This survey is part of a consultation programme aimed at finding out whether those who currently use and recommend these products (as well as potential users) value them and whether there might be an opportunity to develop both products within subscription or membership models, possibly with new or enhanced features.
Mindset Research, an independent market research organisation, has been asked to undertake this consultation and we would very much appreciate a few minutes of your time to respond to this brief survey.
The survey covers both Informs and the Virtual Training Suite. You can choose to answer questions about one or both of these products.
The survey will be open until midnight on Friday 8th October 2010.
Can the Internet help with language learning? Although language is primarily about humans communicating, the Internet can help a lot too. More and more great resources are coming online, to join old favourites like the BBC Languages pages with their courses, teachers’ homepages and foreign language TV links to channels. Nowadays you find dictionaries, online language cafes, chat forums and video clips to help you practice or talk to other speakers.
And it’s not just better known languages – there are websites devoted to pidgins such as Tok Pisin, the pidgin which is one of three official languages of Papua New Guinea. Endangered languages, which have few speakers and may die out, also feature online: National Geographic has a hotspots map called Disappearing Languages.
For those who want to brush up their German, French, Spanish, Mandarin or similar, there are some inspiring resources out there. It’s not just a question of language, either. Language learning introduces speakers to other cultures, as the Think German campaign says. Celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Nick Clegg and John Cleese extoll the virtues of many things German on the Think German Facebook page. A good way to find more language resources is from the Tour pages of the Virtual Training Suite’s tutorial Internet for Modern Languages. It guides users to sites like LiveMocha, a worldwide language learning community where you can practice with other speakers. Or to YouTube, where there are countless video clips on speaking languages – although the standard varies! Internet for Modern Languages also lists all types of academic and quality resources, with essentials such as Le Monde newspaper, Modern Language Association Bibliography and British Library Catalogues on the Web. Most importantly, the tutorial shows users how to judge the quality of what they find online.
Finally, the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies mustn’t be forgotten – this is the key support centre for teachers and lecturers., with activities, resources, and events all round the UK. A final resource for fans of Germanic studies – the Dach blog is written by experts at the British Library and is a wonderful mix of academic, entertaining and unusual materials.
Some German conversation from YouTube
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The Open University iSpot is a website aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature. You can add an observation to the website and suggest an identification yourself or see if anyone else can identify it for you, as explained by Chris Packham.
The University of Ulster SLOODLE initiative is an Open Source project which integrates the multi-user virtual environment of Second Life with the Moodle learning-management system. It connects the two environments via chatrooms, quizzes, voting mechanisms, note writing tools and presentations.
Paul emphasised the thought process that he had gone through before using Twitter in his teaching. Economics Network surveys have highlighted the absence of a shared responsibility in learning and a desire amongst students to have a more active role in their learning.
Paul was looking for a way of encouraging greater student engagement to produce learning via interaction, but it was important not to use a tool just for the sake of it – technology last, not first.
He recounted a number of ways in which Twitter can be used to enhance teaching:
By using course codes or a course based accounts you can Tweet interesting websites / readings to students.
You can contribute items of more than 140 characters in length by using TwitLonger.
Twitter is a difficult service to recommend within a Virtual Training Suite tutorial as students are often reluctant to engage with Social Media for educational purposes, but it is refreshing to see such innovation in teaching that encourages more active learning.
More top tips and links to websites are available by following @VTStutorials on Twitter.