Category Archives: Language learning

Translanguaging and Open Educational Resources, an ideal combination?

Until some time ago, researchers and teachers believed that it was best to learn a language when it would be separated from other languages. Mixing languages in the same lesson was seen as an “academic deficiency”. Yet, this idea to separate languages in the learning process is changing.

For example in Wales, the concept of ‘translanguaging’ is not new. For some time they have been using and mixing two languages in teaching in the classroom. According to Anna Beres, who researched this phenomenon in Wales (2014), “translanguaging is when students receive information in one language, and are encouraged to produce an output of their learning in another language”[1]. In some regions translanguaging can be a more natural phenomenon. For instance, in the bilingual region of Fryslân in the Netherlands, both Frisian and Dutch are used across the region. Also for me, switching between several languages at home and at work (Dutch, Frisian, English) seems a rather natural practice.

Could translanguaging in the context of Open Education Resources (OER) contribute to the creation of multilingual teaching material and foster language learning of lesser used languages as a more ‘natural practice’? Multilingual content in OER has also other advantages. For example, it offers the “opportunity to educate without language barriers” and “share and exchange knowledge in a multicultural environment”[2].


[1] Beres, A. (2014) Unleashing the power of the bilingual mind. Bangor University. Cognitive Neuroscience Society. Retrieved on October 31st 2014, from:

[2] Tarasowa, D. e.o. (2014). Crowd-sourcing (semantically) Structured Multilingual Educational Content (CoSMEC) Open Praxis, vol. 6 issue 2, April–June 2014, pp. 159–170 (ISSN 2304-070X) 2014 OCWC Global Conference Selected Papers

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Open translation as enabler of multilingual OER?

This is just a piece of reflexion that started to emerge in our project team. Alannah’s Fitzerald blog post on “Open Linguistic Support in the Context of Open CourseWare and MOOCs has been very helpful. She writes:

When it comes to the development of open linguistic support for the world of Open CourseWare and MOOCs, we are still very much educating in beta with language learning and translation technologies. OER14 and the OCWC 2014 Open CourseWare Consortium Global Conference): Open Education for a Multicultural World are fast approaching and this year at the OCWC in Slovenia the focus is very much on multiculturalism with the following presentations addressing multilingualism in OpenCourseWare:

We’ll have a close look to this links shortly.

Some very insightful papers collected so far:

Lane, A., Comas-quinn, A., & Carter, J. (2013). The potential of openness for engaging communities. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1–3.

Beaven, T., Comas-Quinn, A., & Arcos, B. de los. (2013). The Open Translation MOOC: creating online communities to transcend linguistic barriers. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1–14. Retrieved from

Both available on our Mendeley space.

We’ll keep posting!

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Value of OER for language learning

The LangOER runs smoothly for over five months now and although work package 2 (OER in less used languages: a state-of-the art) is the one prevailing, the set of activities for work package 6 (Innovative Open Educational Practice for language learning) comes up.

There are many activities scheduled from Fall 2014 to Fall 2015, with the first one being a desktop research on this topic.
One of the most interesting pieces of information gathered is the symposium “An OER kaleidoscope for languages“, held at OCWC 2012. The full recording is here

There are tons of recordings of talks on the Internet, but this one is worth watching from start to end, it is a mix of short presentations and a brilliant Q/A at the end (with experts in the audience).

Speakers-organisers of the symposium are:Alannah Fitzgerald, Durham University and SCORE, The Open University, UK; Concordia University, Canada Anna Comas-Quinn, SCORE, The Open University, UK Antonio Martínez-Arboleda, Leeds University and SCORE The Open University, UK

Two chunks are embedded here, for the most busy of you (thanks to Giulia Torresin for editing those). In the first, Anna Comas-Quinn, Open University, UK (full profile here), heavily engaged in the LORO repository of OER for languages, discusses open translation and crowdsourcing as a potential for expansion of OER in less used languages

In the video extract that follows Allanah Fitzerald points out vested / commercial interests that empede OER expansion in the language teaching field.

Some research papers on the value of OER for language learning start to be collected in our Mendeley shared library.

More about this topic soon!


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Two upcoming events

We will participate in two events comming up that will feed the LangOER project:

Workshop 28 APRIL, 2014, ICDE, Oslo, Norway
Leading world experts in post-secondary eduaction

EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2014 and international LINQ Conference, Crete, 7-9th May 2014
Changing the Trajectory – Quality for Opening up Education


We will lead a workshop titled: Framing quality indicators for multilingual repositories of Open Educational Resources – The LangOER  European network

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