The XML project: developing digital literacy in modern languages
This project is funded by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) looking at ways to develop digital literacy within different discipline areas. The project will see students creating Xerte learning objects as assessed materials for their course in Spanish language and content. It will also offer bursaries to all students in Modern Languages, to create materials in preparation for their Year Abroad. Students will learn about the tool, Xerte, and about copyright and metadata implications for the creation of OERs. They will then act as ambassadors and tutors to other staff and students wishing to engage with open practice and Xerte throughout the University of Southampton, via the existing successful Digital Champions (http://www.diglit.soton.ac.uk/champions/) scheme, which sees students acting as roving mentors/tutors for the use of technology in the institution.
September, 2013 - April, 2014
The Higher Education Academy as part of the strand ‘Digital Literacy in the Disciplines’
Project aims and outcomes:
This proposal aims to develop student digital literacy in Modern Languages. It proposes to build on existing knowledge and experience in engaging students in the creation of open educational resources, to create a suite of Xerte learning objects for supporting the learning of Spanish language and content. It will also offer student bursaries to all students in Modern Languages, to create materials in preparation for their Year Abroad. Students will learn about the tool, Xerte, and about copyright and metadata implications for the creation of OERs. They will then act as ambassadors and tutors to other staff and students wishing to engage with open practice and Xerte throughout the University of Southampton, via the existing successful Digital Champions (http://www.diglit.soton.ac.uk/champions/) scheme, which sees students acting as roving mentors/tutors for the use of technology in the institution.
What we propose to do:
We will be working with first-year students studying on the Accelerated Spanish language course. This is an ‘ab initio’ course, which means that students will be learning Spanish for the first time. Teaching is intensive and the course is demanding but the students who take this course aim to continue to honours level. In their second semester, students usually work on the production of an assessed oral presentation which combines the presentation, in Spanish, of an historical topic, with a grammatical analysis. The production of a detailed powerpoint and accompanying written report are integral to this assessment. Up to this point, student productions have been reasonably low-tech and interactive only at the point of the face-to-face presentation: the use of Xerte will transform and expand an existing task by enabling students to be more creative and to include more interactivity. The existing task lends itself very well for use with Xerte and so represents a clear opportunity to pilot how Xerte fits with module and curriculum aims.
Alongside this pilot to embed Xerte in an established curriculum, we would also offer training to any ML student and offer bursaries for them to create learning objects related to their studies and in particular, to their Year Abroad. All those who continue with languages to honours level will spend time studying abroad, with the majority taking part in the British Council’s language assistant scheme (http://www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistants-ela.htm) after their second year. This is a long-standing and widely-used programme which sends languages students as English language assistants to a range of countries around the world. Reflection and training on the use of Xerte for teaching will give students important skills which they can make direct use of in the future when teaching on their placements.
- Enhanced student and staff digital literacy in the areas of creating online, digital resources and in creating interactive resources which could be used for teaching Spanish language or other languages;
- Enhanced student and staff knowledge in creating open educational resources and in the issues associated with OERs, such as copyright, appropriate metadata, and appropriate attribution
- Enhanced knowledge of how to use Xerte and how the tool could fit into teaching and the use of other tools
- Establishment of a new set of digital champions, with expertise in using Xerte, who can advise and train staff and students across the department and the university
- A practical model for involving students in the creation of interactive materials as assessed work
- Promotion of innovative teaching in languages beyond the home institution through student-produced content and reflections via social media and project web presence
The Higher Education Academy: www.heacademy.ac.uk
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