EUROCALL 2014

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SpeakApps 2: Speaking practice in a foreign language through ICT tools

SpeakApps 2 is a project with support of the Lifelong Learning Programme, under Key Activity 2 Languages, Accompanying Measures. This project follows up on the work and results reached during the KA2 project “SpeakApps: Oral production and interaction in a foreign language through ICT tools”. During the SpeakApps project a needs-analysis study was conducted among teachers and students, which confirmed that the teaching and learning of oral skills remains one of the greatest challenges, in face-to-face, blended and distance education. Over 60 pilots carried out during the project, have shown that Speakapps provides synchronous and asynchronous tools which may multiply the time language learners can dedicate to speaking practice beyond contact hours, and that it offers tasks that teachers can re-use, adapt to their own purposes, and share with a growing community of teachers and learners across the world. A market review, repeated towards the end of the project and documented in the exploitation plan, revealed that there are several tools that may be used for oral skills practice, but none were found which match this combination of tools in a single environment (based on Moodle or integrated into the institutions’ preferred LMS if required) and complemented with freely available, pedagogically validated tasks and featuring unique functions, such as those associated with the Tandem tool.
The overarching aim of SpeakApps 2 is to further enhance Europeans’ language learning skills through both self-directed learning and purposeful, teacher-designed materials that can leverage an ever-growing body of Open Educational Resources (OER). SpeakApps 2 targets not only HE educators and teacher trainers but also those in VET and Secondary Education, and aims to widen the pool of resources for building language teaching skills via scalable trans-European collaborations and innovation using ICT and mobile technologies.
With the original SpeakApps partners still actively using and diffusing the results of the first project, SpeakApps 2 now takes further steps to diffuse the results in new countries and to synchronize efforts in European language teaching, in particular using OER. To achieve this, SpeakApps 2 has the objectives of:
• Expanding the use of our original SpeakApps results by incorporating 5 new languages (Spanish, French, German, Croatian and Romani), including new institutions in other education sectors in each partner country.
• Developing a scalable digital framework able to bring in more languages, while spreading SpeakApps 2’s methodologies and mobile solutions through a series of highly visible workshops in each country, targeting the interests of open source communities and other projects for the sharing of resources and future innovations.

Author(s):

Christine Appel    
School of Languages
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Spain

Christine Appel is the director of the eLearn Center at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) in Barcelona. She has coordinated EFL and teacher training courses in her role as senior lecturer at the School of Languages at the UOC, and is a member of the Doctoral Programme Committee at the eLearn Research Centre. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Dublin, Trinity College. Her current research interests include Computer-mediated Communication, Distance education and Task-based Learning.

Mairead Nic Giolla Mhichíl    
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Dublin City University
Netherlands

Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl is the Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dublin City University. She is also a Lecturer in information technology in the Irish-medium School of Fiontar (meaning innovation) and holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in finance, computing, enterprise and e-commerce. She is a former board member of the North-South Language Body and the ICT sub-committee of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in Ireland.

Sake Jager    
Faculty of Arts
University of Groningen
Netherlands

Sake Jager is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics and eLearning project manager at the Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen (Netherlands). He holds MAs in English and Humanities Computing and a PhD in Applied Linguistics. His research focuses on the pedagogical and organizational aspects of implementing ICT for language learning and teaching. This was also main central topic of his doctoral dissertation (2009). His current projects are in online language teaching, telecollaboration and assessment.

Adriana Prizel-Kania    
University of Jagellonian
Poland

Adriana Prizel-Kania is a lecturer of Polish at the Centre of Polish Language and Culture in the World of Jagiellonian University; she holds a PhD in Linguistics from the Jagiellonian University (2011). Her teaching practice and research interests have focused on teaching and assessing language skills and using new technologies in teaching Polish as a foreign language. She is a member of the Team of Authors of Activities and Examiners of the State Commission for Certifying Polish as Foreign Language and author of articles devoted to didactics of Polish and foreign language teaching and learning.

 

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