Category Archives: Pedagogy

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

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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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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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Going Open with LangOER webinar at the I-LINC learning event

In June 2016, the I-LINC project hosted a Learning Event on the eTwinning platform, titled First Steps for use of technology in the classroom – Towards Digital Citizenship and Inclusion, aiming at introducing educators of all levels to the concept of technology as enabler and of IT tools as means to support engagement and participation.

Module 2 focused on selection and storage of digital content and LangOER was invited to present its Going Open methodology and the resources for teachers created for the training activities in several European countries, within the webinar Open Source Education – make & share.

The webinar was introduced by an overview of the definition and conceptualization of openness, Open Educational Resources and Practices, as well as the model of open licenses and the most common ones.

The second part focused on the process of finding, reusing and re-sharing OERs from the educators’ perspective, with hands-on approach. We presented some practical strategies for searching, using and adapting materials, contextualised examples of application and useful repositories, such as Open Education Europa, Learning Resource Exchange for schools (which also hosts the LangOER resources for language learning) and Scientix (for STEM-related subjects).

The slides of the webinar are available here.

For information on other activities and Going Open with LangOER, please, contact langoer@eun.org

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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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A seminar on openness in education

On Monday 22nd June  Jan Dlugosz University will host a seminar on openness in education. The seminar will be delivered as part of the LangOER  teacher training sessions for Poland.  Three invited speakers: Kamil Sliwowski (Creative Commons Polska), Tomasz Walasek ( Technical University, Czestochowa) and Przemek Stencel (Edukacja Online) will address various practical aspects of opening up academic classrooms. Our  LangOER colleague Anna Skowron will present the project and explain the principles of open licensing.

A full programmes is available at:

http://warsztatyeksperckie.weebly.com

 

 

 

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OER teacher training sessions across Europe

LangOER project partners have been delivering teacher training courses on Open Educational Resources and Practices. The courses were taught in local languages and their aim was to make teachers produce open resources in less-taught languages: Lithuanian, Latvian, Swedish, Polish, Frysian and Greek. All participants were invited to take part in our LangOER competition!

The good news is that you can still access the online courses: all the materials, resources, activities etc. are available for browsing. You can learn at your pace, when and where you want, for free.

Explore the 7 training courses “Going Open with LangOER” in the following languages:

English  |  Polish  |  Latvian/Latgalian  |  Swedish  |  Lithuanian   |  Greek  |  Frysian

After a F2F session in Czestochowa, Poland

After a F2F session in Czestochowa, Poland

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