In two thrilling working days, the delegates of IIPC, Kedainiai Language School, BragaMob and, of course, Linguistic Aid Kit, discussed the progress of the project and the methodologies which each of the four have implemented in their classrooms. In doing so, each organisation presented a series of videos.
The Latvian partners introduced a brilliant method for testing students’ capabilities while creating a fun and competitive environment. The online platform Kahoot! allows teachers to create quizzes that match the curriculum in a way their individual students find relatable. Students log onto the system using their own smartphone! By doing so, not only are teachers making the best use of ICT, but they are also greatly diminishing the cost to schools. Subsequently, the questions appear on a large main screen and all students must use their device to select one of four answers. While designed as a standard multiple-choice test, this platform calculates results based on accuracy and timing and, after each question, published an updated score on the board. Students find the competitive nature of the game enthralling and engage with it whole-heartedly.
The Lithuanian partner chose a method which takes children away from ICT and towards a Total Physical Response (TPR) methodology. This is also recognisably a central part of the project – creating an environment in which students are not compelled to seek refuge in their smart devices. Since the target group of Kedainiai Language School are younger children, this we found to be especially apt. Children were asked to touch a part of their body which the teacher named in English. Again, competitive dimension was added to this game and children found it exhilarating.
In keeping with the competitive spirit, Linguistic Aid Kit presented a method which has not hitherto been used in classrooms, but popular nevertheless. By playing the board game Catchphrase, advanced students are prompted to learn idiomatic expressions, as well as new vocabulary. The game consists of various drawings which depict an idiomatic expression. Some of them, however, depict the meaning of the words quite literally which sometimes elicits laughter, as well as high levels of concentration. Neuropsychologists have argued that this combination is the most conducive to the learning process. Furthermore, the producers of the game have recently published a mobile app which adapts the board game to a single-player version. Partners were invited to play it on a few devices brought by our team.
BragaMob, on their part, had organised two major workshops with Lia Oliveira PhD and Adelina Moura at a local school with an audience of over 100 middle school students. Dr Oliveira, a long-standing advocate for the use of technology in education, spoke of best practices of its implementation. The hour-long workshop revolved around how to use ICT responsibly in the classroom and what the major benefits of it might be. She gave examples from her own practice at A Universidade do Minho. Ms Moura, on the other hand, took it upon herself to demonstrate Kahoot! in action. She engaged all 100+ students in a game of Geography and then, to relate it to our project, a game of Portuguese grammar. Students’ enthusiasm defied description.
In addition to this, performances followed from students, including a flute rendition of the Ode of Joy.
LLSG has been advancing with big leaps and our ideas have been implemented in all four countries. Students find the experience beneficial and their results in the impacted institutions have increased measurably. We are excited to be entering the last stage of our project and look forward to publishing the full toolkit in August.
Thank you to our three partner organisations and their dedicated staff. We are also extremely proud of our team!
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Linguistic Aid Kit