Newsletter February 2011

Book Review
Teaching and Research Computer Assisted Language Learning

(Ken Beatty, 2010)

This revised, second edition is perfect for anyone wanting to conduct research into Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) or simply has an interest in it.
After a very detailed and easy to use Table of Content you find the Introduction which offers a brief look at the world of CALL. This nicely eases the reader in to the book.
There are 4 sections: Key Concepts, The Place of CALL in Research and Teaching, Researching CALL, and the fourth section which is divided in to a list of resources and tools for researching CALL and a Glossary of Key Terms - which I found this to be a very valuable part of the book. Each of the sections are then further divided but are easy to follow and cover everything you need to know about CALL.
The book is clear, enjoyable and keeps away from all the high-tech jargon can be found in many books of this subject area.
Well worth a read!

Learning Week - Democracy and Press Freedom

January saw Conlan School delving into the world of journalism with a visit from the Istituto Maironi, Bergamo, in the Lombardy Region (Italy). Throughout their week here in Wales the students followed an interesting project entitled Democracy and Press Freedomwhich covered a variety of topics -History and Development of Journalism, Ethics of Journalism, Media and Power and From Internet to Web 2.0: citizen journalism.
During the week students actively participated in seminar sessions and workshops giving them the opportunity to develop an awareness and a critical approach towards the issue of press freedom as a precondition and foundation of a democratic political system,starting from the political landscape and the Anglo-Saxon world of journalism, traditionally advanced in terms of the autonomy of information, developtheir capacity to produce journalistic pieces, both written and media-specific web publication and provide themwith theoretical skills, tools and basic techniques appropriate to publish journalistic content through technology 2.0, taking into account first of all the prospect of an increasing globalization of information, requiring specific language skills, and secondly the importance of direct participation by citizens through appropriate instruments of sharing and comparison such as blogs, instant messagingand social networking.
The workshops and seminars were led by Professor Simon Roberts - Head of Journalism at the University of Chester, Dan Owen – Executive Editor, Online and North Wales Weekly News Trinity Mirror North Wales and Steve Rogers – Editorial Director at NWN Media.
The week also involved a guided tour around The NWN Media headquarters based in Mold and a visit to a local printing press where the students got to see a regional paper being printed first hand.
Conlan School would like to thank all partners involved in making this such a successful project.

Are you interested in this kind of projects? Please, find more details here and contact us at

Engineering and Electronics

January also saw a visit of over 70 students from ISIS Leonardo Da Vinci who came to stay with us in Wales following a programme focusing on Engineering and Electronics. During the visit the students visited a local Centre of Excellence for Engineering at Deeside College. The students were treated to a guided tour of the department by Director of Engineering, Nick Tyson. The College works in partnership with British Aerospace firm Airbus which allowed the students to get up close and personal with some of the college’s jets, jet engines and wings. Tour also took the students through the state of the art mechanic and CAD technology workshops.
The second visit of the week took the students through the magnificent Snowdonia National Park to Electric Mountain. The students descended deep inside ancient ElidirMountain’s labyrinth of dark and imposing tunnels, where they experienced one of man's greatest engineering achievements - the Dinorwig Power Station.

The saying of the month: “It’s not rocket science”

This month we have found out what the sentence “it’s not rocket science” refers to.
Literally it means “It (the subject under discussion) isn't difficult to understand.”

It is probably no surprise to hear that this phrase is American in origin. Of the English-speaking countries, America was the first to adopt a sustained programme for the development of rocket science. The first people who were widely known as rocket scientists were a group of German military technologists, who were transported to the USA in 1945 following their capture by allied troops in WWII. Other similar groups were transported to the UK and the USSR.
Led by Werner Von Braun, the US group had previous expertise in the field, having developed the V-2 rocket that had been used to attack London and other targets earlier in the war. Their success during the 1940s and 50s in developing the sophisticated technology required for military and space rockets, was the reason for rocket science being equated in the US public's mind with outstanding expertise. The perceived equation of 'rocket scientist = German = clever' can only have been enhanced by the persona of another German scientist of acknowledged genius, who was also working in the USA at the time - Albert Einstein.