Happy New Year!
At this writing it has been exactly one month since JALT2013 kicked off in Kobe. Many thanks again to the organizers, presenters, and attendees who made JALT2013, “Learning is a Lifelong Voyage”, as enjoyable and educational as it was! JALT2014, our 40th annual international conference, will be held in Tsukuba, and we are very excited about bringing our conference back to the Tokyo area again.
As you can see from the conference information on <jalt.org>, the deadline for the Call for Presentations for JALT2014 is 11 February 2014. Please polish up that proposal and send it in soon!
Another conference that I’d like to bring to your attention is PanSIG2014, which will be held 10-11 May 2014, in Miyazaki. The conference co-chairs, Hugh Nicoll and Joe Tomei, have come up with a very intriguing plan for the conference. Please go to <pansig.org> to find out more about the interactive presentations that will form the core of PanSIG2014. You’ll also notice that the Call for Proposals deadline for PanSIG is 15 January 2014.
As Buzz mentions in her report for this issue’s JALT Focus, the Senior type of membership was approved at the Ordinary General Meeting held at JALT2013. The vote turned out to be 1,040 “For” and 32 “Against”, with 203 members abstaining. At the Executive Board Meeting in February, we will discuss what the fee for this membership type should be. Presuming that we can agree on a fee, you will be asked to approve it at the First JALT Ordinary General Meeting of 2014, which will be held on 29 June 2014.
As always, if you have any ideas or suggestions for JALT or the Board of Directors, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you again for your membership, and very best wishes for 2014!
Kevin Cleary, President, NPO JALT
From the Director of Membership
Hi everyone, I’m glad to have this chance to let you know a bit about JALT’s membership. As Director of Membership, I do my best to help JALT provide better service to its members and to work with chapter and SIG membership chairs. I also spend a fair bit of time tracking our membership numbers, and am glad to say that over the past four years and more, we’ve had a steady, if slow, increase in membership. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of the details with you.
At this time, we have 2,965 JALT members. Of these, 46 are Associate Members, or AMs. When you walk through the Educational Materials Exhibition (EME) area at an annual JALT conference such as JALT2013, you can see these AMs displaying their wares. We also have 21 Complimentary Members. These people belong to associations with which we have an affiliation, and we give each organization’s leader a membership in regard to this relationship. There are also 99 Subscribers (libraries and other institutions to whom we send our publications) within our ranks. The remaining 2,799 of us are Individual Members, and are further broken down into categories including Regular, Student, Joint (two people sharing an address), and Group (five or more people sharing an address). I hope that later this year we’ll be able to offer a Senior type membership to those who are at least 65 years of age. Thank you again for supporting this new membership type by approving it at the Ordinary General Meeting that was held at JALT2013!
JALT was founded in 1975, and we now have 34 chapters, from Hokkaido down to Okinawa. As you may guess, our largest chapter is Tokyo. Although our chapters come in various sizes, I am happy to report that they are very active and nearly all of them hold around 11 events each year.
As a volunteer organization, we depend on our chapters to give teachers a place to meet and collaborate. We greatly appreciate the hard work of our chapter officers! It is also wonderful how chapters work together to put on events, and how they share advice and resources.
As befits a professional organization, we have Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that each bring together those who are particularly interested in a specific area. JALT has 27 SIGs, and they have a total of 2,588 members.
In 1990 we welcomed our first SIG, the Bilingualism SIG (B-SIG). Our newest SIG is the School Owners SIG, which started last October. The largest SIG is the College and University Educators SIG (CUE SIG), which has 350 members.
PanSIG is an annual conference in which most, if not all, SIGs participate. You are warmly invited to take part in the 13th Annual JALT PanSIG Conference, “Sustainability: Making Learning and Teaching Last,” which will be held in Miyazaki, 10-11 May 2014.
Another responsibility I have is to initiate a membership drive, or campaign. In the past, JALT has offered discounts on membership and free SIG memberships in the hope of increasing our numbers. Some of the campaigns have been successful and some of them have not really taken off. I would love to get to that 3,000 member mark, and hope our next campaign will get us there.
What can we do to encourage someone to become a member of JALT?
Letting them know that joining JALT means they will “become part of a community and find a lot of inspirational ideas” is a good place to start. This year I asked the chapter and SIG membership chairs for their input on why someone would join JALT, and I got some great feedback. You can be sure that I will put it to good use when I think of next year’s campaign.
JALT has a lot to offer language teachers, but they have to know who we are before they will join us. We are thus promoting the JALT brand. If you were able to go to JALT2013, you will have certainly noticed how cool our conference bags were. We hope to have more such branded items for you later this year.
We have also formally adopted a mission statement, which will help us stay focused on our core reason to exist: promoting excellence in language education.
I’d like to tell you that I joined JALT because someone asked me to attend a chapter event. I have to say that my image of JALT was that it was solely for university professors. My students are in primary school or junior high, so I was really pleasantly surprised to find that JALT had a lot of teachers who taught at the same kind of schools I did, faced similar difficulties, or who simply had great ideas that I could apply in the classroom. After that meeting I gladly joined and haven’t looked back since. If you know someone who would benefit from being a JALT member, please don’t be shy about asking them to join!
Finally, I’d like to introduce you to a very important part of the membership team, Chie Kobayashi. Chie is the Membership Secretary at JALT Central Office. If you ever have a question about your membership or JALT, please contact Chie at <email@example.com>, or send me a message at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Thank you again for your membership, and very best wishes for the coming year!
Buzz Green, Director of Membership
New JALT Associate Members
The future of Extensive Reading!!
The primary goal of XLearning Systems is to make extensive reading easier for teachers, and more accessible for students.
Our brand new service, XREADING VL (Virtual Library) does this by providing hundreds of high quality graded readers in an online library that is part of an easy to use LMS (leaner management system). Students can search the library with books from international publishers such as Macmillan, Cengage and others, from anywhere and at anytime using their pc or mobile device. Their search is assisted by book ratings as well as recommendations based on their preferences. While students read, they are supported by an interactive dictionary, character lists, and audio on demand. Meanwhile, teachers can monitor and assess their students’ reading using the LMS. The LMS not only lets teachers know which books their students are reading, but also how many words they’ve read and their reading speed. Additionally, teachers can create goals, and have students, or even classes, compete with each other to increase motivation.
Currently we are looking for beta users to pilot the system. If you are interested please visit our website at <xreading.com> or contact us at <email@example.com>.
Web-based productivity tools and analytics for language instructors
Using Language Cloud, instructors can automate manual tasks, analyze student learning progress and measure the effectiveness of their teaching methods and materials. These are things that haven’t been possible until now because of the limitations of paper and clunky software.
Language Cloud is now used by instructors at over 700 universities and corporations worldwide. What instructors are saying:
“Language Cloud just is the most sensible, most efficient, most obvious way to manage my courses.”– Jim McKinley, Associate Professor, Sophia University
“Language cloud is perfect for mobile learning. It’s changing how our students interact with course materials. They can control when and where to study, and it’s perfect for students to access and complete activities on the go—on their smartphones, tablets, or laptops.” – Gene Thompson, Assistant Professor, Rikkyo University
Language Cloud is a startup based in Tokyo and is backed by early investors in Twitter and LinkedIn. To learn more about Language Cloud or to give it a try, visit <languagecloud.co>.