Author Archives: katerinazourou

Symposium “The Future of Learning: Critical Perspectives on Higher Education in the Digital Age”.

Professor Michael Thomas,  University of Central Lancashire, organised the symposium “The Future of Learning: Critical Perspectives on Higher Education in the Digital Age” on June 22, in Preston, UK.

The symposium sought to  give insights and encourage critical thinking with respect to the following questions: What is the future of learning in the digital age? How is learning being shaped by neoliberalism? How are digital technologies promoting and hindering learning? This interdisciplinary symposium will be of interest to students, teachers, researchers, support staff and policy-makers working in the field of education in general and technology-enhanced learning in particular.

Plenary Speakers and their topics follow:

Professor Stephen Bax: “The Future of Learning in the Digital Age: How to Achieve Normalisation” (The Open University, UK).

Professor Jozef Colpaert: “The Future of Content, Learning and Data Analytics in an Educational Engineering Perspective” (University of Antwerp, Belgium).

Professor Grainne Conole: “The Landscape of Digital Practices” (Bath Spa University, UK).

Rajay Naik: “Enabling Online Learning” (Keypath Education, UK).

Professor Hayo Reinders: “The Internet of Things: Implications for Education and Research” (Unitec University New Zealand and Annaheim University, USA).

Professor Randall Sadler (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA) and Dr Melinda Dooly (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain): “Critical Perspectives on Teacher Education: A Pedagogical Proposal for the Digital Age”

Katerina Zourou was invited to give a talk about LangOER results with the title  “User Perspectives on Open, Social Network-Based Learning and Teaching”. The slides of the talk are available here . Katerina highlighted the role of OER in broading access to open education and the limitations of this endeavour, based on recent findings from the LangOER project, namely the survey on the affordances of social networks in open educational practice (journal paper accessible here).

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Katerina starting her LangOER talk, June 22.

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Online collection of scholar papers on “Social dynamics in Open Educational Practice”

The selection of papers entitled “Social dynamics in Open Educational Practice” for the journal Alsic is being prepared and will be released in Fall 2016. Katerina Zourou is the guest editor of this collection, which is one of the outcomes of work package 6 package 6 “OER/OEP for language education” .

Jonathon Reinhardt

Commentary: Preparing teachers for open L2TL: Frameworks for critical awareness and transformation

Malgorzata Kurek

Addressing cultural diversity in preparing teachers for openness: culturally sensitive appropriation of open content

Teresa MacKinnon, Sarah Pasfield-Neofitou, Howard Manns et Scott Grant

A Meta-Analysis of Open Educational Communities of Practice and Sustainability in Higher Educational Policy

Shona Whyte

From “solitary thinkers” to “social actors”: OER in multilingual CALL teacher education

Carl Blyth and Amanda Dalola

Translingualism as an Open Educational Language Practice: Raising Critical Language Awareness on Facebook

Katerina Zourou

Social networking affordances for open educational language practice

Steven L. Thorne

Epilogue: Open Education, social practices, and ecologies of hope

A peer-review process has been established in early 2015. From all abstracts submitted (10 abstracts), the editor have invited 7 authors to submit a full paper, of which 6 have been selected at the final round of review. Two among the selected contributions draw on results of the LangOER project, namely papers by Gosia Kurek and Katerina Zourou.

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Open Educational Practices in Small Languages: The Role of Community-Driven Engagement

A talk on “Open Educational Practices in Small Languages: The Role of Community-Driven Engagement” has been given at the 2016 “Future of Education” conference, in Florence, Italy, by Katerina Zourou. This annual conference is a meeting place for stakeholders working in the fields of digital education and training, literacies, teaching and learning approaches and methodologies.

Our talk dealt with the social dimension in the uptake of Open Educational Resources, by highlighting the role that communities can play in open practice. Due to the limited number of speakers of less used languages, including regional and minority languages, by comparison with the number of speakers of “bigger” languages, the capacity to produce Open Educational Resources (OER), further develop them and embrace them in Open Educational Practice (OEP) is not the same. At the same time, adoption of OER/OEP is much more pressing for less used languages which have (very) limited digital presence, threatening linguistic and cultural diversity on a global scale.

This presentation discussed ways less used languages can benefit from community-driven initiatives to enhance OER uptake. A selection of practices and initiatives were presented, to emphasize the role of bottom-up, community driven engagement as a catalyst of OER uptake.

In the first part of the presentation we showcased crowdsourcing and localization practices carried out by communities of less used languages, such as those hosted by Amara and Khan Akademy. We also identified state initiatives in less used languages that are built on the network based, community engagement of native speakers (cf. the Frisian MOOC).

For thoughtprovoking papers and reflections on the social dimension of OEP don’t miss Catherine’s Cronin blog

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Social dynamics in Open Educational Practice: a forthcoming journal issue

The selection of papers entitled “Social dynamics in Open Educational Practice” for the journal Alsic is being prepared and will be released in Fall 2016. Katerina Zourou is the guest editor of this collection, which is one of the outcomes of work package 6 package 6 “OER/OEP for language education” .

The accepted contributions are:

  • Whyte, Shona. From solitary thinkiers to social actors: OER in multilingual CALL teacher education
  • Pasfield, Sarah, Grant, Scott, MacKinnon, Teresa, Manns, Howard. A Meta-Analysis of Open Educational Communities of Practice and Sustainability in Higher Educational Policy.
  • Blyth, Carl.Translingualism as an Open Educational Practice: The Case of Français interactif Facebook.
  • Kurek, Gosia. Addressing cultural diversity in preparing teachers for openness: culturally sensitive appropriation of open content
  • Zourou, Katerina. Social networking affordances for open educational language practice.

Jon Reinhardt, University of Arizona, is the author of the Introduction, and Steve Thorne, Portland State University, the author of the Epilogue.

The special issue is expected in early Fall 2016. All papers will be fully available online.

A peer-review process has been established in early 2015. From all abstracts submitted (10 abstracts), the editor have invited 7 authors to submit a full paper, of which 6 have been selected at the final round of review. Two among the selected contributions draw on results of the LangOER project, namely papers by Gosia Kurek and Katerina Zourou.

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A LangOER workshop at the 8th International Conference in Open and Distance Learning in Athens!

A 2 hours workshop entitled ” “Open Educational Resources (OER) in Greek language – Practices of Reusing” has been organized by Ioannis Lefkos, Katerina Zourou (Web2Learn) and Sofia Papadimitriou (Greek National Educational Television) at the the 8th International Conference in Open and Distance Learning, held on November, 7-8 2015 in Athens, organized by the Hellenic Open University Hellenic Network of Open and Distance Learning.

During the first hour, the facilitator was Ioannis Lefkos and his presentation was generally divided in three parts. The first part was an introduction to OER (according to UNESCO / Paris declaration) and Wiley’s concept of 5 R’s of Openness, followed by an introduction to the LangOER Project. Next, the use of the Creative Commons licenses, and how these can contribute to the development and growth of OER was discussed (in addition tools were presented about how to find CC content, how to choose the correct license, how to attribute the source either from a single or from a mixed content). At the last part of the workshop participants were provided with examples of OER repositories relevant to Science Education and also with step by step guidelines about using simple tools to Reuse, Remix and Redistribute OER’s. The tools proposed were

(a) TED Ed, online lesson editor and

(b) the Amara online video translation utility

During the second hour, Sofia Papadimitriou was the facilitator and her presentation was divided in four parts. The first part was an overview of the Greek National Repositories of OER. The second part was about the various ways of searching for Greek OER and the next part suggested ways of using OER in a pedagogical setting. The final part was focused on open educational practices and how this can be combined with OER. After and also during her presentation, participants were involved in hands-on activities with the aforementioned tools. Attendants were also provided with a link to all relevant resources used at the workshop in the form of a Padlet online Bulletin Board, so they were able to test these tools themselves even after the workshop.

View the workshop slides here and all related resources and tools Ioannis & Sophia used here 

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Webinar on EU-US cooperation on OER/OEP and language learning (September 15, 2015)

LangOER webinarLangOER organizd together with the Centre for OER and Language Learning (COERLL) in the US the webinar “Out in the Open, reaching for the stars: EU-US insights into Open Educational Practices for language education”. it took place on September 15, 2015, at 16h CET (09h CDT, 17h GMT).

The recording of the webinar is now available as well as the slides.

The registration was open and more than 100 participants registered to the event.

This webinar is a joint cooperation of US and European peers working in the area of OER/OEP for language education and is one of the components of the new EU-US initiative whose aim is to enhance exchange of practice and know-how across continents. More information can be found here.

Speakers were Dr. Carl Blyth, Director of COERLL, Dr. Joshua Thoms, Assistant Professor, Utah State University;  and Dr. Katerina Zourou, Web2Learn, Greece and LangOER project manager. The webinar has been moderated by Teresa MacKinnon, Warwick University, UK.

Download the poster and the announcement.

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Joint presentation at EUROCALL 2015

The annual EUROCALL conference, run by the European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), is a meetup place for CALL practitioners and scholars. Last year our team was present with a symposium on mutlilingual repositories.

This year presentation will be about the design and implementation of training courses for educators, as they resulted from Work Package 4 (Teacher training). Linda Bradley, Gosia Kurek and Katerina Zourou will represent the LangOER consortium and connect to the audience through this fascinating topic. Check the abstract and slides of the presentation.

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Blended course on “OER and their pedagogical value” in Greece

By Katerina Zourou, Director of Web2Learn and LangOER project manager.

The blended course on the topic of “OER and their pedagogical value” was held in Thessaloniki, Greece from May 15 to June 30 2015. Designed as a distance training course in combination with a 2-day intensive face-to-face workshop, it brought together 40 educators, 32 of whom completed all components of the course.

Prior to its start, the course was advertised widely, through the poster and announcement circulated through networks of teachers in Greece. The candidates were selected based on 1) their profile (educators working in the public sector), 2) their prior participation in level A (mandatory) and level B (optional) levels of certification on ICT by the Greek Ministry of Education and 3) their willingness to cover their travel and subsistence expenses to the 2-day workshop, as a prerequisite to complete the training cycle. Indeed, participation in the face-to-face workshop was crucial for team building, group work and collaborative learning tasks designed for the purposes of the whole course. The OpenLearning platform was used for the online component of the course, which is available here.

Elina Megalou presenting "Photodentro", the Greek National OER repository

Elina Megalou presenting “Photodentro”, the Greek National OER repository

Thus the structure of the course was as follows:

May 15-30: [online] module 1: introduction

May 30 & 31: face-to-face workshop in Thessaloniki

June 1-7 [online] module 2: reuse and review

June 8-14 [online] module 3: remix

June 15-21 [online] module 4: redistribute

The structure of the online modules followed the structure commonly agreed among LangOER partners who run the same courses in several countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Greece), effectively arranged and coordinated by Gosia Kurek, assisted by Ania Skowron. The content, elaborated by Gosia and Ania for a completely online course in English on the Open Learning platform, was customized for the needs of Greek educators by Ioannis Lefkos and myself.

The face-to-face component of the training was a success, thanks also to the very inspiring talks and presentations by Elina Megalou, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the “Strategy and Digital Educational Content Directorate” at the Computer Technology Institute & Press – Diophantus (CTI)and Sofia Papadimitriou, Ph.D., working at the Educational Television Department of the Greek Ministry of Education. Both presented and ran activities on the Greek repositories of OER (Photodendro), as the planned group work worked very well. The agenda of the face-to-face meeting is available here (in Greek).

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Group activities on day 1

Group work activities were very well received, thanks to the prior preparation by Ioannis, Sofia and myself. One of the most successful activities was inspired by Catherine Cronin’s activity presented here It consisted of small group tasks in which participants were asked to map their open practices on a scale from Low to High, using a colour code (green, blue, yellow and red). The group discussions were vivid and the visualization on paper helped the whole group to better approach the practices developed by other colleagues – I would call it an ice-breaking activity built on OEP!

The trainers (from left to right): Katerina Zourou, Elina Megalou, Sofia Papadimitriou and Ioannis Lefkos

The trainers (from left to right): Katerina Zourou, Elina Megalou, Sofia Papadimitriou and Ioannis Lefkos

Many thanks to the active and engaged group of Greek educators and special thanks to Ioannis, Elina and Sofia for their invaluable help!

 

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Discussing the diverse picture of OER at the EUROCALL 2014- symposium, Groningen

At the EUROCALL conference we had the opportunity to give a symposium for an interested crowd. The topic concerned issues of multilingual repositories, management of OER repositories and teacher and learner engagement, and looking for shared questions in need of being tackled. Sylvi Vigmo and Linda Bradley from LangOER discussed the findings the state-of-the art study of OER in less used languages. Tita Beaven from the Open University, UK, talked about LORO and gave useful insights into management of such a large repository. Then Kate Borthwick from University of Southampton discussed work with OER uptake in interesting contexts for less used languages.  We finished with a discussion where the audience were invited to contribute and sign up on a list. We will see if we can make a potential special interest group for OER in EUROCALL.

Here are the happy symposium leaders; Linda Bradley, Tita Beaven, Kate Borthwick and Sylvi Vigmo (Katerina Zourou was also part of the planning team):

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During the symposium, LangOER partner members from Fryske Akademy Marit Bijlsma and Cor van der Meer, who is project coordinator, participated. In the photo together with Linda Bradley and Sylvi Vigmo

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Blogger: Linda Bradley.

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Why do OER matter for less used languages?

Katerina Zourou, Ph.D., LangOER project manager

Throughout the project lifetime (January 2014-December 2016) the LangOER team will produce evidence-based studies on the value of OER for less used languages for several target groups (learners, and teachers, educational experts and researchers, policy makers at national and international levels). Looking for evidence in OER is a complex issue, with the OER Research Hub probably being the only initiative striving to provide evidence on OER.

This short overview is based on a small sample of existing studies on the value of OER from a multilingual/multicultural perspective and provides a grounding for forthcoming studies. It exemplifies barriers that can only be overcome by broader participation with Open Educational Practice (OEP) and stronger engagement at policy level.

  • Shortage of freely accessible resources in less used languages (and social connectivity as a response)

There is a need for less used languages to openly license existing resources as a means to engage with users wishing to improve their knowledge about given languages/cultures. Keeping resources as copyrighted material not only impedes re-use and repurposing of materials in new learning contexts but also prevents users from taking ownership of them and engaging with their development and improvement. A study by Ulrich Tiedau (2013) on Dutch language OER developed in the UK emphasizes the importance of community-driven OEP as a trigger for OER expansion.

  •  Reluctance to use OER in languages other than the native language

A recent study (Clements & Pawlowski, 2012) confirms that hindrances to the use and re-use of OER are among others linguistic in nature. 35% would rather use material produced in their own country and 21% say a main barrier is resources in English only (p.9).

  •  OER as means to face cultural/linguistic hegemony

Due to the limited number of speakers of less used languages by comparison with the number of speakers of “bigger” languages, the capacity to produce, maintain and update resources is not the same. Adoption of OER/OEP is much more pressing for less used languages and on a global scale their lack threatens linguistic and cultural diversity. Two studies support this idea, both situated in the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) field. Although OER and MOOC are not comparable, we can draw similarities with the perceived threat of cultural/linguistic hegemony by more represented languages. A short paper by Altbach (2014) asks ‘who controls knowledge” in MOOCs and highlights the fact that the number of students from foreign countries registering on a course is much higher than the number of native speakers. The author questions the pedagogical and other values that a course brings, and their suitability for any registered user in the world. In addition, a blog post (though not grounded on evidence) by Katherine Forestier entitled “China’s new MOOCs could be a double-edged sword“ ) shares insights on this issue from a policy perspective. The author claims that the arrival of MOOCs has been greeted nervously by many university leaders in China, with some concerned about ‘foreign ideas’ being imported via MOOCs, and that this move has resulted in Chinese MOOCs in response to English-language ones.

The main page of the consortium of French-language MOOCS (or FLOTs, for Formations en Ligne Ouvertes à Tous)states that “the development of French-language MOOCs alongside English-language MOOCs is even more important for teaching in regions that are historically French-speaking, particularly in Africa”.

Another example is OCW Universia, formed by all the Spanish, Portuguese and Latina American Universities which have opted to join the OCW project. The OCW Universia website states that partners belong “under the cultural and geographical affinity of the Spanish American space. It thus has a stronger representation on the world Consortium”.

Growth of OER in less used languages comes not only by enhancing the production of OER in these languages, but also through an effort to cross-fertilize approaches, methods and practices. What is needed is to create bridges between stakeholders and communities of more and less knowledgeable peers and to strengthen cooperation between stakeholders of leading languages and those of less used ones, so that more voices are expressed, resources are more contextualized and rooted to cultural/linguistic contexts. Engagement with end users is also useful, with some crowdsourcing examples already in place (Paskevicius, 2012). After all, multilingualism/multiculturalism is a trademark of openness, exploration and wide horizons.

References

Altbach, P. 2014 MOOCs as Neocolonialism: Who Controls Knowledge? International Higher Education, number 75, Spring 2014, p. 5-7.

Clements, K., & Pawlowski, J. M. (2012). User-oriented quality for OER: understanding teachers’ view on re-use, quality, and trust. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning , 28(1), p. 4-14.

Forestier, K. 2013. China’s new MOOCs could be a double-edged sword. University World News. Published November 1, 2013, last access June 30, 2014 http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20131101154620288

Paskevicius, M. 2012. Adding language subtitles on Khan Academy VideosPublished March 2, 2012, last access June 30, 2014 http://blogs.uct.ac.za/blog/oer-uct/2012/03/02/adding-language-subtitles-on-khan-academy-videos

Tiedau, U. 2013. Open Educational Practices in a Lesser-Taught Language Community. Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society,(January 2013), 47–57. Retrieved from http://je-lks.org/ojs/index.php/Je-LKS_EN/article/view/801

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