Category Archives: Language learning

Managing cultural diversity in the context of open education: lesson learnt

A talk Managing cultural diversity in the context of open education – lessons learnt was given by Malgorzata Kurek (Jan Dlugosz University, one of the LangOER partners) at the 16th edition of the international IALIC conference, which took place at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, in Bellaterra university campus, Spain, on 25th – 27th November 2016.

The presentation was based on the outcomes of the teacher training package designed and offered within the LangOER project to teachers from 6 different cultures operating with less-used-languages.

IALIC (International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication) is a very well-known organisation of global reach which promotes an interdisciplinary perspective on the interplay between languages and intercultural factors. The event attracted as many as over 130 researchers, educators and practitioners interested in interculturalism and multilingualism.

The leading theme of the conference was Bridging across Languages and Cultures in Everyday Lives: New Roles for Changing Scenarios and main aims were:

  • to promote critical engagement with the notion of mediating between cultures and languages;
  • to explore the role of technology in bridging between diverse languages and cultures;
  • to explore the role of ‘broker’ in cross-cultural situations, including growing instances of ‘child language brokers’;
  • to promote understanding of how language brokering is perceived by researchers and practitioners from cross-cultural situations;
  • to provide a forum for a critique of existing analytical models of culture and language mediating practices that integrate current theories of language and intercultural communication;
  • to provide a forum on ways in which research into language and culture mediation can inform teachers’ praxis.

This broad spectrum enabled the penetration of various aspects of multilingualism and interculturalism.

The presentation delivered by Malgorzata Kurek drew on the outcomes of the teacher training courses designed with the purpose of equipping teachers working in less-used languages with skills needed to locate, repurpose and create their own resources. The pilot course in English was piloted and then re-purposed by project partners to address the needs of their local teachers from Greece, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Latvia and Lithuania. The course is available on demand from https://www.openlearning.com/courses/goingopenwithlangoer/Homepage

The presentation focused on the stage of adapting and appropriating original instructional design to the unique characteristics and constraints of local educational cultures of Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Frysia. The research presented was based on the analysis of strategies used by facilitators to accommodate the training content to the profile of their local educational cultures.

The main points made by the author were the following:

  • Instructional designers involved in designing open content need to consider the inevitable prospect of the materials being re-purposed and adapted to other educational contexts.
  • The quality of open content is not its inherent feature but it emerges in the process of adaptation (Conole & Ehlers 2010; King 2013);
  • Successful appropriation to local contexts is not free from cultural meanings and, thus, cannot be approached as an automatic procedure.
  • Educational cultures should be accounted for in task appropriation and instruction delivery so that recipients feel assisted in their gradual adaptation of new practices.
  • Facilitators play an active role in the process of adapting resources – they should be autonomous in their judgments and decisions about which modifications respond best to their local contexts.

The article on which the presentation was based had been published in the special issue of ALSIC and is available at:  https://alsic.revues.org/2904

jdu_ialic_blog

References:

  • Conole, G.C., & Ehlers, U.D. (2010). Open Educational Practices: Unleashing the power of OER. Paper presented to UNESCO Workshop on OER in Namibia 2010. Windhoek. Retrieved from http://efquel.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/OEP_Unleashing-the-power-of-OER.pdf
  • King, T. (2013). The “Onstream” Project: Collaboration between higher education teachers of Russian and Teachers of Russian in mainstream and supplementary schools. In T. Beaven, A. Comas-Quinn, & B. Sawhill (Eds.), Case studies of openness in the language classrooom (pp. 110-120). © Research-publishing.net.

Author: Malgorzata Kurek – Jan Dlugosz University

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The LangOER Digital Showcase: the project’s resources in a nutshell

One of the latest releases of the LangOER has been the Digital Showcase, featuring all the valuable resources created during the 3 years of the project.

How can less used languages, including Regional and Minority languages, benefit from Open Educational Practices (OEP)? How can Open Educational Resources (OER) be shaped to foster linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe? What policies are favourable to the uptake of quality OER in less used language communities?

All these questions are part of the raison d’être behind the project and have been considered when designing the tool.

The Digital Showcase offers a wide range of materials (including videos, handbooks, courses, policy briefs, papers etc.) and its goal is to showcase them in an accessible and illustrative way. In this regard, all resources have been identified depending on the year of creation, format, type and, what is more important, the key stakeholders (teachers, policy makers and experts).

The following resources are already available in the main page of the Digital Showcase according to the target audience and the set will updated with the latest documents and tools in the upcoming weeks.

Teachers

  • Going Open with LangOER – Course
  • Going Open with LangOER – Handbook
  • LangOER Collection of educational resources
  • eTwinning Online Seminar
  • LangOER prize winners

Policy makers

  • Open education Resources in your Own language, in your Way
  • Final policy paper
  • Policy consultation
  • EU-US cooperation Webinar
  • LangOER prize winners
  • OER in less used languages: state of the art report
  • LangOER video interview series
  • Conference materials
  • Desktop research of OER
  • “Chances and Perspectives” Seminar

Experts

  • Social dynamics in Open Educational Practice
  • Web 2.0 Library
  • LangOER prize winners
  • OER in less used languages: state of the art report
  • LangOER video interview series
  • Conference materials
  • Desktop research of OER
  • “Chances and Perspectives” Seminar

Other external research-based resources related to OER/OEP and less used languages may also be found here: http://langoer.eun.org/other-useful-resources

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Open Educational Resources in Lithuanian Language: teachers’ competences and quality of teaching materials

On 27-28 May 2016, the International Scientific conference Society, Integration, Education – SIE2016 was held at the Rezekne Academy of Technologies, in Latvia.

The aim of this conference was to provide a platform for researchers to share knowledge and ideas on the recent trends in Higher Education, Pedagogy, Lifelong Learning, Information Technologies in Education etc. The target audience in the conference included lecturers, researchers, scientists and educational stakeholders from Lithuania, Latvia. Russia, Poland, Italy, Australia and other countries.

Colleagues from Mykolas Romeris University (LangOER project partner) contributed to the conference with a presentation within the workshop Lifelong Learning and Information Technologies in Education, focusing on The problem of using Open Educational Resources in the Lithuanian language as a less widespread language in the world.

The aim of the presentation was to reveal the importance of Open Educational Resources in the Lithuanian Language for the development of teachers’ competences and for the quality of teaching/learning material, by providing a possibility to disseminate innovations and to develop creativity and consistency, as well as to share teaching resources.

The presentation received great interest from the audience, who got engaged in the discussion by sharing experiences about promoting and using OER to widen access to education in a perspective of lifelong learning.

A paper based on the presentation will be available in the conference proceedings.

Author: LangOER project team at Mykolas Romeris University

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International Conference on Bilingualism in Education

A talk on OER: insights into a multilingual landscape was given by Marit Bijlsma (Fryske Akademy), at the international conference Bilingualism in Education, which took place at Bangor University, North Wales, on 10-12th June 2016.

The event attracted around 150 international researchers and practitioners within bilingual and multilingual education.

The main goals of this conference were:

  • To increase the understanding of bilingualism world-wide, as regards both the individual and the community;
  • To build research capacity on bilingualism by developing a vibrant ‘laboratory’ for the study of bilingualism in action which aims to serve as a platform for interactions between bilingualism experts and junior researchers;
  • To develop strong bidirectional links with practitioners and policy makers concerned with bilingualism, so as to ground research and theory in the needs of those users and ensure dissemination of research findings;
  • To develop new collaborations.

The event covered a broad spectrum of themes of interest for the LangOER project to relate to and to exchange knowledge on and, in particular, the topic of ‘Understanding students’ attitudes towards post-compulsory study in minoritized languages’.

”It is widely acknowledged that the establishment of school-based educational provision in minoritized languages has been a key factor in language revitalisation in a range of primarily European contexts, where institutional recognition and support have been secured by the relevant minority. In the Welsh context, and elsewhere, the production of new speakers has arisen primarily as a consequence of the growth in the number of school-aged pupils studying through the medium of Welsh”

Andrew James Davies, Prifysgol Aberystwyth

The presentation focused on the following key aspects.

  • Language use and attitudes in a minority language community: The case of Wales. Language use and language attitudes have been longstanding and contentious issues within the field of minority language policy. In order for individuals to succeed in becoming bilingual, they have to receive input through both languages, Often, a lack of infrastructure bears the burden of successful minority language transmission. (Dr Mirain Rhys, WISERD).
  • Do Immigrant Minority Students Succeed in CLIL? Over the last few decades, processes of globalization and immigration have turned educational programmes and policies developed to cater to majority language or regional minority language groups into complex language planning issues. The growing influx of immigrant minority (IM) language speakers in both minority and majority multilingual education has laid bare the limitations of (some of) these programmes to provide relevant and appropriate education for all children in the 21st century. (Thomas Somers, Universidad Auntónoma de Madrid)
  • Trilingual Education in Friesland. Currently, Frisian is mainly taught through ‘weak models’ with ‘limited enrichment’. However, more than 100 primary schools (out of 450) apply a bilingual model, and another 75 schools apply the concept of ‘Trilingual Education’ with both Frisian and Eng-lish as a medium of instruction. The number of trilingual schools has increased, and schools are working step-by-step towards a fully developed, tailor made application of the CLIL approach, using school television programs from ‘Omrop Fryslân’ and digital teaching tools. (Alex Riemersma, NHL & Stenden universities of applied sciences).
  • Teaching mathematics in a Basque-medium pre-primary classroom: interaction resources and problem solving techniques. Early Childhood Education in the Basque Autonomous Community in Spain, in a multilingual education context in which 50% of students complete the curriculum in their L2, Basque. The presentation focused on the explanatory and problem solving expressions used by the teacher to the pupils that serve the dual purpose of teaching both the linguistic and the mathematical content. (Julia Barnes, Arantza Ozaeta, Matilde Sainz, Mondragon Unibertsitatea – HUHEZI).
  • Minority Language Families in Diaspora: Catalans in New York City. Educating multilingual children is an adventure ideally shared by teachers and parents. In order to encourage families to embark on, and persist in, the multilingual challenge, teachers benefit from a deep understanding of why parents decide to transmit which of their languages or not, and how they manage. Mixed and migrant families offer a particularly interesting case, since typically parents are forced to make conscious choices regarding their language repertoire. They can also illuminate the dynamics concerning societal multilingualism, where choices might be more environmentally mediated. (Eva J. Daussa, University of Groningen).

Author: Marit Bijlsma (Fryske Akademy)

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OER from the bottom-up perspective – engaging teachers as ambassadors?

In the workshop about OER in practice about educators’ involvement at the LangOER conference in Brussels, there was an engaging discussion about how to increase OER awareness with teachers. The four short presentations about OER in different contexts lead to suggestions of what vital policy recommendations are need for teacher training.

First, the moderator Anna Skowron from Jan Długosz University in Poland presented the pilot course Going Open with LangOER, which was a successful initiative run in the seven partner countries of the LangOER network for a large number of teachers. The result from the pilot project set up by the Polish team was a handbook being used by teachers. From investigating the OER situation in Poland, there were some noteworthy reflections to bring back: Although there are a number of vibrant OER initiatives in Poland, when you scrape the surface it turned out that they were not OER after all. Also, there were national initiatives on open text books but they are not implemented in schools. There is an ambiguity as far as the terminology of “open” and “OER” is concerned.

The next speaker was Linda Bradley from University of Gothenburg who presented the Swedish version of the Going Open course and lessons learned. For the teachers engaged in the course, learning about OER was an eye-opener. Many teachers are really interested in knowing more about openness, open licenses and what is actually possible to share online.

The third speaker Vaiva Zuzevičiūtė from Mykolas Romeris University in Lithuania, presented the Going Open course in Lithuania. It attracted a large cohort of interested teachers. Instead of the 25 teachers that were invited, they ended up with 70 teachers! This shows that teachers are very interested in what OER can bring to teaching and learning, something that was manifested by one of the participating teachers being interviewed saying that it is necessary to “cut down the talking about using technology and instead get to work”. In the Lithuanian study it was clear that teachers need hands one materials that they can use directly in class.

The fourth and final speaker was Florentina Costea from The Arman Community from Romania, displaying a good practice example for lesser language e-learning investigating the Arman/Aromanian language. The OER movement can facilitate connections and spreading materials about a very small language, particularly in this case, where speakers are located in various places throughout the world.

The policy recommendations brought up, concerned how OER training within initial teacher education and continuing professional development programmes could be increased for teachers via online platforms. We discussed how it is possible to facilitate teacher and support staff training in the creation, adaption and use of OER. One solution could be to work more on the bottom-up perspective, with teachers as ambassadors, engaging teachers to be more active. However, the sustainability question still remains. Who is going to update and maintain the materials produced?

Author: Linda Bradley – University of Gothenburg

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Less commonly used languages and OER: the path toward the LangOER project policy recommendations

The LangOER partners ICDE and University of Gothenburg brought the project contribution to the Open Education Global conference, in Kraków, Poland, on 12-14 April 2016, this year focus on the theme “Convergence through collaboration”. The conference is an annual opportunity for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and educators to deeply explore open education and its impact on global education.

Gard Titlestad, Secretary General of ICDE, presented an overview on Less commonly used languages and OER, issues that the project LangOER have studied, explored and now suggests solutions for – to advance learning and languages in countries and regions with lesser used languages – which in fact is of high importance for most countries in Europe.

Would you go for open or closed education?

We know:

  • the costs for students and parents for education is increasing
  • many governments cut funding for education
  • there is a strong call for innovation and creativity among students and teachers in education
  • there is need for innovation in education

Still, we observe governments and educational authorities are hesitant and reluctant investing in open education resources, OER.

OER has a great potential to

  • make educational resources updated and more relevant
  • lower costs for governments and students
  • include students and teachers in co-creation and use of educational resources
  • increase effect of investments in education
  • stimulate innovation in education

So what is holding back a turnaround to active utilise this potent resource?

We know education in your native language

  • will favour better learning experiences
  • is stimulating creative capacities among learners
  • build self-confidence – compared with the alternative
  • is of a particular importance for education on bachelor level and below, most important for the lower educational levels

So why is countries and regions with lesser used languages lagging investing in OER compared with countries with larger languages, in particular English?

These aspects were also highlighted during the LangOER final conferenceOpen Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages’’, which took place on 26 and 27 September 2016 in Brussels. At the event, suggestions for future actions regarding policies and practices were also presented.

Following the discussions at the conference, the project is organising two webinars in the month of November 2016, inviting key stakeholders to help finalise the draft recommendations that are aimed at supporting the enhancement of teaching and learning of less used languages through the development and use of Open Educational Resources.

The first webinar, Open Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages – Consultation on policy recommendations will be hold on 2 November 2016 at 11AM CET.

Programme of webinar http://langoer.eun.org/policy_consultation

Registration open here

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LangOER Conference: ‘Open Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages’

From 26 to 27 September 2016, the LangOER project, in cooperation with EdReNe, the Educational Repositories Network, will hold its final conference titled ‘Open Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages’ in Brussels, Belgium.

The conference will kick off in the European Day of languages aiming to bring together policy makers concerned with language learning and teaching, pedagogical use of ICT, and social integration and inclusion, experts in open education and digital content repositories, educational researchers and teachers. Participants will have the chance to discuss the importance of linguistic diversity in Europe and the support of OER in fostering minority languages.

During the first day, workshops and roundtables will address strategies on how OER and OER for Less Used Languages could be integrated in policy agendas, how funding can be identified and what activities can be developed at Pan-European level. In addition, tailored workshops will be organized on the role of teachers and the importance of bottom-up and community building strategies for the OER uptake.

On the second day, sessions will be focused on good practices like MOOCs for language learning and future actions for the enhancement of OER and OEP in European and global level. At the finale of the conference, the LangOER prizes will be announced and the role and involvement of teachers in the project will be presented with some experiences and practices.

The conference ‘Open Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages’ is the closing event of LangOER project that aims at contributing to the promotion of learning and teaching of less used European languages by linking them to the global challenges of Open Education.

If you are interested to know more

Follow the conference live on social media #LangOERconf

LangOER website – http://langoer.eun.org/conference-2016
EdReNe website – http://edrene.org

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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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LangOER teachers’ course in Latvia

Before this course I thought it is not my cup of tea, but during the two days I realized that it offers quite good things which I will be able to use in teaching my subjects’ [1] (Rēzekne, Latvia)
1114276620395936 (1)The quotation in the title stems from one participant in the LangOER teachers’ course which took place in Rēzekne Higher Educational Institution (RHEI, Latvia). Those words have been chosen because they reflect general feelings and attitudes shown in the evaluation forms after the end of the course.

In the beginning of 2015, teachers from Latgale and other regions of Latvia were invited to participate in a course about lesser used languages and open educational resources, in which they were taught how to create digital tools for teaching different subjects in smaller (i.e. regional, minority, but also smaller national) languages such as Latgalian, Polish, Russian or Latvian. There was a repeated regional media coverage about this project, in particular regarding the teachers’ course, e.g. in the Rēzekne city news (http://rezekne.pilseta24.lv/zinas/55/351368).

We were happy to receive considerably more applications than we could accept for this course. Therefore we (my collegues Solvita Pošeiko, Ilga Šuplinska and myself) decided to create 2 groups with together almost 60 participants. Each group (the first course took place in the end of March, the second in the end of April) had first two days of face-to-face meetings (every day 6 hours, in total 12 hours). Afterwards the participants worked individually at home, creating teaching materials and uploading them to the specially created learning platform (https://www.openlearning.com/courses/esiatvrtsarlangoer). You can read more about this course in an interview which I as co-ordinator of the Latvian group was asked to give to our institution’s PR Office (available on the website of Rēzekne Higher Educational Institution; for readers unfamilar with Latvian the pictures from the course will provide some insight into what was taking place; http://www.ru.lv/aktualitates/1455/).

Both groups reunited on May 21 for presenting the participants’ individual projects. It was a big challenge to evaluate them and decide which of the teachers’ works should be nominated as the best Latvian contribution in order to participate in the international teachers’ competition. In the end we did a triple evaluation: the individual projects were evaluated by the teachers themselves, the course leaders (the three project participants and our IT expert Mihails Kijaško) and by students who have access to the RHEI learning platform.[2] We are happy to announce our winner Diāna Bravacka, a teacher of Latvian language and literature who is working with interdisciplinary approaches and new technologies. Here is the link where you can read (in Latvian) about this competition and its result: http://www.ru.lv/aktualitates/1552/.

Nu sirds sumynojam Tevi, Diāna!

Sirsnīgi sveicam Tevi, Diāna!

Поздравляa!

[1] Originally in Latvian: Pirms kursiem domāju, ka šie kursi nav domāti man, bet divu dienu garumā konstatēju, ka ir diezgan labas lietas izklāstītas, ko varēšu izmantot savos mācību priekšmetos.

[2] About the LangOER Project and participation of Rēzekne Higher Education Institution you can read more here: https://twitter.com/RezAugstskola/status/582446322223083520

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Seminar: Re-visiting the pedagogy of the languages of minority communities

On Friday the 26th of June 20915, a seminar on the pedagogy of the languages of minority communities will be organized by the Mercator European Research Centre for Multilingualism & Language Learning (Fryske Akademy) and by SOAS, the Institute of World languages (University of London). This time the focus is on pedagogical aspects and includes policy issues as well as practices involving resources ranging from story-telling to Open Educational Resources (see below for further details). During this seminar, the LangOER project will also be presented.

soasmerca

 

Programme

09.30: Registration & Coffee

10.15: Cor van der Meer, Mercator (Fryske Akademy), & Itesh Sachdev, SOAS (University of London):   Welcome & Introduction

10.30: Sarah Cartwright, Our Languages Project, London:  Understanding the languages landscape

11.15: Fatima Khaled, Peace School, London: Motivating teenagers in the digital age

12.00: Manjula Datta, London Metropolitan University: Language development through storytelling

12.45: Lunch

1.45: Marit Bijlsma, Mercator (Fryske Akademy): Open Educational Resources in multilingual European contexts

2.30: Wim de Boer, Afûk Institute for the Frisian Language:  Frisian MOOC

3.15: Coffee

3.45: Anne Pauwels, SOAS (University of London): Advantages/disadvantages of current practices with panel/audience in discussion with panel and audience

4.30: Julia Sallabank, SOAS (University of London): Language pedagogy for endangered languages

5.15: Closure

 Registration deadline: 22nd June, 2015.  Please register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment by emailing: mercator@fryske-akademy.nl

Venue: VG01, Vernon Square Campus, SOAS, University of London, Penton Rise London, WC1X 9EW (closest stations – Kings Cross/St Pancras International)

 

 

 

 

 

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