Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday (Nina)

Today was chilly and damp. I heard thunder last night and guess it must have rained overnight. I had my little umbrella, but never needed to open it as the rain held off while I was shlepping around outside.

This Convention's schedule was done in a kind of peculiar way; There could be 30-40 concurrent sessions at certain hours, but they scheduled nothing alongside of at least some of the plenaries and almost nothing at lunch time, guaranteeing that the nearby restaurants and the Reading Terminal Market would be inundated with all the Convention-goers at the same time. And this morning, other than the 8:30 plenary, the only game in town was the EV Fair, so I went to that.

The EV Fair in full swing:

I was signed up to volunteer 10-12, but I switched it to 9-11 (thanks, Sandy, for being so flexible!) so I could attend Vance's presentation at 11. And I managed to sit in on a very interesting EV Fair presentation too: Rick Rosenberg, Jacquie Gardy and others talked about "Trace Effects (Access English Online): Communication through 3D Online Gaming." The State Dept. in cooperation with others is creating a really great-looking online game for teens learning English, but it will be available free on the web when it is done!

At 11 I went to Vance's presentation, Learning2gether to Teach One Another About Learning Online. I haven't been going to the webheads' chats at Tapped In or the newer Learning2gether sessions on Sunday, and I wanted to reinspire myself to go. (I hope it was successful!)

There were quite a few of us webheads there: Laine, Buth, Sophie, and me... and a big surprise as well, David Weksler (aka Wex) from TappedIn! Wex is a helpdesk volunteer at TI and I used to chat with him almost every Sunday. He lives in Tenafly NJ, which happens to be very near where I grew up in Hackensack, and he drove down to Phila. to see us. It was great to meet him! Here's a picture commemorating this f2f encounter:

After Vance's presentation, I met Shirley, Karen, and Robin. I've known Shirley since we worked together at the American Language Academy in 1976! Karen and I worked together at MEI, served together on the WATESOL Board for a couple of years, and volunteered together on the Convention Team at TESOL 2003 in Baltimore. Robin teaches linguistics at AU and has worked with both of them. We had a lovely lunch at a Malaysian restaurant a couple of blocks from the Convention Center, recommended my Shirley's niece. It was suspiciously empty when we got there, but the food was great. I had spinach in tofu sauce with ginger; it was fabulous.

Shirley, Karen, and me at the Banana Leaf:

After lunch, Shirley, Robin and Karen went to get massages across the street and I headed back to the CC to catch the end of a presentation by Jennifer Lebedev (aka JenniferESL on YouTube). On my way over there, I found Wex waiting by his car in front of the CC. I said hi, we began to chat, and he offered to drive me to the 30th St. Station to catch the bus to DC! I had been planning on taking the subway, but this was much nicer: door-to-door service, so to speak. We arranged to meet in front of the Holiday Inn at 2:40, and I went on to "Maximizing Dictionary Use for Vocabulary Acquisition," which was an Exhibitor Session by Pearson authors Jennifer Lebedev and Pamela Vittorio. I arrived in time for only half of Jennifer's part but was still given two vocabulary texts to examine and a Longman Dictionary of American English! Together these books must have weighed 20 pounds and I was not sure they would fit in my suitcase, but I didn't want to turn them down, so I took them. I guess if you attend a lot of publishers' sessions, you could end up with a whole library of free stuff!

I stopped by the EV to say goodbye to Veronica and also found Christine, Sandy, and a few others. It's always hard to say goodbye when it's time to leave. There is something very special about meeting f2f when you've met first online.

Then I shlepped my bag full of those books back to the Holiday Inn where I somehow managed to stuff everything into my suitcase and get downstair again. Wex was there, as promised. He dropped me right at the bus stop and soon I was on my way home.

It was a great Convention!

The Megabus to Washington, DC:


  1. Lovely blog. Even if you're keeping it just yourself, it's a great effort. It's not in my list of blogs to contribute to though (whereas is) so there is a difference in settings here. Also, when I tried to post from Philly it wouldn't accept it. I'll try to post this and see if it works from home in Abu Dhabi.

  2. Hi Vance,
    You are certainly invited to join the blog (with your gmail address) and if you do I will make you an administrator (as I have everyone, hoping that someone would change the boring template to something more interesting.... a cityscape of Philadelphia, for example (I have no idea how to customize the template, my bad).