Category Archives: Seminar

LangOER Conference 2016 – Call for proposals

Conference “Open Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages”

Brussels, September 26 & 27, 2016 – coinciding with the European Day of languages (September 26).

LangOER (http://langoer.eun.org) is a network of European partners supporting the enhancement of teaching and learning of less used languages through Open Educational Resources (OER) and Practices (OEP). The network, which is supported by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, runs from January 2014 to December 2016. In September 2016 LangOER will organize its final seminar, in cooperation with EdReNe , the Educational Repositories Network.

In the fast developing digital era, Open Educational Resources (OER) and Practices (OEP) provide new ways to extend participatory learning and help support innovative teaching practices. This represents an important opportunity for less used languages and their speakers but also gives rise to a number of challenges. For example, the adoption of OER/OEP for less used languages can be slow to take off as a result of limited public investment and/or limited market size. There is a real danger, therefore, that barriers to OER/OEP for less used languages can impact on linguistic diversity and cultural diversity on a global scale.

This LangOER-EdReNe conference aims to bring together experts in open education and digital content repositories with educational researchers and a variety of policy makers concerned with language learning and teaching, pedagogical use of ICT, and social integration and inclusion.

It will particularly address key issues related to the uptake of less used languages.

The agenda that is currently being developed will explore:

  • How cross-border collaboration can address current challenges and provide new opportunities to extend OER/OEP in less used languages.
  • How OER/OEP can be optimally transferred to language communities where there are limited financial resources and political support.
  • How new policies and initiatives can address existing roadblocks for OER/OEP adoption.
  • The added value of OER/OEP from a (less used) language teaching perspective.
  • Current state of the art on initiatives and digital resources in Europe

If you wish to submit a proposal for the conference, please, send the following information to langoer@eun.org  no later than March 1st, 2016

First name:

Last name:

Affiliation:

Email:

EdReNe member: Yes/No

LangOER project partner: Yes/No

Title of presentation:

Abstract (max 250 words):

More information soon available on the project website LangOER Conference 2016

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How can open education empower minority languages?

The seminar “Open Education in Minority Languages: Chances and Perspectices” organized on the 7-8 of October 2015, had a the central theme to “get a grasp” on how minority languages can make use of the fast developing field of Open Education. The seminar was organized in the framework of the LangOER project and was hosted by the Fryske Akademy (home of the Mercator Research Centre).

All seminar highlights and presentations are gathered on the seminar’s Padlet page.

Summary

The seminar offered interesting perspectives on open education, as it brought together experts of the field of open education with minority language representatives. The fact that (most) of minority languages have limited or no access to open educational resources, urged the participants, speakers and the consortium partners, to come up with practical and creative solutions on how to empower the ” smaller languages”. The challenges often encountered by minority languages are a lack of financial and/or political support.

Importance for regional and minority languages to adopt Open Educational Resources and Practices

During the seminar, a presentation was given by Giulia Torresin and Katerina Zourou, (Web2Learn, Greece). This presentation highlighted that “the adoption of OER/OEP is much more pressing for smaller languages, which have very limited digital presence, threatening linguistic diversity and cultural diversity on a global scale”.

OER initiatives presented during the seminar

During the seminar, several initiatives were presented to inspire participants, representing various languages in Europe:

  • Photodentro (Sofia Papadimitriou, Greek Ministry of Education)
  • Wikiwijs (Robert Schuwer, chair Special Interest Group on Open Education, Netherlands)
  • NDLA (Christer Gundersen,Nordic Digital Learning Arena)
  • OER Wales (Deborah Baff, University of Wales)

Examples of challenges encountered by smaller languages:

  • Manx (Isle of Man): This language is recently being taught on a few schools again, however due to the lack of written publications in the Manx language, teachers are often challnged by the fact that they have to create their own material.
  •  Arbëresh (Southern Italy): Arbëresh is spoken in Southern Italy in the regions of Abruzzi, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Apulia and Sicily. With almost no written tradition of the language, it is a challenge to keep the language ‘vital”.

Hence, OER’s could be very valuable for these language. This also stressed the need for more OER’s which can easily be adjusted to a specific context or language ( see also the ‘Travel Well Criteria of European Schoolnet“, What makes some educational resources more useful for different cultural and linguistic contexts).

OER policy for Regional and Minority Languages

During practical sessions organized during the seminar, participants were invited to share ideas on how they see the future of their language with regards to OER in 2025 and also what the role of policy could be in this respect. The outcomes of the discussion or gathered on the seminar’s Padlet Wall.

Solutions

One solution to further engage the smaller communities is to use a bottum-up approach, with true community driven engagement. A good examples is to refer to the ExplOERer project, which focuses on the: value of design of national OER repositories of small languages in creating user engagement, through social networking and game mechanics, as a means of OER expansion and appropriation. Also, to facilitate further OER uptake by smaller languages, it is important that more OERs are produced by the “bigger” languages, that are easier to use for different cultural and linguistic contexts.

On the blog of Alastair Creelman (Partner of the LangOER project, Linnaeus University), you can find more solutions discussed during the seminar, on how minority language communities can be empowered by use of open educational resources and practices.

 

 

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OER Expert Deborah Baff:“Embedding OER and OEP across the Higher Education Sector in Wales”

On 7-8 October, the LangOER seminar “Open Education in Minority Languages: Chances and Perspectives” is taking place. You can find more information on the events page and you can follow all conference highlights on our padlet wall.

dbOER Expert Deborah Baff (Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, University of South Wales) is giving a presentation during the seminar, entitled: “Embedding OER and OEP across the Higher Education Sector in Wales”.

You can also join her presentation virtually! (No need to register) Please find more information below:

  • Time: 7 october at 12:30 (CET)
  • Link: http://connect.sunet.se/alastair

oer15-mainstreaming-education-a-sneaky-preview-12-638

Her presentation details the experience of a Universities Wales pan Wales project to embed open educational resources (OER’s) and open educational practice (OEP) across the Welsh Higher Education Sector. The project was led by the Project Manager Deborah Baff in order to meet the aspirations of the Wales Open Education Declaration of Intent (2013) the project worked collaboratively reporting to an OER Expert Group with representatives from all Universities Wales together with recognised experts in the field. The presentation will provide a brief background to the project and outline the successful delivery of all main project deliverables with the key outputs highlighted. Including:

  1. Development and launch of a website/portal to showcase the best OER’s in Wales, and aims to strengthen OEP within every part of university life through promoting the creation, use and re-purposing of OER’s.
  2. Development of a pilot short / small massive open online course (sMOOC) working in partnership with all Welsh Universities and involving existing students as co-creators of the course. The MOOC has been piloted on a bilingual basis with Welsh and English Speaking existing students.
  3. The establishment of the OER Wales Cymru Champions Network in order to create a network of practitioners offering a diverse range of roles, background and experience
  4. Planning and Delivery of the OER15 International Conference held in April 2015 in Cardiff, Wales, UK.

Finally the presentation focuses on how barriers to collaboration were overcome and the importance of maintaining effective communication channels.

References

Higher Education Wales The Wales Open Education Declaration of Intent (2013) Available athttp://www.hew.ac.uk/wales-signs-declaration-of-intent-to-lead-the-way-on-the-use-of-online-education-resources/(Accessed 7 April 2014)

Welsh Government (Online Digital Learning Working Group) Open & online: Wales, higher education and emerging modes of learning (2014) Available at:http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dcells/publications/140402-online-digital-learning-working-group-en.pdf (Accessed 7 April 2014)

KEY Links

Project Website http://www.oerwales.ac.uk/

Debbie Baff https://about.me/debbaff

Twitter : @debbaff

Blog : https://debbaffled.wordpress.com/

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