Report from the Digital Future of language education forum

The Forum

On May 17, 2019 researchers, teachers, experts and other stakeholders met in Brussels to discuss the future of the digital competences in language teaching. The Digital Future of Language Education Forum hosted 42 participants and was held in a welcoming setting of the Brussels office of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Challenges addressed at the Forum

Digital Competence and Multilingualism have been acknowledged as key skills for the 21st century by EU. Digital Literacy was included as one of the eight essential skills, in the Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong learning. In the EC’s 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe, Digital Literacy is one of its seven pillars. However, most Language Teachers lack sufficient Digital Competences and they cannot use all available digital tools to advance their teaching practices and their professional development. Furthermore, they detain their students’ digital skills since they avoid using new innovative digital tools in their teaching practice. Organizations delivering language training often lack the knowledge of deployment and the sustainable use of information and communications technology (ICT), even if their staff obtains the right digital competences. All these result in not being able to fulfill National and EU educational policy goals regarding digital education.

As a result of all activities and research planned during realization of the DC4LT project, a training program for language teachers of all levels that would extend and develop EU Language Teachers Digital Competences and Professional Skills will be created.

DC4LT presentations at the Forum

Participants of the Forum in Brussels got acquainted with the early results of the Digital Competence Assessment Survey for Language Teachers that was introduced to the European language teachers and administrators of organizations operating in the field of language teaching. This survey laid the foundation for the DC4LT project activities and helped the Consortium members understand the vectors of future actions. The audience of the Forum were interested to learn that in Europe only around 10% of today’s job listings for language teachers include any digital competencies requirements. This was seen in the results of the analysis of the language teaching labor market trends and demands. The results of the survey and the market study will be published in an analytical report at the end of summer 2019.

Keynotes

Dr. Martina Emke from the Open University, United Kingdom, in her role of the invited speaker, shared her view of the “Future (Im)Perfect: Language Teachers‘ Professional Development And ICT”. Participants noted that there are similarities in several European actions targeted at language teachers. We are hopeful that such collaborations will enhance the DC4LT project as well.

Joseph Hopkins, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya / ECML, gave the audience heads-up on how many of the aspects discussed by the DC4LT project participants find real implementation in his daily work. In his talk on “Developing competences for online language teachers: Putting it into practice”, Joseph showed how his online language teaching efforts are maximized by the new tech available, and what are the challenges he faces selecting instructors.

Virtual Reality demonstrations

During the breaks, the participants of the forum were highly engaged while testing an innovative Virtual Reality application for learning and teaching Norwegian, developed and demonstrated NTNU master students Carlo Alfredo Morte and Marton Skjæveland under the supervision of Professor Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland. 

Round-table discussion

The lively event finalized with the round-table discussion that lasted for some two hours and was revolving around the questions of identification of what exactly the digital competencies in language teaching are to all of us, and what would be the best ways to select teachers to participate in the training workshops, that the DC4LT project entails.

Our team

The event has been organized by the team of ITMO University, led by Maria Didkovsky. All DC4LT partners took part in the preparation of the event and the presented materials.

We would like to thank all the participants for their interest and constructive input!

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