I’m sure you’ve heard of them already, (I believe they are) the newest addition to the list of SIGS associated with IATEFL, but if not, this is their Facebook page and you can find them on Twitter too, using the @MaWSIG handle. While they are still a very young SIG group, with a birth/launch date of last year’s IATEFL making them just under a year old, they have been very active in that time: a webinar, a conference and a newsletter (in the pipelines, due out in March) have all emerged in their first year of existence, and Nick Robinson has spoken about the group at other events such as the BESIG online conference in June last year. A summary of his talk can be found here. In that talk, Nick says this of the Facebook page:
MaW SIG also has an active Facebook page, through which you can access people who have been doing materials writing for a long time. There is a lot of knowledge out there, which can be shared and this page aims to provide a platform for this.
Of course it’s very easy to say such things, but in the case of MaW SIG and the Facebook page, I’ve just had a very positive first-hand experience of how this works. That is what has inspired me to write this post: I want to write about MaW SIG and my experience, so that other (possibly would-be) materials writers see another aspect of what it has to offer:
I wrote some materials last year while studying at Leeds Met. Since then, I have spent a lot of time trying to improve them based on what I subsequently learned in the course of my dissertation, which was materials-based, and uploading them onto my blog. I shared this link to my materials on the MaW SIG Facebook page and soon after, Rachael Roberts (whose blog you’ve no doubt visited on many an occasion) , who is very involved with the SIG, contacted me, saying she had made notes on the pdf’s of my materials and asking how she could send them to me. So it was that I got some really useful feedback on what I’d produced. I hope to meet her and other MaW SIG people at IATEFL this year.
For new materials writers like me, this kind of support/guidance is invaluable, and very hard to come across. Of course the SIG is run entirely by volunteers (thank you, all!), so these are people who have jobs and other commitments as well as the SIG, but somehow make time to make it the success that it has been so far, and, I am sure, will continue to be.
Unfortunately I’m not able to make either the IATEFL pre-conference event on the Tuesday or be part of the SIG day on the Wednesday, due to work commitments, but if you are able to attend and do have an interest in materials development, I would strongly urge you to take the opportunity. Bringing materials writers together and enabling knowledge and know-how to be shared is something which will no doubt bring something very positive to the world of ELT materials writing and publishing, and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds and getting involved!
Thank you, MaW SIG, and here’s to another successful year! (During which I certainly hope I will be able to attend many of the webinars and workshops that you organise…) 🙂