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Cardiff Met Secures European research funding to lead interactive language-teaching project



A leading team from Cardiff School of Education has reached the end of the first year of funding under the European Commission's 'Erasmus+'* programme to compile and co-ordinate a professional development project using interactive technologies in language teaching from primary school through to university.

The project, iTILT 2 (Interactive Technologies In Language Teaching), is funded by the European Union's Erasmus+ 'Strategic Partnership' Programme and aims to develop, promote and disseminate new and innovative best practice in supporting interactive language teaching with information and communication technology (ICT) in English, French, German, Welsh and Turkish, with further dissemination in Dutch.

The project, which is led by Cardiff School of Education's Professor Gary Beauchamp, Associate Dean: Research and Professor of Education, builds on and extends, the highly successful 28-month project iTILT, which was funded by the European Lifelong Learning Programme (KA2 Languages, 2011-13.) This focused on the interactive whiteboard (IWB) for teaching second languages.

iTILT 2 moves beyond the IWB to focus on developing effective teaching and learning of second languages via new and emerging  interactive technologies, including iPads, tablet PCs, learner response systems, and videoconferencing software.

Co-ordinated by Professor Beauchamp,  Cardiff Metropolitan University is lead partner in the collaboration with Linguapolis Institute for Language and Communication in Belgium, Heidelberg University of Education in Germany; Université Nice Sophia Antipolis from France TELLConsult from The Netherlands, and Bilkent Universitesi from Turkey.

The €280,000 funding, which will be distributed between the participating universities and organisations, dependent on their allocated project tasks, enables the research to run until the end of August 2017.

By collaborating closely with teachers and learners, questioning pupils, and using expertise from higher education, the project serves as a valuable research and teaching tool for teachers and aims to improve the capacity of learning organisations in primary, secondary and higher education by enhancing the quality of learning provision.

This collaborative approach aims to enhance the professional development of teachers (in both initial and continuing training) by supporting them to adopt innovative approaches and new pedagogies using ICT-based methodologies and the use of an online community of practice.

Prof. Beauchamp said: "This project enables us to co-operate with the best in Europe, as well as Wales. Our dedicated team of researchers are experts in this field, and it is rewarding to work with them to share that knowledge."

Huw Merfyn Hughes, Cardiff Met's European Projects Director, added: "The University is delighted to be involved in international consortia. Aside from the benefits of European investment, this project also enhances Cardiff Met's reputation abroad and opens the door to even further collaborations in order to maximise the University's global reputation. It's fantastic that Cardiff Met is amongst the first across the whole of Europe to benefit as a co-ordinator of a funded project."

iTILT's supporting website www.itilt.eu from the team's previous project offers a comprehensive resource for teachers to view short video extracts of other teachers across seven countries incorporating the interactive whiteboard into their own teaching methods. iTILT 2 research will develop this online resource to include materials using other types of interactive technologies.

Cardiff Metropolitan University has previously received €27m Erasmus funding for schemes involving student and staff mobility to enhance teaching and learning, over €10m from the European Structural Funds to help with enterprise and commercialisation projects, and over €2M for purely research projects.

Notes to the Editor

*Erasmus+ (2014-2020), also called Erasmus Plus, is the new 14.7 billion euro catch-all framework program for education, training, youth and sport.[7] The new Erasmus+ programme combines all the EU's current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and five international co-operation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for co-operation with industrialised countries).