Au revoir to boring language lessons!

Switched-on modern language teachers in the south east and beyond are using digital technology to make lessons more inspiring for their pupils – thanks to an initiative from the University of Southampton and ICT guru Joe Dale*.

A pioneering ICT and Languages conference at the University in 2011 inspired many school teachers to use digital technologies to enhance their lessons and enthuse pupils. Teachers were encouraged to swop their good ideas via Twitter. Now their achievements have been celebrated at a second conference which attracted 120 delegates including some from Ethiopia, Spain and Greece as well as the UK (see: #ililc 2012).

“More and more modern foreign language teachers are getting involved in this online supportive network,” says Zena Hilton who is Regional Manager for Languages South East at the University of Southampton. “The teachers who take part in this ‘online staff room’ call themselves the MFL twitterati. Enthusiasts who couldn’t be at the conference followed the activities through live streaming and twitter feeds.”

Languages South East started in April 2011 and builds on the work carried out by the Links into Languages South East regional centre, after government funding for that programme finished in March 2011.

*Joe Dale is an independent consultant who works with a range of organisations such as the University of Southampton, Network for Languages, the British Council, the BBC, Skype and Microsoft. Joe was key in updating the ICT elements of the QCDA SoW for KS2 Primary French; he has also designed games for Heinemann’s ‘Expo’. His blog  has been nominated for four Edublog Awards.