LangOER Project Conclusions

The final conference of the LangOER’s project ‘Open Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages’ took place on 26-27 September, in Brussels. The event was co-organised by the LangOER project (supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme) and the Educational Repositories Network – EdReNe. Coinciding with the European Day of languages, this event initiated the project’s final phase, bringing 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.

One of the main goals of the conference was to discuss the final policy recommendations draft (based on the studies and observations made over the last three years of the project) and to present other findings regarding licensed and quality OER, which are still a relatively open challenge in LUL communities. The conference concluded with a call for future actions on OER and suggested actions for the improvement of the recommendations draft.

Following the fruitful discussion, workshops and thorough debate that took place during the conference, the LangOER project invited policy makers, experts, researchers and practitioners to further contribute on the debate around the final policy recommendations. First, by participating in the webinar Open Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages – Consultation on policy recommendations and second, by joining the Facebook group LangOER – Policy consultation.

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The Facebook group works as a space for dialogue and engagement around the paper ‘Enabling Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Europe through OER’ and other key resources in the field, but it also aims to enhance OER presence in policy and encourage further action.

The policy recommendations paper presents three top level policy recommendations:

1) Developing a well-functioning OER lifecycle – “create-access-use-adapt”.

2) Providing professional development and support for teachers.

3) Supporting community and network building for quality learning outcomes.

More information about the policy consultation may be found here.

Since LangOER is coming to its end, a Digital Showcase of the project was developed as a mean to collect and present all the valuable resources produced during its life span. The Digital Showcase offers a wide range of resources categorized by its stakeholders (teachers, policy and experts) and together with this blog, will remain accessible after the end of the project.

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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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“Start creating your own OERs” Workshop at the eTwinning Conference 2016

From 27 to 29 October 2016, the eTwinning and Digital Citizenship Annual Conference was held in Athens. The goal of the conference was to explore possibilities on how to raise the capabilities of the schools of today, in order to be prepared for the challenges of the fully digital society of tomorrow.

Professor Elena Shulman, expert member of EUN’s LangOER team, was responsible for the activity entitled Open Educational Resources: Start creating your own OERs, organized as 2 separate workshops taking place on the same day. These sessions were aimed at teachers engaged in professional development activities under the eTwinning programme.

Around 70 participants from a wide variety of European countries (including Italy, Netherlands, Finland, Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey, Lithuania and Portugal among others) joined the LangOER workshops. The expert, answered questions throughout the sessions and engaged teachers in considering and discussing issues around OER, copyright and best practices for creating and licensing their own OERs.

The workshop’s topic was based in the Going Open with LangOER online OER course, the related handbook and other relevant tools and resources. The first part of the session, focused on providing an overview of Creative Commons licenses and examples of open resources and how to find them. Then, the speaker went on presenting opportunities for teachers to explore resources and tools that facilitate their own efforts to discover, reuse and create their own OERs and to license these resources appropriately using Creative Commons licenses. The hands-on part of the workshop was followed by a questions & answers slot and the final wrap up.

Overall, participants provided feedback to the expert on the issues that teachers found challenging when it comes to Creative Commons licenses, the type of resources teachers were more likely to find useful in similar learning opportunities and insight into what motivates or acts as barriers to teacher’s willingness to share OERs in online communities.

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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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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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