In May 2013 a cooperation agreement was initiated between the European Commission and the ECML. Under this 12 month partnership entitled “Innovative Methodologies and Assessment in Language Learning”, two initiatives, one of which was the ICT-REV initiative, offered training and consultancy workshops in their specific fields of expertise, to ECML and EU member states.
In this first year of workshops, the main objectives of the ICT-REV team were to promote the use of ICT tools in the language classroom, among educators and stakeholders, and to develop an inventory of identified and reviewed freely available ICT tools and open educational resources.
Towards the end of this 12 month series of workshops, a second round of training and consultancy was confirmed.
Now in its second year of activities, the ICT-REV team is continuing with the development of its inventory of open educational tools. It is also continuing to deliver training workshops in different European countries for teacher trainers and language teachers who act as multipliers in their home institutions. The first of these workshops took place in Vilnius, Lithuania in February and was hosted by the Education Development Centre of the Ministry of Education and Science. 23 local participants took part and their feedback on the workshop has been extremely positive.
The inventory currently contains descriptions of 73 tools and is freely available at the following address: http://ict-rev.ecml.at/en-us/Resources/Web-tool-directory. The descriptions in the inventory aim to help language teachers and teacher trainers decide whether a tool is pedagogically and technologically suitable for the activity that they are planning to do with their class. To make this possible, the tools are currently searchable via a number of pedagogical and technological criteria. The criteria and the inventory were developed by the ICT-REV team. A literature review and research done by Aiko Nakamura (a graduate student at The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA) have been extremely helpful in supporting the ICT-REV team on this. The content and affordances of the inventory are currently under review by the ICT-REV team, a team of graduate students at The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and the current workshop participants. The aim of the review process is threefold. Firstly, to make the pedagogical and technological criteria as intuitive and useful for teachers as possible; secondly, to increase the number of tools available via the inventory, which is why we particularly want to draw on the experience of the workshop participants and finally to encourage workshop participants to provide examples of best practice and ratings for the tools, which is the first step towards the inventory becoming a basis for a community of practice. With the technological support of the ECML team, the changes to the inventory, based on these aims, will be implemented in the next few months.
The ICT-REV workshops provide training for participants in the application of pedagogical principles in teaching languages with technology and raise awareness about the need for self-training in the use of ICT. Each workshop has been specifically adapted to the needs of the particular country. During a 2-day network meeting, which took place in Graz in October 2014, the local workshop organizers, together with the ICT-REV team, defined the aims of their workshop according to the country-specific needs, decided on a profile of participants and drafted an agenda for the workshop. In preparation for each workshop, a designated team of three ICT-REV team members works with each of the local coordinators to further specify the details of the event. Please visit http://ict-rev.ecml.at/en-us/Training-workshops for more information on past and upcoming workshops.
The ICT-REV initiative and its findings have been disseminated at major international conferences, including the World Congress for Applied Linguistics (AILA) in Brisbane, Australia, and – by invitation from the European Union – at the European Day of Languages in Florence, Italy. One of the topics of this special event was ‘Innovative language teaching, teaching methods, technologies and best practice’, and the two project coordinator gave a well-received presentation on the ICT-REV achievements in front of almost 300 delegates. The principles behind the ICT-REV initiative, which continue the work of the team on the DOTS and the MoreDOTS ECML projects, form the core of the forthcoming volume Developing Online Language Teaching. Research-Based Pedagogies and Reflective Practices (Palgrave Macmillan) edited by Regine Hampel and Ursula Stickler.