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Learning together

Learning together
Preparing for a Spanish listening challenge.

Getting together to share great teaching ideas and learn from each other is one of the most useful activities professional teachers can do in order to enhance practice. When we get together we also put ourselves in the position of learners and experience the teaching techniques of others. Here are some of the ideas shared at our recent summer session. 

Monica (pictured above) started our session with a great icebreaker which had us competing to spot lyrics from La Bamba and Despacito and contribute them in the right order using the lines we had on slips of paper or post-it notes. This presented a fun and interactive way to improve reading and listening skills. She says:
"This takes just a few minutes and gets everyone involved and having fun". 

Elisabeth and Chiyomi shared their experiences of Quizlet and got us involved in a Quizlet Live! competition so that we could experience it for ourselves. Quizlet is an online tool which allows teachers (and students) to create seven different types of quizzes in just a few clicks. Vocabulary can be uploaded from an excel spreadsheet. Students can co-create their own list on google docs which can be used to populate Quizlet. The link to created activities can be shared online. 
Chiyomi presented the use of quizlet live, a synchronous, interactive team game which can be used in classroom.  

Quizlet is particularly useful because it:
provides course-specific language
increases student engagement and collaboration
can be used everywhere, on the bus, in the train, outside etc.

Teresa shared information and resources about the Warwick International Higher Education Academy #knowhow project. The project aims to provide staff and students with support in managing their professional online identity. There is an open G+ group where you can ask questions and interact with experts in open educational practice. Here's one of the video tutorials on managing images online:

Image: CC BY

Language learning takes time and regular commitment. In order to support your learning, your tutors provide online resources for your course through the Languages@Warwick platform. Here's a quick guide to accessing your resources.

  You can explore Languages@Warwick on your tablet or mobile phone. Alerts will make sure that you know when deadlines are approaching and the messaging system will keep you in touch with your tutor. Created to support the particular demands of language learning, the platform includes both video (Kaltura) and voice (Voicethread) facilities so that your tutors can provide innovative activities to support you. Built on Moodle and hosted by Moodlerooms sector technical experts have recognised our commitment to the best service we can provide .  

In some courses, open badges recognise the progress you make. These provide digital recognition of the micro-skills you have acquired and can be exported to your own badge backpack allowing you to manage and display them as you wish on your online profile or website. 

So dive in! See what Languages@Warwick can bring to your language learning experience. We work collaboratively with our students to ensure that you get the best experience and you can access support here

This photo was taken in Wagamama, Leamington Spa in January 2015. The students are from Warwick and Clermont Ferrand, France. They met through the Clavier virtual exchange, an opportunity that was available because of a connection, now in it's 6th year, between teachers researching in the use of computer-mediated communication for language learning. 

The Clavier project is described here and has provided tools and connections which can help learners extend their networks, try out their language skills and meet new people. We use social media, telecollaboration and instant messenger systems to meet up. The network of connections that have emerged have resulted in many new opportunities, including travel and visits for staff and students. 

This sort of learning opportunity is growing in our courses, and other languages are also getting involved. In German virtual exchange has taken place using Google + to provide advanced language learning practice. In both cases the tasks provided facilitate activity which helps you develop global graduate skills

We believe that such virtual connections can offer real opportunities to:

  • enhance practical language and intercultural experiences
  • acquire useful skills for future employment contexts
  • increase your confidence and autonomy in language acquisition
We now have several staff members in the new Unicollaboration network, building capacity for international virtual exchange in Spanish and Chinese too. You can find out more by following @unicollaboration on Twitter. 

It's a crowded world out there, and the key to securing the job you would like may well be down to ensuring that you stand out from the rest. At Warwick there are many opportunities to do just that. Your language course can provide the means to achieve your goal. 

For the previous 5 years we have been working with students who prepare an e-portfolio as part of their assessed work in French, Spanish, German and Chinese. Using the open-source software Mahara to provide an electronic space to reflect and present their language learning journey. All students in Languages@Warwick can use the Mahara tool to easily create a professional web presence, we provide tutorials to support your use. 

This e-portfolio assessment project is assessed by a staff team and student feedback is very positive. The insights gained by tutors into what works (and doesn't work!) in your language learning helps inform our course development. The set of web pages produced can be shared as a link to a prospective employer, helping to demonstrate your digital skills too. 

You can get a flavour of what has been done in the past in this clip:

eportfolio showcase hd from Teresa MacKinnon on Vimeo.