Learning Support & Administration Projects

Routes into Languages (Digital Storytelling)

Routes into Languages is a consortium of universities working together with schools and colleges, to enthuse and encourage people to study languages.

As part of this outreach project the Learning Support and Administration team offer workshops on Digital Storytelling. Many secondary schools in London have expressed interest in this original activity which promotes an alternative means of language learning.

Digital Storytelling allows students to practise both their written and spoken language through a personal (or group) project. The nature of the activity allows for a great deal of flexibility and can be adapted to suit different age groups and subjects.

These workshops aim to train teachers in the use of relevant software and provide a framework for them to use the activity in their own classes. A workshop can also be tailored and delivered directly to pupils.

For further information please contact the Learning Support and Administration team.

French/English Virtual Learning Group 2010-11

The French/English Virtual Learning Group consisted of 5 hourly sessions of conversational exchange. The sessions took place on the virtual world Second Life, between a group of English students learning French and a group of French students learning English.

Before each session students w ere asked to prepare two newspaper articles, one in French and one in English, relevant to that week 's theme . During the sessions students were paired up or put in groups of 3 to discuss the newspaper articles.

The first 30 minutes of the session w ere in one language and the second 30 minutes w ere in the other. Virtual n otecards with questions and suggestions in each language were given to the students in order to aid the discussion.

Most of the participating students had no previous knowledge of Second Life so they were all p rovided with a one hour training session on using the platform as well as receiving support during the online sessions.

French/English Skype Group 2011-12

This group used Skype (the software application which allows spoken and written communiction over the internet) to discuss topical issues in both French and English during weekly meetings. The group followed on from last year's Virtual Learning Group on Second Life; we decided to continue the successful format but on a different platform, with the intention of comparing the platforms for ease of use and the language learning outcomes achieved.

This year the group was open to all French students in Degree and Certificate courses from level 4 and above. Students attended an introductory meeting to learn how the sessions would work and to receive training on the more advanced functions of Skype. Five sessions were held where students logged on to Skype to discuss the theme for that week with a group of French students from L'Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand. Each session lasted an hour, 30 minutes of each language.

The aim of the sessions was to focus on developing confidence and fluency in speaking, as well as reading skills and communicating ideas using online content such as video, podcasts and short news articles in French and English. A resource booklet was provided in the introductory session, which contained links to online content, and the students used this to prepare each week by making notes and preparing questions on the theme. The same links were provided electronically in a reminder which was posted to them a few days before the meeting. We also provided a set of prompt questions at the beginning of each session based on each resource to aid discussion.

We encouraged students to use the 'Screen Share' function, which allows users to show each other their own screens, for example to show files and images on their computer; this was particularly useful for the students when discussing online content such as videos, which could be watched together then paused to discuss a particular point.


Show and Share

A termly opportunity for Language Centre teachers to meet and share teaching ideas and activities that work well in class and that are transferable to other languages or subject areas.

These events consist of presentations and short interactive activities. Presenters use the audience as students so that participants can see how each activity actually works in class.

All Language Centre staff are invited to these events which are also an occasion for teachers from different language teams to get together.

Guest presenters from other departments within APD are often invited to present and staff from APD are are also welcome at these events.