Project leader: Dr. Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, UCL Teaching Fellow in Danish
Project supervisor: Ian Newby, CETL-LWW liason, Teacher trainer at UCL Language Centre.
- Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (Danish)
- Reynir Þór Eggertsson (Icelandic)
- Margrethe Alexandroni (Norwegian)
- Annika Lindskog (Swedish)
Our languages in Scandinavian Studies at UCL, as is the case with all of the LWW, suffer first and foremost from a lack of language materials that go beyond the traditional language textbook with its audio/visual model dialogues and grammar exercises. Our language materials are not geared towards blended learning, the use of authentic texts, task-based learning or intercultural perspectives that are becoming more and more central factors and demands in today's language teaching and learning.
International and national groups of teachers in our individual languages are presently forming to confront this expressed need, and this project will prepare our teachers to be in the forefront of such future collaborations with creating materials and best practices for blended language learning.
Individual teachers in our department have been involved in UCL and CETL projects in the past. Daisy Neijmann has been involved in an Icelandic language mobile learning project within CETL, and an introduction to Danish language in the ATLAS web-project was created by Jannie Roed, a former Danish language teacher.
Our department is giving all our courses a presence on Moodle, and this project will assist the language teachers in creating best practices of using digital materials in the (virtual) department. Our project is, then, continuous with smaller projects in the past and will prepare us for the demands of the future
Aims and objectives
The project aims to assist language teachers in Scandinavian Studies to develop and share their materials and practices in a group whose languages and challenges to learners are very similar. The project aims specifically to create language materials for blended language learning in the digital classroom.
The materials produced will be directed towards advanced beginners/intermediate levels. Each language teacher will produce materials for 8 hours of classroom teaching, equivalent to two weeks of term-time teaching. The final product of each teacher will consist of a collection of materials and tasks for blended language learning under the heading of a single theme (chosen by the individual language teacher) and accompanied by a detailed description of the best practices involved in teaching with the materials, the technologies used and the skills practiced, together with an evaluation of learning experiences including samples of students' work. All materials must include the use of at least four technologies/media for blended learning in the digital classroom, for instance audio/video materials, voice recording, websites and social networking activities such as wiki, blog or chat. The materials and tasks used and created must be made publishable on the Scandinavian Studies Languages Moodle site and made available there as a digital and interactive "text-book"
The project was divided into three phases where the first phase (term 1) was devoted to preparing and creating the materials: teachers worked individually and met in three work shops to discuss progress and best practices with the participation and assistance of Ian Newby; the second phase of the project (term 2) saw the implementation of the learning materials in the relevant language classes; and phase three (term 3) was dedicated to the evaluation of the finalized followed by the publication of the materials on the project Moodle site.
Description of intended products
Where will the materials be stored? - Following the creation, trial-run and evaluation of the materials, they will be made available in a uniform format on the Scandinavian Studies Languages Moodle site from where they will be accessible to the wider public. Visitors to the site will be able to see the materials, activities and tasks, read the teacher description and see student products and evaluations.
Perspectives and sustainability
How will they be integrated into the syllabi? - It is our hope that the materials produced will not only be used and adjusted continuously by the individual teachers, but that they will offer experience with best practices in blended learning in the digital classroom and encourage teachers to create new materials to be incorporated into the syllabi in the future. We also foresee that, if successful, this material and the ways into language learning it suggests might also lead to new ways of assessing our students' language skills both when it comes to the format and the emphasis on certain skills. As such the target group for this project is the language teachers in our department, but, naturally, with the specific target of improving and innovating our teaching and assessments for the benefit of our students.
The individual teachers involved in the programme will continue working on and expanding the materials created in this project, following their own specific interests; for instance one teacher will continue working towards an online course for teaching language skills through creative writing, other teachers will continue to create materials and practices for using Moodle and the Language Space as integral parts of their language teaching, and our teachers are independently involved in recently initiated collaborations with their respective national and international colleagues in their field, wherein creating and sharing blended learning materials and practices are central objectives. For instance, already this summer, the project coordinator will give the first ever workshop in the international organisation of Danish language teachers on how to teach in the digital classroom. Since it is one of the aims of this project to initiate a discussion of best practices in blended language learning for our department's teachers, each teacher will naturally want to improve, modify and expand the materials created during the project, based on the skills and collegial sharing facilitated by the project. It is our aim that the Moodle site (our repository for language materials) will be maintained and sustained by the language teachers in the department as a site and database for continuous debate and for posting future experiments with blended learning in the digital classroom. The Moodle site will initially be maintained by the project coordinator for the next two years. By the end of the project, the created materials will be made available to all language teachers at UCL, who will be given access to the "second generation" of our Moodle repository. It is our hope that this repository, including originally created materials, guides and discussions of blended learning practices, in the future, will become a collaborative "open source" Moodle repository for all language departments teaching LWW languages at CETL-partner institutions. It is, then, our hope that once we have carried out this project, it can be multiplied to other languages and to other institutions that offer Scandinavian languages.
Conclusion by project leader