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Thursday, 6 September 2007

Symposium: Online & Blended Language Education

I’m attending one of the first symposia, which are an innovation this year. They consist of presentations by a group of speakers over a double (90-minute) session, followed by a discussion. This session is entitled:
“Online and blended approaches to foreign language education: exploring the role of the teacher”.
The speakers are:
1. Melinda Dooly & Carmen Ellermann (the EC-funded MICaLL project)
2. Carolin Fuchs (a project related to the use of ICT in secondary schools in Germany)
3. Anthony Fitzpatrick (the EC-funded EUROVOLT project – Vocationally Oriented Language Teaching)
The session is exploring the role of teachers in these new contexts and how they adapt to integrating online components into their teaching.
More to follow...

2 comments:

Ton Koenraad said...

Hello Graham,
As I could not attend this year’s edition of EuroCall :-( and as a member of the MICaLL project team I am hoping to read more (of your) comments on this session.

For those who would like more info on the MICaLL project (Moderating Intercultural Collaboration and Language Learning.
Check out the paper on its rationale, presented at EuroCALL 2005 here:
www.micall.net/publications/publicationsrelated2/

Or a more recent paper focussing on the technology and WEB 2.0 tools used in this project http://ton.koenraad.googlepages.com/micallportal
Ciao, Ton Koenraad

Graham Davies said...

The key points that came out to me in this session were:

- Teachers engaging in online learning need training in specific skills that go beyond learning to master the equipment and software, e.g. learning how to moderate communication (teacher-learner / learner-learner), how to keep communication going and how to manage time – and various other skills.
- It was suggested that teachers would have a better understanding of delivering online courses and what could be expected of learners of they followed an online course themselves – i.e. putting themselves in the position of learners.
- Learner autonomy doesn’t happen by magic. Teacher-directed tasks are usually more productive than simply allowing learners to get on with the job of learning on their own.

The content of this session was interesting, but I was also intrigued by the Lecturnity Lesson Capture software which was used very unobtrusively to videorecord and save the whole of this symposium - for uploading to a website, storing on a network server, storing on CD-ROM, etc. See http://www.connectededucation.com