take place at JALT2017 and four volunteers were willing to step up into these positions. We are pleased to welcome the elected members, Aleda Krause (Auditor) and Parisa Mehran (Director of Public Relations) to our Board. An additional challenge was dealing with issues related to JALT partnerships. There were calls by some members for greater transparency, but this could not always be done in the timeframe desired and a lack of announcements became interpreted as secrecy. While the Board sometimes must be discreet when dealing with sensitive issues, we would like to reassure the membership that there is no secrecy surrounding decisions made or policies recommended. The Board works in conjunction with the EBM, and the JALT Constitution is designed with checks and balances that ensure a high level of accountability. We ask for your understanding of this and should you have any questions at any time, we would be happy to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nevertheless, increased effective, accurate, and transparent communication between all JALT members, the Board of Directors and the Executive Board is one of the foremost goals of the current BoD and will only increase the effectiveness of our work. At our most recent Board of Directors meeting, Bob Sanderson (Chapter Representative Liaison) and Mark Brierley (SIG Representative Liaison) along with incoming IAC (International Affairs Committee) Chair, Maho Sano, joined us for significant portions of that meeting. As usual, other officers including DAC (Domestic Affairs Committee) Chair Matt Shannon and Business Manager Wayne Malcolm, joined our meeting via Skype. The Board is looking for more ways to involve others, face-to-face and through technology, including holding our meetings in different locations so that we can meet with local officers and members. The Board is also working with the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) to more effectively communicate making use of available technology.
The Board is already beginning to plan events in 2018 and beyond. As mentioned earlier, the JALT2018 International Conference will be held in Shizuoka and will be held in conjunction with the annual Pan Asian Consortium (PAC) Conference, as JALT will be the host association, and the Asian Youth Forum (AYF). The Board is also engaged in discussions with TESOL International Association related to hosting a TESOL/JALT Asia Regional Conference in 2019. Such a conference would complement our existing conferences throughout the country, bringing in additional internationally renowned plenary speakers as well as providing opportunities for our members to present and participate in an Asia-wide conference hosted here in Japan.
Working closely with the DAC and IAC Chairs, the members of those committees, and the External Relations Committee, the Board is carefully looking at both our domestic and international partnerships and focusing on how to increase the value and effectiveness of these partnerships for our members. It is expected that these activities will result in recommendations and potential motions that will be presented to the EBM in February 2018.
At our Board meeting in January 2018, along with the CRL and SRL and others who will be attending, we plan to focus again on developing a strategic plan for the next 3 to 5 years that will guide our decision-making process in the same way as our last strategic plan has in recent years. We welcome input and recommendations from all officers and members as to the long-term goals of our association. Please feel free to communicate at any time with the BoD via email@example.com
In consultation with the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC), the Board is also considering revising the scheduling of national elections. These changes would provide additional transitional time for any new directors who are elected, but also allow us to focus on meeting our constitutional requirements by holding only one regular Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) each year. This would reduce the need to have online balloting of the majority of our members twice a year.
Lastly, through the new JALT website, a large number of our members have established their personal profiles, which allowed them to receive their membership discounts for the JALT2017 International Conference. While there remain some challenges changing over to the new database system, increased flexibility and adaptability is already being realized, and significant decreases in budgetary expenses will be evident in FY2018. We are just beginning to benefit from the projected advantages of this new system and will explore these more and more as we move into 2018.
From a budgetary perspective, JALT is in good financial condition. After a slight surplus in FY2016, we are continuing to maintain our membership and conference attendee numbers in line with anticipated numbers, and revenues are expected within budget plans. Our expenses have been under control as the new database development has been completed and costs are now minimal. Also, we have saved about 20% of our EBM transportation costs by implementing a 45-day advance purchase requirement for air fares. The FY2017 will end in March and the Director of Treasury is hopeful that we will achieve another slight surplus this year.
The Board of Directors is looking ahead to an active, positive, and productive second year of our terms, looking for ways to communicate and collaborate effectively with the Executive Board, our partner organizations, and all JALT members. We hope you all continue to enjoy our international conferences and local activities, and we look forward to working with you in the coming months.
New JALT Associate Members
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Veative Company Overview
Veative offers VR learning modules for the classroom in science and mathematics and is available in 5 languages. We have joined JALT as we move towards VR in language education.
Our pioneering team is inspired by fusing technology and education to create a powerful love of learning in students that will last a lifetime.
Veative brings learning to life with our high-quality VR teaching and content tools. Developed hand-in-hand with global educational specialists, we fuse technology, content and education to complement traditional learning and deliver a far more visual and interactive learning experience. Our immersive products and content capture the imagination and help students understand, learn and remember better by bringing subjects and concepts to life.
Created for high schools, “Veative VR Learn” aligns our rich content to any curriculum so that it slots easily into the classroom. We have hundreds of modules in physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics – and we’re constantly developing more and in other subjects.
VoiceTube is the largest online English-learning platform in Taiwan, with thousands of videos and over 2 million users. By providing English and Japanese subtitles in addition to a variety of learning tools, VoiceTube allows its users to learn in an effective and engaging way. VoiceTube has expanded its product line to now also include HERO and VoiceTube Campus in order to meet an ever-expanding spectrum of English-learning needs.
While its main customer base is located in Taiwan, VoiceTube has users around the world, and has been actively expanding overseas with a particular focus on the Japanese market. It has also been actively collaborating with professors in universities in Japan, continuously adapting its product to meet the Japanese market. With a unique and innovative product offering, VoiceTube hopes to lead the global English education industry and empower its users to communicate without barriers.