10th LLAS e-Learning Symposium: looking back and looking forward on technology enhanced learning for languages by Pilar Gray-Carlos

LLAS (Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies) recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the annual e-Learning Symposium at Southampton. During the past 10 years the e-Learning Symposium has provided an area where academics and educators in the field of linguistics and languages have had a common place to share innovation, creativity and results of the use of new technologies applied to teaching and learning languages.

This 10th anniversary has provided an opportunity to briefly pause to look back and reflect on how we have tackled the challenges and opportunities in the past years. A reflection particularly highlighted by Marion Sadoux, (Director of the Language Centre, University of Nottingham, Ningbo) in her key note: “10 years on, challenging 10 venerable Assumptions about Languages and e-Learning” where she provides her experience on challenges, ideas and beliefs, that technology enhanced learning has brought to the language community. As key notes go, it is also worth mentioning both the opening key note on a very much in vogue area, MOOCs, given by Sara Person and Chris Cavey (British Council); and the closing key note: an account of a personal journey through digital and networked technologies, shared by Benoit Guilbaoud (University of Manchester).

Contributors to this 10th edition presented a wide range of projects. There were projects based on collaboration (Collaborative productions of learning objects on French literary works using LOC software, Christian Penman, Edinburgh Napier University; Identity and participation in telecollaboration, Francesca Helm, University of Padova Italy); projects for student mobility, (ICTell Project: virtual exchanges to prepare for student mobility, Marta Giralt and Catherine Jeanneau, University of Limerick); and projects that explore the use of mobile apps such as WhatsApp to prepare for year abroad (Isabel Cobo-Palacios, Billy Brick and Tiziana Cervi-Wilson, Coventry University) or twitter both for language boosting (Alessia Plutino, University of Southampton) and as a community of practice tool for language learners (Fernando Rosell-Aguilar, Open University). Together with a variety of papers on the use of wikis and blogs, reflection on MOOCS, blended learning, etc.

The symposium also offered the opportunity to participate in workshops such as the use of digital video and online discussions; blended learning techniques to maximise lexical retention; tips for telecollaboration with VLEs and using free  digital tools (SpeakApps) for encouraging speaking and learning.

The world has become a bigger place, access to information is faster and varied, and the demand to respond to new tools for and manners of delivery is here to stay, so will the LLAS e-Learning Symposium be. It will continue to help us to stay connected, to explore, and to share our ideas with our colleagues not only in the UK but across the world.

Watch the recording of plenary sessions at https://www.llas.ac.uk/livestream or for more detailed information on some of the case studies visit http://research-publishing.net/publications/10-years-of-the-llas-elearning-symposium-case-studies-in-good-practice/

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