Grupo Extremeño de Enseñanza de Idiomas Asistido por Ordenador

Other Projects

Considering the suitability of learning foreign languages at early ages, both from a psycho-pedagogic perspective and from the point of view of the educational policy regarding the introduction of the English language in pre-school curricula, research on the suitability of the models and teaching approaches applied in order to obtain effective learning results at this educational level prove necessary, specially on the role played by the integration of the computer and educational technologies within the learning process.
The creation of SHAIEX, an Adaptive Hypermedia System for second language learning built in Linex, enables us to design and adapt multimedia language material so as to individualize the learning process to learners characteristics (pre-schools learners), to research on the role played by educational technologies in such a process and to present effective methodological proposals. In this sense, the observation and analysis of the online learning strategies by means of quantitative and computational models enable us to build a firm foundation regarding virtual learning models.
Considering the suitability of learning foreign languages at early ages, both from a psycho-pedagogic perspective and from the point of view of the educational policy regarding the introduction of the English language in pre-school curricula, research on the suitability of the models and teaching approaches applied in order to obtain effective learning results at this educational level prove necessary, specially on the role played by the integration of the computer and educational technologies within the learning process.
The creation of SHAIEX, an Adaptive Hypermedia System for second language learning built in Linex, enables us to design and adapt multimedia language material so as to individualize the learning process to learners characteristics (pre-schools learners), to research on the role played by educational technologies in such a process and to present effective methodological proposals. In this sense, the observation and analysis of the online learning strategies by means of quantitative and computational models enable us to build a firm foundation regarding virtual learning models.
The principal objective which encourages us is to work towards the improvement of quality and efficiency in officially recognized professional education in the area of professional language qualification on the European level as recommended by both national and European guidelines, namely: (a) Report of the National Institute of Qualifications – INCUAL-; (b) the draft of the Royal Decree dated 27/03/2006 which regulates the educational system for the employment of professionals, and (c) the working document "Study on the formative needs for European Community languages within the framework of professional education", elaborated in December 2002 by the National Employment Institute.
Undoubtedly, the lack of consensus in establishing equivalency levels regarding the knowledge of languages is one of the main problems faced by the Division of Linguistic Policies of the European Council in order to certify the level of linguistic knowledge of the members of the European Union with respect to the performance required in those occupational professions that demand it.
For this reason, our project of technological development, innovation and technological transfer (Research-Business Groups) is based on the creation of language learning courses for occupational purposes with online support (moodle) and multimedia following the aforementioned European guidelines. The languages for which courses would be designed are English, French, Portuguese and Italian, while the occupational areas (due to the interest of our Autonomous Community) would be Commerce and the Tourism/Hotel sector.
The basis upon which we specify our proposed objectives can be summarized as follows:
(1) The need to adapt linguistic competence linked to specific occupations by making the existing offer suitable enough to meet the European legislative requirements on these topics and environs.
(2) The appropriateness derived from the creation of online / multimedia courses would allow for an extension of formative equivalencies in languages for as many professionals and users who express an interest, regardless of their geographical location or incompatibility with work schedules, by enabling them to follow the instruction offered.
(3) The design and development of courses through information technology would serve a wide-range group of technologically prepared professionals, a fundamental skill for European staff, in a transversal manner.
Key Words: Languages for Occupational Purposes, Online Language Teaching; Professional Qualifications; European Equivalency 
The principal objective which encourages us is to work towards the improvement of quality and efficiency in officially recognized professional education in the area of professional language qualification on the European level as recommended by both national and European guidelines, namely: (a) Report of the National Institute of Qualifications – INCUAL-; (b) the draft of the Royal Decree dated 27/03/2006 which regulates the educational system for the employment of professionals, and (c) the working document "Study on the formative needs for European Community languages within the framework of professional education", elaborated in December 2002 by the National Employment Institute.
Undoubtedly, the lack of consensus in establishing equivalency levels regarding the knowledge of languages is one of the main problems faced by the Division of Linguistic Policies of the European Council in order to certify the level of linguistic knowledge of the members of the European Union with respect to the performance required in those occupational professions that demand it.
For this reason, our project of technological development, innovation and technological transfer (Research-Business Groups) is based on the creation of language learning courses for occupational purposes with online support (moodle) and multimedia following the aforementioned European guidelines. The languages for which courses would be designed are English, French, Portuguese and Italian, while the occupational areas (due to the interest of our Autonomous Community) would be Commerce and the Tourism/Hotel sector.
The basis upon which we specify our proposed objectives can be summarized as follows:
(1) The need to adapt linguistic competence linked to specific occupations by making the existing offer suitable enough to meet the European legislative requirements on these topics and environs.
(2) The appropriateness derived from the creation of online / multimedia courses would allow for an extension of formative equivalencies in languages for as many professionals and users who express an interest, regardless of their geographical location or incompatibility with work schedules, by enabling them to follow the instruction offered.
(3) The design and development of courses through information technology would serve a wide-range group of technologically prepared professionals, a fundamental skill for European staff, in a transversal manner.
Key Words: Languages for Occupational Purposes, Online Language Teaching; Professional Qualifications; European Equivalency 

Recognition of professional competence over the last few decades has become a key issue for member governments of the European Union. As a result of this demand, the purpose of the project herein presented is two-fold. On the one hand, official recognition and certification of foreign language levels, for both general and specific purposes, as based on national and European guidelines, frames the content and development of the first of the main objectives we pursue. On a professional level, the users of this proposal consist of individuals with specific language learning needs, be those beginner levels established in the project, be those refresher levels of previously learned content, or simply those pertaining to lifelong learning.

On the other hand, the second cornerstone on which this project is based is that of utilizing information technology as the means of support through which the education for linguistic certification takes place. In this sense, technology becomes the second major focus of the project herein, specifically with the creation of courses in CD multimedia and the Moodle platform. Nonetheless, and although Moodle offers the adequate environment for language-learning programme development on the Web, the features of the courses and the levels covered in our proposal call for the compulsory design and integration of new tools that allow for acquiring communicative skills (oral and written expression), in addition to course management on behalf of the teachers and administrators. Directly linked to the two aforementioned core objectives are a series of six aims that we summarize as follows:

OBJECTIVE 1
Elaboration of online /Multimedia foreign language courses for occupational purposes for official recognition and European certification based on the formative needs in languages in professional environs:
O.1.1 Creation and design of English courses (Levels B1 and B2) for language learning for the business sectors of commerce and tourism /accommodations.
O.1.2 Creation and design of Spanish language courses for integration of foreigners/immigrants into the world of work (Levels A1/A2).
O.1.3 Creation of an aptitude test for English Language certification for competence levels A1, A2, B1 and B2, and aptitude tests for language competence certification in Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese (levels A1 and A2), in professional sectors.

OBJECTIVE 2
Elaboration of an interactive platform and the development of tools for the teaching and certification of languages for specific professional sectors:
O.2.1. Creation of a management platform for e-learning centres for language learning through Moodle.
O.2.2. Creation of tools and learning objects for teaching languages online according to level designations and European guidelines.
O.2.3 Design of virtual spaces and social networking for collaborative learning (communication, community and cooperation).

Recognition of professional competence over the last few decades has become a key issue for member governments of the European Union. As a result of this demand, the purpose of the project herein presented is two-fold. On the one hand, official recognition and certification of foreign language levels, for both general and specific purposes, as based on national and European guidelines, frames the content and development of the first of the main objectives we pursue. On a professional level, the users of this proposal consist of individuals with specific language learning needs, be those beginner levels established in the project, be those refresher levels of previously learned content, or simply those pertaining to lifelong learning.

On the other hand, the second cornerstone on which this project is based is that of utilizing information technology as the means of support through which the education for linguistic certification takes place. In this sense, technology becomes the second major focus of the project herein, specifically with the creation of courses in CD multimedia and the Moodle platform. Nonetheless, and although Moodle offers the adequate environment for language-learning programme development on the Web, the features of the courses and the levels covered in our proposal call for the compulsory design and integration of new tools that allow for acquiring communicative skills (oral and written expression), in addition to course management on behalf of the teachers and administrators. Directly linked to the two aforementioned core objectives are a series of six aims that we summarize as follows:

OBJECTIVE 1
Elaboration of online /Multimedia foreign language courses for occupational purposes for official recognition and European certification based on the formative needs in languages in professional environs:
O.1.1 Creation and design of English courses (Levels B1 and B2) for language learning for the business sectors of commerce and tourism /accommodations.
O.1.2 Creation and design of Spanish language courses for integration of foreigners/immigrants into the world of work (Levels A1/A2).
O.1.3 Creation of an aptitude test for English Language certification for competence levels A1, A2, B1 and B2, and aptitude tests for language competence certification in Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese (levels A1 and A2), in professional sectors.

OBJECTIVE 2
Elaboration of an interactive platform and the development of tools for the teaching and certification of languages for specific professional sectors:
O.2.1. Creation of a management platform for e-learning centres for language learning through Moodle.
O.2.2. Creation of tools and learning objects for teaching languages online according to level designations and European guidelines.
O.2.3 Design of virtual spaces and social networking for collaborative learning (communication, community and cooperation).

Despite the amount of money invested in research and development, machine translation is still far from being a real option for businesses, even when you have a human reviewer behind the process (eg. King et al, 2003). In recent years, a new line of research on machine translation has been undertaken by a group of researchers in New York (the company “Meaningful Machines”), whose preliminary results look very promising. The research aim is to develop this idea in relation to the design of an automated translation system that has a real value (which means that the results offered are usable at the corporate level [see reports Alpaca, 1996]).

The originality of this method lies in the attention or focus placed on the context of the words in texts, their source and destination for the translation, so that the words are not translated as single units, but always within a context, co-text, or n-grams previously decoded. Thus, for example, correct morpho-syntactic formations such as gender (eg, the "casa roja") are produced not because the system may implement a rules-based approach, but because, in contrast, the system relies on previous n-gram training that follows statistical significance. In this case, the n-gram "the red house" is segmented and transformed into "rojo /a " and "casa" in the dictionary, and then moved on to be captured as "la casa roja" in a massive corpus of Spanish (statistically, this order is more significant, 99.8% more than "roja casa").

This method seeks to overcome obstacles in machine translation, often associated with discursive syntax and style. Thus, the translation would not be a mere transfer of words and structures from one language to another, but of meanings and usages, consistent / cohesive with the target language. Another example would be the passive voice in English (e.g., "the house was built), which could be correctly translated as "la casa fue construida" by many machine translation systems. However, the CBMT application would rely on a set of statistics for the body of results and yield a more widespread use of "casa" and “construir", by producing the best option "se construyó la casa", which would automatically result from the effective processing of the massive corpus.

This system would even anticipate that an expression cannot be correctly produced by checking that there are not any available statistically sound options in the corpus. As a result, in the statistical comparison, the system would return the signatures or contexts of the given expression and re-enact a different search so that synonyms may be yielded. For example, if "put off the meeting" cannot be transferred as “posponer la reunion” because the dictionary did not transfer “put off” with this meaning, or because the corpus did not show that option, the system would seek other contexts for “the meeting” or for other words that precede the phrasal verb. In this case, the tool would look for other options, like “aplazar”, or “llevar a”, etc, for the expression in the corpus.

Despite the amount of money invested in research and development, machine translation is still far from being a real option for businesses, even when you have a human reviewer behind the process (eg. King et al, 2003). In recent years, a new line of research on machine translation has been undertaken by a group of researchers in New York (the company “Meaningful Machines”), whose preliminary results look very promising. The research aim is to develop this idea in relation to the design of an automated translation system that has a real value (which means that the results offered are usable at the corporate level [see reports Alpaca, 1996]).

The originality of this method lies in the attention or focus placed on the context of the words in texts, their source and destination for the translation, so that the words are not translated as single units, but always within a context, co-text, or n-grams previously decoded. Thus, for example, correct morpho-syntactic formations such as gender (eg, the "casa roja") are produced not because the system may implement a rules-based approach, but because, in contrast, the system relies on previous n-gram training that follows statistical significance. In this case, the n-gram "the red house" is segmented and transformed into "rojo /a " and "casa" in the dictionary, and then moved on to be captured as "la casa roja" in a massive corpus of Spanish (statistically, this order is more significant, 99.8% more than "roja casa").

This method seeks to overcome obstacles in machine translation, often associated with discursive syntax and style. Thus, the translation would not be a mere transfer of words and structures from one language to another, but of meanings and usages, consistent / cohesive with the target language. Another example would be the passive voice in English (e.g., "the house was built), which could be correctly translated as "la casa fue construida" by many machine translation systems. However, the CBMT application would rely on a set of statistics for the body of results and yield a more widespread use of "casa" and “construir", by producing the best option "se construyó la casa", which would automatically result from the effective processing of the massive corpus.

This system would even anticipate that an expression cannot be correctly produced by checking that there are not any available statistically sound options in the corpus. As a result, in the statistical comparison, the system would return the signatures or contexts of the given expression and re-enact a different search so that synonyms may be yielded. For example, if "put off the meeting" cannot be transferred as “posponer la reunion” because the dictionary did not transfer “put off” with this meaning, or because the corpus did not show that option, the system would seek other contexts for “the meeting” or for other words that precede the phrasal verb. In this case, the tool would look for other options, like “aplazar”, or “llevar a”, etc, for the expression in the corpus.

Discussion surrounding ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for Education tends to single out the computer as the only available device used for accessing information and communicating. However, there are currently a number of new options which enable mobility in addition to innovative forms of interaction (PDAs, TabletPC, OLPC, Nintendo DS, whiteboards, robots y mascots, etc.). Thus, we encounter technological resources that if incorporated into the teaching syllabus, can enrich the learning process by providing original opportunity for both teachers and students at all educational levels, as well as allowing for temporal and spatial communication and exchange without borders.

These new tools allow us to develop formative and cognitive skills and abilities in the use of technology through games and teaching-learning tasks, objectives established in many educational programmes. Given the aforementioned, the study we propose is framed within a specific educational context: the potential of mobile devices in language learning in Primary School, a stage in which both language and technological acquisition make up two fundamental building blocks.

Therefore the goals set forth in the present project may be summarized as follows:

(1) to research and analyze currently available mobile devices;
(2) to describe their educational possibilities and evaluate their implementation potential in the classroom;
(3) to create activity prototypes adequate for each of the devices selected;
(4) to establish a system of student evaluation for the respective devices selected;
(5) to analyze the results obtained through actual classroom research.

Key Words: ICTs, mobile devices, m-learning, games

Discussion surrounding ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for Education tends to single out the computer as the only available device used for accessing information and communicating. However, there are currently a number of new options which enable mobility in addition to innovative forms of interaction (PDAs, TabletPC, OLPC, Nintendo DS, whiteboards, robots y mascots, etc.). Thus, we encounter technological resources that if incorporated into the teaching syllabus, can enrich the learning process by providing original opportunity for both teachers and students at all educational levels, as well as allowing for temporal and spatial communication and exchange without borders.

These new tools allow us to develop formative and cognitive skills and abilities in the use of technology through games and teaching-learning tasks, objectives established in many educational programmes. Given the aforementioned, the study we propose is framed within a specific educational context: the potential of mobile devices in language learning in Primary School, a stage in which both language and technological acquisition make up two fundamental building blocks.

Therefore the goals set forth in the present project may be summarized as follows:

(1) to research and analyze currently available mobile devices;
(2) to describe their educational possibilities and evaluate their implementation potential in the classroom;
(3) to create activity prototypes adequate for each of the devices selected;
(4) to establish a system of student evaluation for the respective devices selected;
(5) to analyze the results obtained through actual classroom research.

Key Words: ICTs, mobile devices, m-learning, games