MOOCs and Professional Development: An afternoon with ALT Training Online founder, Nathaniel Reed.

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Speaker: Nathaniel Reed
: Sept 24th (Sun), 2017.
Time: 13:30~15:30 pm
Venue:  Nagano City Lifelong Learning Center (TOIGO 3F – Room 4)   長野市生涯学習センター (トイーゴ 3階 第4学習室) (Google map)
Sponsors: Japan Association for Language Teaching: Shinshu Chapter 全国語学教育学会  信州支部

CALL for Presenters: At Shinshu JALT’s September meeting, Nathaniel Reed will guide us through a MOOC he is developing – ALTtrainingonline. However, there are time slots available for other educators to share their expertise about team teaching, MOOCs or professional development in general. One role of Shinshu JALT is to provide local teachers with opportunities to share their ideas. Just get in touch.

Our young learners deserve quality teachers. Language education in Japan has been called, amongst other things: rigid, immobilized and outdated. As Courses of Study consistently ramp up goals, there is almost no evidence of them being met. One aspect of language policy that has huge potential for change and meeting MEXT targets that has been unrecognized 3 decades is ALTs.

There are around 14,000 ALTs working in elementary, junior and high schools and by 2020 there will be 20,000. Their job descriptions, roles and duties however have never been specified, and the level of training they receive ranges from none, to 5 day pre-position workshops with periodic on the job workshops. Almost no existing training is done with both team teaching partners – as the work context dictates. We are seeing the complexity of the working relationship develop, teachers’ voices getting louder, MEXT targets increasing, contract issues getting more obscured and the number of agencies hiring ALTs going up – and something needs to give.

Presented here is an initiative to support language teachers and ultimately support the futures of our learners’. Since 2015 the presenter has been steadily putting together an open access teacher training MOOC for ALTs. He will talk about the reasons why the MOOC exists, its goals and how it is being put together. Following this informative talk the floor will be open for questions about the MOOC, so please take a little time to explore the site – your ideas, thoughts and queries are actively encouraged.


Nathaniel Reed has been working in education, in various contexts, for 17 years. He came to Japan in 2009 and has worked as a school manager, curriculum developer and a teacher in eikaiwas, university and currently as an ALT. He completed a distance MA with Birmingham University in 2014 writing his dissertation on the contemporary roles of ALTs. He has presented the ALT training MOOC at the 2015 and 2016 JALT international conferences and will also present in 2017 conference in Tsukuba. His paper on this can be found in the post conference proceedings 2016, and interview in The Language Teacher March 2017 issue 41.2.

Admission: JALT members free. Non-members: 1000 yen. JALT会員は無料、非会
Inquiries: Gregory Birch (
See events calendar for latest details.
場所は、JALTのホームページのイベントカレンダーから検索できます (


Event Report: Get going with Google


On July the 30th, Shinshu JALT was very privileged to host an esteemed educator and certified Google innovator and trainer – Rab Paterson.

The first 2 hour portion of Rab’s workshop focused on setting up a workflow using the vast array of apps and tools available from Google. From setting up and personalising your own Gmail account, the workshop instinctively moved on to creating a platform for learners to share and exchange ideas under constant teacher supervision. Rab had much to speak about in regards to the strengths of using a Google platform compared to others. In particular the security, cross referencing capabilities and the free compatibility regardless of device – all readily available for any user teacher or student. The workshop also covered many of the tools available to teachers and students via an online system such as – various methods to proofread and improve your writing fluency and ways for a teacher to monitor how a student’s writing piece develops.


The second part of Rab’s workshop dealt with his Google accreditations and current work. Rab explained the process involved in the various Google certificates available and how it improves your skills as a digital educator. Those at the workshop were also fortunate to see how Rab’s work platform creates a network for his students to create media and content that is readily shared online via blogs. Some of the work involved videos made by the students – digital videos as well as recorded performances – and well written thought pieces by students expressing their ideas and desires.

Shinshu JALT would like to once again thank Rab in taking the time to share his online teaching experiences with those of us in Nagano, who for the most part conduct a majority if not all of our teaching offline.