The SpeakApps project focuses on creating a free and open source online platform that gathers ICT-based applications and pedagogies to practice oral skills online.
The SpeakApps platform would thus serve a community composed of foreign language teachers and their students with:
- Easy access to innovative and interactive online tools for learning and teaching languages.
- Virtual classrooms to carry out pedagogical activities.
- Exercises and tools for managing materials for synchronous tasks.
- Technical and pedagogical guides to assist SpeakApps users.
- A common space to exchange ideas and methodologies.
SpeakApps, granted by the European Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), aims to fill these gaps by designing a popular language learning site supported and built by a large community that enjoys and takes advantage of the possibilities offered by e-learning.
This year Open Education Week takes places on March 11-15 and features a series of events, workshops, project showcases, and webinars from around the world. If you care about sharing knowledge, reducing barriers to educational access, and helping to grow the amount of free and open educational resources (OER) available on the web — join Creative Commons and many other organizations and institutions by answering the Call for Participation.
Simply submit your proposed activity by January 18. Activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Provide a Project Showcase highlighting some aspect of open education in your project, organization, region or country
- Offer a webinar or virtual Question and Answer session on a topic of interest
- Create or share basic resources about the open education movement
- Host a local event during Open Education Week
- Form a Working Group to address a common problem or opportunity
- Propose another activity—we invite you to be creative!
- Contribute your skills to creating, organizing, coordinating or spreading the word about Open Education Week
As part of Open Education Week, Creative Commons and its affiliates are hosting and participating in local events and webinars on OER, Version 4.0 of the CC licenses, the Open Policy Network, School of Open, and more. In addition, the School of Open will officially launch its first set of courses that week, including courses on copyright and Creative Commons for educators. Courses will be free to take and free to reuse and remix under P2PU’s default CC BY-SA licensing policy.
To participate in Open Education Week, visit http://www.openeducationweek.org.
The Open University launches a UK-based platform for massive open online courses (Moocs) that will rival established providers in the US.
Students from the UK and around the world will have free access to some of the country’s top universities thanks to Futurelearn Ltd, an entirely new company being launched by The Open University (OU). The universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews and Warwick have all signed up to join Futurelearn.
Futurelearn will be independent but majority-owned by the OU. It will:
Bring together a range of free, open, online courses from leading UK universities, that will be clear, simple to use and accessible;
Draw on the OU’s expertise in delivering distance learning and pioneering open education resources to underpin a unified, coherent offer from all of its partners;
Increase accessibility to higher education (HE) for students across the UK and in the rest of the world.
The Ministerial Conference "Opening up education through technologies: Towards a more systemic use for a smart, social and sustainable growth in Europe" to be held in Oslo, Norway on 9-11 December 2012.
The goal is to dedicate particular attention on how education and training systems can fully reap the benefits of modern technologies so as to create innovative ways of accessing learning content, building creative learning environments and fostering virtual learning communities.
Elearning Europa will be live-tweeting from the event.
Sufficient return on public investments in education and our ability to innovate are today more important than ever for future growth, competitiveness and strong social cohesion. The conference will constitute a unique opportunity to capture the key issues that matter for a systemic approach to educational innovations which facilitate quality 21st century education for all.
Input from the recently closed EC Consultation on the topic of "Opening up Education - a proposal for a European Initiative to enhance education and skills development through new technologies" will be presented at the Conference.
As part of the Cyprus EU Presidency Program during the second half of 2012, the Conference will bring together Ministers of Education from the Member States of the European Union, candidate countries, as well as the EFTA States. The debates will be stimulated by key notes from highly profiled international experts from both academia and the private sector and will aim at identifying good practices at national level.
The Office of Learning Technologies publishes its 2001 Projects Report
Since 1994, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) has led the way to online learning, making it possible to take education to a higher level, and further available to society. The Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) at the UOC designs and develops a number of immersive, open, accessible and engaging learning experiences for its more than 55.000 fully online students and teaching staff.
The UOC-OLT has just published its 2011 Projects Report, outlining a sample of its latest projects, building on information and experiences that facilitate and improve the experience of an extremely diverse group of students and faculty. For instance, some cases aim at the integration of social networks and cloud services within the Campus, while progress is also made in the area of inclusion of people with a wide range of disabilities, making UOC a more inclusive University.
Many projects have been made in collaboration with other partners such as universities (University of California at Berkeley, Dublin City University, University of Yaoundé I), companies (Orange) and networks (IMS Global Learning Consortium, New Media Consortium).
Summary of projects' list:
· Learning and Teaching Tools: class virtual DicWiki (generator of a dictionary for any field of knowledge), eAssessment, Google Apps (incorporating Google tools for virtual classes), PACPlagi (online tool to detect plagiarized studies of Internet), SimAula (simulation of a virtual classroom tool in teaching students who want to practice), SpeakApps (online platform for practicing speaking skills).
· Community Tools: Geolocation for Learning (Learning Geolocation 4, gives information on the location of other students of the UOC-phase pilot, iLike (application where students can give opinion about the operation of a subject), Questions and Answers (knowledge provided by students on the functioning of the UOC by means of a system of questions and answers), Technipedia (platform to promote entrepreneurship for youth in Africa)
· Mobile Tools: augmented reality (increases the vision of a landscape, a building, etc..; designed as a tourist application), content adaptation for iPad, Mobile Campus, MyUOC Mobile.
· Management Tools: Learning Apps (space where teachers and students can build their place of learning), tools to support the reading and writing applications for the UOC (checker, translator, etc...), project SOC (virtual training Employment Service of Catalonia).
· User-centered design and support projects: Cube-U (object connected to the Internet to communicate by changing color or visual icons, information on the campus, for example, when mail is received, how many students are connected, etc.), Laboratory Mobile Accessibility (to evaluate accessibility and usability of websites and mobile applications), Blogs Support (online spaces where teachers and students can answer questions about possible problems with class tools), and tools to support people with visual impairments.
About the Office of Learning Technologies:
The Office of Learning Technologies is headed by Llorenç Valverde (vice-rector for Technology, UOC) and Magi Almirall (OLT Director). The Office plays a main role in the application and creation of online learning design and development methodologies with the sole objective to help evolve online education, and ensure all learners have an engaging and effective experience.
Would like to receive a copy of the 2011 OLT Projects Report? Then, please, send your request at email@example.com.
Led by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), the Open Apps project is a virtual repository of all the successful knowledge developed by the University during its nearly 20 years of expertise in distance higher education. Through its website, visitors can find more than 20 "open apps": innovative applications and pedagogical experiences that have been developed and tested within the UOC for providing solutions to pedagogical and management needs. In addition, Open Apps also aims to offer those apps and experiences that can be transferred, used and evolved by other institutions.
An app to learn Japanese writing online, a tool to efficiently manage several networks and IP addresses, and innovative methodologies to enhance mathematics comprehension are a few examples already available at Open Apps. This platform will incorporate more contents as the project grows and evolves.
Depending on the "open app", the site will offer the source code and/or extensive documentation regarding user experiences, technical support, articles, etc. Moreover, the platform also offers the possibility of contacting the developers and creators that brought those "open apps" to life.
In fact, Open Apps also wants to attract potential collaborators to build a network that works onto taking e-distance education to a higher level. Indeed, this project is inspired as an open innovation model and works like other 'open' services, like Open Data and Open Access. For this reason, Open Apps is also looking for collaboration focussed on evolving the apps with new functionalities, and sharing new educational uses and experiences.
How does Open Apps work? Check the website, choose the "open app" that suits your needs, click on the 'I'm interested' button, and discover what the collaboration possibilities are...If available, download the source code, change it, improve it, adapt it to your needs, and then just let UOC know; we will add your enhanced version to the Open Apps repository. Cooperation and networking are deep in the core of the Open Apps philosophy.
This article written by Rory McGreal and Nian-Shing Chen was published on Educational Technology & Society, volume 14, issue 3.
This study compares Open Access University Press (AUPress) with three other non-open access Canadian university presses. The results show that there is no significant difference in the ranking of printed books sold by AUPress in comparison with traditional university presses. However, AUPress demonstrates a significantly larger readership for its books as evidenced by the number of downloads of the openelectronic versions.
Inge Ignatia de Waard is currently mlearning and MOOC expert at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium and educational researcher at Athabasca University, Canada. She will give a presentation on 'MOOC integrating mixed media in informal training' during the next Media and Learning conference in Brussels.
What is a MOOC?
A MOOC is a massive open online course, which means it’s a course format that has a lot of social media in it. It is based on a lot of dialogue, on discussions, on connecting to each other. There is currently a heavy debate about what is really a MOOC because the first MOOCs were connectivist MOOCs from George Siemens and Stephen Downes, focusing on peer-to-peer interactions at their centre. In one of their courses – the CCK2008, the name actually arouse. Now, platforms like Udacity and Coursera are hosting courses but this type of MOOCs are much more behaviourist, or more teacher oriented. So there’s a debate between these two types of MOOCs and their approaches.
How does a MOOC concretely work?
The MOOC format isn’t cut in stone at the moment but I focus on the connectivist MOOC, which is the “authentic” MOOC if you look at it from an educational point of view. As a student, you enter in a MOOC, and depending on who is setting up the MOOC you either have content prepared for you to watch (multimedia, audio, text), or a request to produce content. The major thing in the MOOC is actually the dialogue and the personal content creation. As a student, you can look at things but you can also decide: “Look, I have expertise on my own, I have specific needs”, so you start creating your own content and providing it to the other participants in order for them to enter in a dialogue with you. This makes it ideal for expert or adult training, building on existing expertise.
So this creates a new relationship between teachers and students?
Yes, in fact, in a MOOC you can eliminate the teacher factor. So you do have some experts, but they are more guides on the side. They don’t say: “come to me, I know what I’m talking about”. They rather say: “come to me, you can look at these papers or articles or videos and if you want to discuss about something, I might be able to put you in some direction that might be useful for you, but I’m sure that other peers will be able to add something”. So it’s much more learner-centred.
What are the advantages of MOOCs compared to traditional university courses?
In my view, it’s more an addition to traditional education and training. I see it as a model that can be used in the corporate world as well as the non profit and academic sphere. The main difference is that it is learner-driven but also that it can be used for expert learning or life-long learning for example. At a certain point, you have reached a certain level of expertise and the best way for your learning to develop is by connecting to people that know pieces of the subject matter that you are looking for as well. It’s a gathering of resources from which the participant can pick what is needed for their own context.
What is the interest of MOOCs for universities?
One of the advantages is the marketing, because all of sudden, you can say: “Come to us, we provide you free courses, on easy-to-follow subjects most of the time, you can test our courses and our teaching expertise”. It’s also a new situation as learners from all around the globe are now potential students: the global learner so you must profile yourself.
Will the MOOCs replace the traditional university courses?
I don’t think so because universities really have strategies to attract more learners and by doing that, they are also expanding their teacher resources. But the traditional model from the industrial age, based on the expert teacher who gives all the knowledge in the first four years of the career, is not sufficient. The technology evolves so quickly, that by the time you pass your master exam, the technology will have evolved beyond the course. In those cases, the MOOC offers a solution because you can organize it immediately and with people that are experts in the latest technology.
Do MOOCs have the potential to help democratize the education?
A connectivist MOOCs is absolutely contributing to the democracy among learners because, even if you’re 16 years old and you have a specific interest but you don’t have the money to travel, you can set up a MOOC. You can ask people who are experts in the field you’re interested in to join and share their knowledge with the group. Because it’s free, people can join in. You don’t need any degree, you just need an internet connection and critical thinking.
How can MOOCs apply to the corporate world?
You can create an expert-learner environment. If you have top management or top level of engineers, it’s difficult for them to stay on top of their fields because it’s constantly changing. So you need to create in some way a learning environment which fits your needs and adds authentic learning, some kind of tailored learning. That’s where the MOOC model enters as a great contender. But make sure to ask MOOC experts to set up your first course, it can be very challenging organizing it for the first time.