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The European project SpeakApps was launched during the month of February. The objective of this initiative, funded by the European Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), is to provide user access to a ...

The European project SpeakApps was launched during the month of February. The objective of this initiative, funded by the European Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), is to provide user access to a range of online tools whose aim is to facilitate oral practice of a language through an online platform.

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  • 1. SpeakApps Kickoff January 24-25, 2011 Office of Learning Technologies Office of the Vice President for Technology Universitat Oberta de Catalunya learningtechnologies.uoc.edu
  • 2. 0. Review of previous experiences Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA 3 Best practices / aspects of previous collaborative projects 3 Worst practices / aspects of previous collaborative projects What do you expect to get out of this project?
  • 3. 0. INDEX: Project Overview Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 0 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA SpeakApps Rationale Current limitations for oral practice SpeakApps Aims SpeakApps Objectives SpeakApps Activities Target Users LLP Objectives and Priorities Addressed SpeakApps Process and Outputs
  • 4. SpeakApps: Project Overview
  • 5. 1. SpeakApps Rationale (I) Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA Speaking is one of the hardest skills to put into practice when learning a foreign language. Formal second or foreign language acquisition settings do not provide enough room for everyone in the classroom to practice the language. If the learning is done through an online course, speaking is mostly put aside in favour of writing, reading and listening.
  • 6. 1. SpeakApps Rationale (II) Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA SpeakApps aims to fill this and other gaps by providing ICT-based services and pedagogies to practice oral competencies online: speaking production and interaction in the CEFR. Thus offering a way for all foreign language learners and teachers to practice and evaluate speaking skills at a distance or beyond the physical classroom. The activities and tools provided in SpeakApps can be used both within face-to-face courses and as the main speaking activities for online courses.
  • 7. 2. Current limitations for oral practice Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA 1) Pedagogical limitations: a) existing tools do not tend to be accompanied with the specific pedagogical activities and require teachers to adapt to the them instead of being designed for the teachers' and learners' needs; b) most of the tools lack of an automatic archiving system for further work; and c) language exchange initiatives are hard to maintain in the longer term usually depending on the proactivity of specific individuals. 2) Technical issues: a) existing online tools do not tend to be accessible and usable; b) most tools do not work well for large numbers (both for pedagogical and technical reasons) and are hard to manage and integrate in virtual learning environments. 3) Language availability: most existing tools are commercial initiatives that do not provide all languages, even less those less widely taught.
  • 8. 3. SpeakApps Aims Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA The overall aim is to use ICT tools to provide ways for foreign language learners to practice oral skills and, therefore, contribute to the enhancement of their personal and professional competences. For this purpose the expertise and tools from UOC in the area of online foreign language learning will be transferred and adapted at the European level to meet the needs of partners and students.
  • 9. 4. SpeakApps Objectives Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA The concrete project objectives of SpeakApps are: 1) To set up a platform for the practice and improvement of speaking skills in foreign languages. 2) To develop learning activities and tools to be offered through the platform. 3) To work towards a self-sustainable community where interested parties collaborate in the extension of tools, materials and services.
  • 10. 5. SpeakApps Activities (I) Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA 1) State of the art and requirements analysis (WP2): a) a comparative research on current practices of online foreign language learning and teaching and b) a user-centered design process to gather requirements of language learners. 2) Development of content, tools and platform (WP3). The main ICT services offered will be a multimedia blog for oral production and assessment, a videoconferencing tool for oral interaction with follow-up functionalities for teachers and a tandem tool for oral interaction through the display of visual elements to guide the dialogue.
  • 11. 5. SpeakApps Activities (II) Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA 3) Pilots that cover the various project outputs to improve them iteratively and, therefore, to ensure their quality (WP4). 4) Define sustainability models to assure a self-organised continuation of the project based on a combination of ongoing partner involvement and pay-per-use options (WP5). 5) Build up a community of language learners and teachers around these materials, tools and experiences that will be able to grow thanks to each others' contributions and will at the same time be a platform for exchange and networking (dissemination, WP6).
  • 12. 6. Target Users Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA 1) Short term: Foreign language teachers and learners, both from University and adult training settings. Therefore, including, language schools, adult education establishments and other institutions offering foreign language courses. 2) Long term: Besides foreign language teachers and institutions, developers to guarantee the inclusion of new tools and help maintain the SpeakApps resources up to date.
  • 13. 7. LLP Objectives and Priorities addressed Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA 1) To promote language learning and linguistic diversity. 2) To support the development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices. 3) To promote European co-operation in fields covering two or more sub-programmes. 4) To promote the quality and transparency of Member States' education and training system. 5) To promote language learning and support linguistic diversity in Member States. 6) Languages to enhance European competitiveness. 7) Methodologies to motivate language learners, in particular via ICT. 8) Making provision for learners with special needs, and in particular by helping to promote their integration into mainstream education and training. 9) Promoting equality between men and women and contributing to combating all forms of discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
  • 14. SpeakApps Process and Outputs
  • 15. 8. SpeakApps Keywords Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA User-centered design: Placing the users' needs at the center, Following an iterative approach. Innovative and web 2.0 tools: Maximizing the benefits of ICT tools, but having the learning and teaching needs as drivers. Open source and content: Opening all project outputs to the community, for everyone to use and enhance. Usability and accessibility: Making sure our outputs are easy to use and learn for all. Interoperability: Developing tools that can be connected to different platforms.
  • 16. 10. An iterative development approach Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA Teaching and Learning Needs Learning Activities Learning Materials and Tools Development Pilots Evaluation User-Centered Design Process User-Centered Design (UCD) is an approach to design that grounds the process in information about the people who will use the product. UCD processes focus on users through the planning, design and development of a product taking into account their needs, wants, and limitations.
  • 17. 11. How we do it
  • 18. 12. SpeakApps Outputs Office of Learning Technologies · learningtechnologies.uoc.edu 1 UNIVERSITAT OBERTA DE CATALUNYA 1) The learning activities and materials for the LANGblog 2) The LANGblog tool 3) The learning activities and materials for the TANDEM tool 4) The TANDEM tool 5) The videoconferencing tool 6) The platform 7) Guides for inclusion of new languages Pilot 1 Pilot 2 Pilot 3 Calendar Activity
  • 19. learningtechnologies.uoc.edu