EUROCALL 2014

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SpeakApps Workshop: Practicing Oral Skills Online

The SpeakApps platform (http://www.speakapps.eu), funded under the European Lifelong Learning Programme, provides innovative open educational resources for practicing oral skills online. The SpeakApps platform was inspired by a common set of challenges that the language learning community faces on an everyday basis, including:
. Formal second or foreign language acquisition settings do not provide enough room for everyone to practise the language.
. The ephemeral nature of speaking which makes it difficult for students to obtain feedback on their performance, preventing them from properly revising and improving their oral skills.

The Videochat, Tandem and Langblog tools facilitate the design of online oral production and interaction tasks, which are made available to the language learning and teaching community through the Open Educational Resources (OER) database. The SpeakApps Moodle platform offers a ready-to-use learning environment, so that teachers can start using the tools immediately.

The SpeakApps tasks and tools are available in English, Catalan, Irish, Polish, Swedish, Dutch. In 2014 Croatian, German, Romani, French and Spanish will be included. The tools may however be used with any language.

During this half-day workshop, participants will first relate the problem of offering speaking skills in the classroom or online to their own situation. This will include linking the teaching of oral practice to reference-based frameworks, such as the CEFR. Next, the SpeakApps tools will be demonstrated on the basis of tasks selected from the OER-database. After discussing the potential application of such tasks and tools in their own context, participants will then be given hands-on practice in using the SpeakApps tools and designing pedagogically meaningful tasks for their students.

To get the most out of this workshop, participants are advised to bring their own devices to the workshop (laptops, tablet pc’s).

Author(s):

Jeroen van Engen    
Language Centre
University of Groningen
Netherlands

Colm Ó Ciardubháin    
Dublin City University
Ireland

Adriana Prizel-Kania    
Jagiellonian University
Poland

Sake Jager    
Faculty of Arts, ICT in Education
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 central topic of his doctoral dissertation (2009). His current projects are in online language teaching, telecollaboration and assessment.

Jackie Robbins    
Escola de Llengües
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Spain

Jackie Robbins works for the School of Languages in the Open University of Catalunya where she coordinates EFL courses. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics from the Open University, and her current research interests include Distance education, Task Design, Computer-assisted Language learning and Teacher training.

Mairead Nic Giollamhichil    
Dubline City University
Ireland

 

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