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SpeakApps Newsletter Issue 2 Volume 1      
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Welcome to the second issue of SpeakApps Ezine. We hope you enjoy reading it. 

SpeakApps Demonstration in Amsterdam, 10 October 2014


SpeakApps will participate and demonstrate the tools at the annual study day of the SIG on ICT and Blended Learning of the Association of Teachers of Dutch as a Second Language in Belgium and the Netherlands (Beroepsvereniging van docenten Nederlands als tweede taal; www.bvnt2.org). The annual study day will take place on Friday 10th October 2014 in Amsterdam at Boom Publishers. Participants can register through the website of the BVNt2.
SpeakApps Training Events in Ireland in October 2014
 
The Irish SpeakApps Team will deliver a number of training events and workshops in October to facilitate the interest in the SpeakApps Tools and Open Educational Resources. Two events will take place in Dublin City University on the 08th and 22nd of October. The session on the 08th of October will be directed at teachers and prospective teachers of Irish in secondary Schools. The session on the 22nd of October will be delivered to prospective secondary school teachers of foreign languages. A further workshop will be held in St. Patrick’s College, which is a recognised College of Education. This session is aimed at primary and secondary teachers. An online training session will be held the week of the 27th of October to augment this training. Contact Colm Ó Ciardubháin for more information at colm.ociardubhain@dcu.ie

Tandem Tool being used to help train Doctors

 
This semester the University of Groningen Language Centre started a course for foreign medical students to improve their language skills and expand their vocabulary use, by using the SpeakApps Tandem tool for practicing doctor-patient interviews. The students who come from Saudi-Arabia, have spent the last six years in Groningen. There they improved their Dutch to upper-intermediate and/or advanced  level. These students also participated in the BA programme, which is partly taught in English and Dutch. The students are now entering the MA-phase, in which doctor-patient interviews play a great role when completing internships with Dutch patients.
  
In the course, students will improve their accuracy, expand their vocabulary use and register, and practice their language skills in a variety of situations. These scenarios are practiced in class, where students as well as the lecturer provide the relevant input (based on a different set of texts and audiovisual material) and online, where Tandem is equipped with a sequence of tasks related to vocabulary expansion and doctor-patient interviews. The main objectives of this course are to support students as they progress to the MA programme and to train them to become doctors who listen, understand and treat their patients in the best way.
 
           
 

 The English-Spanish
Tandem Mooc

 
 
The SpeakApps Tandem and Videochat tools are being used to facilitate spoken interaction in a Tandem MOOC offered to English-speaking students of Spanish and Spanish-speaking students of English. The MOOC is being made available to students seeking to improve their speaking fluency doing tandem tasks with native speakers of their target language. The free course will provide lessons on communication strategies. It will also advise students on how they can make the most of their tandem practice. Feedback will also be provided by tutors to those students who participate most in the MOOC. Finally,  students will benefit from the interaction they will have with their Tandem partners.

Parts of the course are designed specifically to help students preparing for the oral elements of official exams such as the FCE and DELE. In order to participate students must be 18 or older, be prepared to devote three to four hours per week to the MOOC and hold a minimum of an intermediate (CEFR B1+) level in their target language. The course begins on 27 October 2014 and will run for six weeks. Students can register at http://mooc.speakapps.org/register/. The Tandem MOOC is a joint effort of the Open University of Catalonia, the University of Barcelona and the Rovira and Virgili University. Please spread the word!

SpeakApps Conference on
Innovation in Foreign Language Teaching

 

The conference "INNOVATION IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING" was held in Jagiellonian University, Kraków on 19-20th of September 2014. The two-day event was organised by the Polish SpeakApps team, led by Dr. Adriana Prizel-Kania. The event was opened by Professor Władysław Miodunka of the World Centre for Polish language and Culture. The conference comprised of workshops and presentations focusing on innovation in teaching methodologies and considering how technological solutions can be applied to facilitate foreign language teaching and learning. Participation in the conference provided a forum for language teachers and lecturers to exchanges experience and insights of teaching Polish as a foreign language with other language experts.

The conference provided insights into practice and research, by considering new teaching tools and applications as well as international projects

in the area of glottodidactics and analytics. Themes developed in the conference programme included:

  • International projects relating to foreign language teaching and opportunities for their application in daily teaching practices.
  • ICT and Social media in Language Education
  • Innovation in foreign language teaching methodology
Postgraduate research students also presented and informed the conference of their perspectives. A SpeakApps workshop was delivered to teachers of Polish and other languages where the SpeakApps Tools and Open Educational Resource were demonstrated. During the workshop participants learned more about the tools and created their own educational materials to store and share in the SpeakApps OER.

Twenty participants completed the workshop. Participants will now be able to make use of the tools and the OER in their own teaching contexts. Participants came from Poland (Jagiellonian Language Centre, Cracow University of Economics, representatives of Modern Language Department of Jagiellonan University and University and Warsaw), Croatia (University of Zagreb and University in Rijeka) and Ireland (Trinity Collage Dublin) as well as other countries and institutions. Over eighty participants took part in the two day event. Dr. Adriana Prizel-Kania provided further insight into the SpeakApps project when she presented a paper at a plenary session.

Final Project Meeting at the University of Groningen


In August 2014 the final project meeting was held at the University of Groningen during the annual Eurocall conference. In the final meeting all partners presented their preliminary deliverables for the project, as well as the exploitation model for the SpeakApps project after the project ends in November 2014. On the second day, the University of Groningen invited associate partners from Germany and Finland to take part in the SpeakApps meeting.  Hendrik Neukäter and Peppi Taalas engaged with the SpeakApps team. Neukäter is a senior lecturer at the Ruhr-University Bochum Language Centre and a specialist in media didactics at the RWTH Aachen Language Centre and Taalas is the Development Manager and Vice-Director of the Language Centre at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.  

€5000 grant to implement the SpeakApps tools at RUB

The Language Centre (ZFA, Zentrum für Fremdsprachenausbildung) of the Ruhr-University of Bochum (RUB) received a grant of €5000 to integrate the SpeakApps tools in the university’s LMS and to conceptualise and incorporate the SpeakApps tools into existing language courses.

The Language Centre of the RUB is an associate partner of the SpeakApps project. Each semester, the Department of eLearning in the RUB organises the e-learning competition, ‘5x5000’. A panel of students evaluate the submissions. Every staff member or student can participate, but only five projects are selected. The slogan for the competition ‘Come in, we ‘re open. Open learning at the RUB’. More information can be found here.

SpeakApps Training for French Teachers


 

Following the SpeakApps Teacher Training Course in Spanish held in the Spring of this year, SpeakApps offered a face-to-face training session to a group of approximately twelve French language teachers in Barcelona. In addition to learning about new features of the SpeakApps tools, participants shared their experiences in using them in their teaching and then discussed best practices in the design of Langblog tasks as well as design of Tandem tasks in the SpeakApps OER.  If you are interested in hosting a SpeakApps training event at your institution, we would be very happy to come. Please contact us at speakapps@uoc.edu for more information.

 
 If you have any queries in relation to the SpeakApps project please do not hesitate to contact us. Our email address is speakapps@uoc.edu
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