ASSESS – BLOG / JANUARY 2022

Learning, Teaching and Training Activities for teachers: an asset for educational system

The arrival of information and communication technologies to the educational field, accelerated by the pandemic, has led to the need of development of digital competences of teachers, which is one of the educational challenges teacher training has to face now. One of the main aims of the Learning, Teaching and Training Activities that ran from 14th to 16th December in Athens, was sharing good practices and strategies among participants using digital tools. A range of teaching and learning activities and methodologies was suggested in order to provide engaging learning environments: creation and use of flashcards in the classroom, workshops about online tools and resources for EFL teachers, creative teaching and learning strategies using props and through theatre, etc.

Throughout these three-day training, teachers also had the opportunity to reflect together on the assessment process of different language skills (common problems and challenges) and received training on assessment strategies. The emphasis was led in particular on assessing writing and speaking skills with the guidance of easy-to-use rubrics helping out young learners do great at communicative skills, giving them really efficient specific feedback.

The consortium partners also took the opportunity to introduce the main output of the project: the Online Exam Creator, a digital platform that aims to support EFL teachers in their professional practice. After the presentation of the OEC, a workshop was conducted and participants could interact with the platform creating customized exams with the Exam Creator and creating teaching packs based on the material provided in the resource bank. 

To conclude, the Learning, Teaching and Training Activities that took place in Greece, in the scope of ASSESS project, opened new paths of inspiration and fostered good practices among participants. Professional development and lifelong learning of teachers will always be an asset for the success and quality of learning.

To provide leadership, direction, and assistance to governments, educational institutions, and individuals across the world in order to promote excellence in language education, there are some non-profit organisations now, giving certificate about a world level standard of language teaching if your organisation can meet the necessary criteria. 

These organisations like “Eaquals” and “Pearson” aim to provide language education providers with accreditation based on some requirements, develop practical materials for people working in the field of modern languages, as well as provide training and assistance.

On Language Learning for European Citizenship, above mentioned organisations aim to improve mutual knowledge and understanding, increase the quantity and quality of international cooperation, and combat prejudice and intolerance toward people of different languages and cultures.

Day by day, these organisations are growing to become professional organisations for language instruction in more and more countries including Turkey with a dozen of instutions, private or state schools, universities and so on.

In order to be one of these accredited members, the appying institution has to meet some requirements which are delivered after the application process. In a pre-determined time period, your institution is expected to fit in to certain standards of language education. The applying institution gets an advisory visit before the main inspection to assist the process. These aforesaid criteria are concerned with administrative and management quality assurance, the quality of learning environment, student and staff services and academic quality (including teaching and assessment processes)

In case of being entitled to the certificate, your institution and your students are regarded to have a higher standard of language education worldwide. 

To be able to catch the zeitgeist, and to minimize the unexpected drawbacks of a non-centralized and more subjective methods of teaching and assessment, these organizations offer a more adaptable approach of language education to civil rights and one that respects more on equal opportunity for each student of your institution.

Here are the links for these organizations:

https://www.eaquals.org/

https://tr.pearson.com/tr/yuksek-ogrenim/yetkinlikler-gelisim/pearson-akreditasyonu.html

Learning a Foreign Language through Language Learning Apps

Mobile apps have been changing the way we communicate, shop, work, learn and entertain ourselves. Especially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic their influence in our lives have been multiplied: We use communication and team-work apps for remote work almost everyday; we can do our grocery shopping through our mobile phones without going to the “crowded” supermarkets; we can practice our “daily workout” from home; and we can develop our knowledge and skills on various subjects, including a foregin language, while sitting on our sofa. 

Indeed, language learning apps appear to be one of the most popular apps today; but how effective are they in making the learner gain necessary skills to understand, write and communicate in a foreign language? According to a research conducted by Shawn Loewen, a professor of second language studies, the apps are helpful in learning the basics of a language, but it remains to be difficult to use what is learnt in real life: “If you teach people explicitly to memorize vocabulary and grammar rules, most people will learn that. (…) But it’s much harder to take that knowledge and translate it into the ability to use language — to speak it, understand what you’re hearing, and respond in an appropriate way” [Read More].

Considering their user-friendliness and impact to a certain extent, such apps and other digital solutions can also be used as complementary tools in traditional language training and education at schools. In our project, ASSESS, we have been developing a tool as such, the Online Exam Creator (OEC), which aims at supporting EFL teachers with a pool of various teaching and assessment materials. The OEC tool is expected to be finalized by the end of 2021. Follow our website for more information.

English Teaching and Learning & Online Assessment during the Covid-19 crisis

It is almost 2 years that all aspects of human life, worldwide, have been affected and severely impacted because of the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic not only affected the health systems and the economy across the globe but also had a great impact on education systems. Because of Covid-19, schools, colleges and universities were closed and face-to-face education was suspended for certain periods of time, whereas a shift to online teaching was instituted. 

English language teaching and learning took its share in this transition. Following the pandemic outbreak several studies were conducted to investigate the effects of the pandemic on online teaching/learning and assessment of English. Findings show that the online teaching and learning of English created challenges because of the internet connection problems and students’ access to computers or smartphones. On the other hand, this situation enhanced the educators’ digital literacy skills and highlighted the significance of online teaching and learning in case of emergency situations. 

Study: https://dergipark.org.tr/tr/download/article-file/1677427

Meanwhile, English teachers need to evaluate the achievements of their students and assess the knowledge they gained on a regular basis.   According to a study, the teachers had a negative perception about online assessment during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is due to the fact that they faced some obstacles during the online assessment, some of which include:
        –     the internet connection;

  • the validity of the assessment; 
  • and   the   low   level of   students’ enthusiasm. 

However, in practice the use of online assessment helps the teachers in distributing the   material   and assessing students’ achievement.

Study: http://ejournal.uki.ac.id/index.php/jet/article/view/2770/1912

Premium Vector | Girl studying online education at home cartoon vector  illustration. student workplace desktop computer doing homework surfing  internet e-learning school lesson concept. pupil kid learning process

How Can Children Learn English Online?

Start off with exploring websites together and learning how to use the games or activities together. The more you’re involved with the learning process, the more your child or student will eventually be motivated to explore independently.

Make sure you spend time with your children or students to figure out what they’re personally interested in the most and cater website resources to what they like, as well as to what they need to work on the most.  

Find a way to make websites as interactive as possible. Try turning games into friendly competitions between adults and kids, and you might see that this can help revive interest in learning English.

Sometimes all it takes is a change in scenery to motivate children. Take a mobile device or your laptop to places like a park or even your back porch, and watch children get excited about practising their English.

Children have shorter attention spans than adults. If you’re doing lessons, limit activities to 10 minutes or less. For activities where they’re reinforcing skills already learned, spend no more than 20 to 30 minutes a day doing these, depending on their age.

Discover our Online Exam Creator!

As the main result of the project ASSESS, Inercia Digital has developed an Online Exam Creator platform.  It consists of a virtual place where teachers have access to 4 spaces.

Firstly, teachers can obtain ready- made exams divided into 2 levels, A1 and A2, and into 24 topics, among them we can find animals, countries, school, routines…etc. These exams include reading, writing, listening, speaking and vocabulary exercises.

Secondly, on this platform, there are materials useful for English lessons, teachers have flashcards, images, worksheets and coloring pages to download in a click. 

In third place, we find the main tool of this platform, the exam creator. Teachers can use this tool to create their own customized exams modifying questions, answers and images.

Finally, the section “tools” presents different sites where teachers can create different activities such as crosswords and word search.

If you want to know more about the Online Exam Creator you can contact us in our social networks:

ASSessing EFL StudentS

@AssessEU20201

Assess project

Assessment of learning and Assessment for learning

Assessment is an integral part of instruction, as it allows to determine whether or not the educational goals or standards are being met and it provides data for instructional planning and decision making. 

There are two main types of assessment, each occurring at different points in the teaching and learning process: assessment of learning and assessment for learning. The current trend in education is the presence of both assessment systems in order to provide valid and reliable information about pupils’ achievement.

Assessment of learning involves looking at assessment information at the end of key segments in a teaching and learning cycle or at the end of the teaching and learning process to rank students’ achievement levels against a standard. It is summative and it involves standardized tests.

Assessment for learning embeds assessment processes throughout the teaching and learning process in order to readjust strategies and methodologies to enhance and guide learning. It is formative and it can include test data as well as other quantitative and even qualitative or descriptive data. Basically, in the assessment for learning, the test data is just one data element among others and the assessment process is constant rather than a single point in time.

To support teachers in the evaluation process, the six partners of Project ASSESS continue to work on the Online Exam Creator Platform in order to improve its potential and make it a valuable resource for EFL teachers. Exams covering the different linguistic skills, audio files, rubrics, worksheets, images, flashcards will be soon available to be used as formative or summative assessment and our Online Exam Creator will allow to create exams easily and quickly according to the learners’ level.

As part of the project activities, our partner from Greece, with experience in the training in the field of language education, is organizing a five-day training course whose main aim is to present the platform to EFL teachers from the partner countries but also, addressing the common problems and challenges in the assessment in EFL, in particular as regards speaking and writing assessment. The training will take place in Athens in the beginning of September.

The Benefits and Outcomes of Online Learning

Online education has been an issue since the internet started to become a crucial part of our lives. However, the outbreak of the virus forced this concept in our lives as an obligatory situation. 

All the nations throughout the world have been talking about it, yet no country was prepared for it thoroughly. The citizens of the world have learnt the “how to” part on the way. We managed to do it somehow, but what about the efficiency and the effect of online education and assessment?

As an instructor at a state university in Turkey, my experience has been quite positive in many ways which can be listed as below;

*Flexibility and Self-Paced Learning

      The difference among students in terms of learning pace has been vanished as all our lessons had been recorded and uploaded to the system beforehand. So, each student can go online and find the related video on the system and revise afterwards or prepare before the class hour at any time s/he is available.

*Better Time Management

     As an instructor, I could easily complain that most of the time, the class hour was interrupted by natural conversations; however, in online lessons 40 minutes were mostly used very effectively and all the talking was to the point. In time both teachers and students have learnt to use all the benefits of online meetings like break-out rooms, white board, multi-user screen sharing, annotation, etc. which enabled both parties to make use of the allocated time better.

*Varied Means of Learning

      In our online education experience, we experienced many different means which are called “web tools” used for educational purposes. We applied online quizzes for fun, software versions of the books and online workbooks that can be used like popular applications (in vocabulary and grammar especially), competitions and games that can facilitate learning in grammar and so on.

*Keeping up with the Developing Technology

      All the improvements in technology like applications, tutorials on Youtube, audiobooks, interactive games have made education seem like behind the zeitgeist. With an obligatory push, education especially in eastern countries had to keep up with developing technology which created a more appealing interface for education. We are free from getting old and rusty.

At the end of the semester, according to a survey held in Uludağ University (Bursa, Turkey), almost 80 percent of both teachers and students favour and stick up for online education for the above mentioned reasons. And with the data collected from that research, the School of Foreign Languages plans to carry out the education both face-to-face and online in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Online Exam Creator: A Perfect Guide for Teachers

Teaching professionals and students may find assessment challenging, but the benefits it delivers may be a helpful motivator. There are obvious advantages when it comes to variable delivery methods, adding web links, documents, photographs, and videos and enriching test material.

With the shift of technology, education made its way to move into online evaluation, whether corporate certification or assessment of training efficiency, an awarding body that seeks to move off paper or expand to a new market that creates a scalable end-of-course assessment.

Ensuring the ability of students to learn is critical in every setting. Teachers and instructors can monitor each student’s progress and offer more resources and assistance when required. In addition, regular testing helps instructors detect specific students’ weaknesses in their academic areas and enhances their subject matter and delivery.

Faculty and students can take exams whenever and wherever they want via web-based exams. A time-saving benefit of online testing is that results are automatically calculated and immediately delivered to both teacher and student. In addition, instructors and teachers can analyze results in real-time. Online Exam Creator (OEC) aims to suggest a usable scale construction model for application or adaptation in assessing the exam-based writing exercises. 

OEC has an easy-to-use rubric that can be used for A1 and A2 pupils learning English. 

The criteria are divided into a different description

  • Task Achievement (35 marks)
  • Language (Accuracy and range of grammar and vocabulary) (30 marks)
  • Organization (30 marks)

OEC provides time limitations, fast feedback, add media to questions, and precise marking. 

OEC made an effort to make this marking scheme functional and comprehensive in evaluating the young learners’ writing performance objectively and satisfy the markers’ needs. 

Online Exam Creator has several benefits. It is one of the best solutions for your organization to save time and streamline the learning process.

May Online Meeting

The project ASSESS, which is addressed to English teachers, continues its path. The partnership has had a meeting today to discuss topics regarding the training activity for English teachers that will be carried out next September in Greece, the handbook about evaluation of students and our Online Exam Creator which is almost ready. If you are an English teacher from Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Finland or Germany and you want to participate in the training activity contact us through our Facebook page