Future of Computing Education, Part 8 – Creative Computing

This will be a slightly shorter post than the last one, honest!  This session heard from Mark Pendleton about a project called “languagezone” in East Ayrshire.

Background

In 2002, East Ayrshire Council was becoming concerned about the languages uptake and attainment in secondary schools.  The decision was reached to set up a ‘virtual school’ of languages.  Technology had changed, young people had changed, and digital multitasking is now the norm – ‘Digital Natives’.  With all this in mind ‘languagezone’ was set up.

lzone_banner.gif

The project

Languagezone was designed to unite a number of schools from local authorities, including remote schools in Argyll and Bute, on one interactive website.  The languages curriculum was delivered through chatrooms, articles, podcasts and traditional web pages, all under the control of classroom teachers.  Being based on the internet, it was also possible to get real speakers of the languages in other countries involved.

What can we learn

The project has been a success and has increased both languages uptake and achievement.  I have already spoken of a desire to set up a similar scheme in my very first blog post back in February 2006.  However, with Glow (distant glimmer?) on the horizon I have been holding off.  Having now seen Glow, however, I may rethink that decision!

Whatever my views on Glow however, it will truly be a national resource, and me must not miss the opportunity to engage learners using this.  If it doesn’t work in Glow, we will just have to go it alone.

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