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The Education Forum

European Commission Report on MFL/ICT

Graham Davies

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This is to draw forum members' attention to extensive report on a Europe-wide survey on the impact of ICT in teaching and learning foreign languages, which was commissioned in 2002 by the EC Directorate General of Education and Culture. The report was published in January 2003 and opens with an executive summary that includes the following statement:

"One important fact that has emerged from this study is that Foreign Languages as a subject area is 'different' from most other subject areas in the curriculum, namely that it is skill-based as well as knowledge-based, and in this respect it has more in common with music than, say, history or geography."

This is an important point. The media-rich environment that CALL software requires places considerable demands upon the hardware and the technicians who have to set it up and maintain it - a fact that is unfortunately often overlooked in most schools.

The report consists of four main parts:

- an overview of the different kinds of hardware and software currently in use in MFL teaching and learning

- case studies from seven different countries exemplifying potentially interesting approaches to MFL teaching and learning, quality innovation and examples of best practice

- future prospects for ICT in MFL teaching and learning, based on the feedback from respondents to a questionnaire issued to leading CALL practitioners from a wide range of European countries

- conclusions and recommendations. These include the setting up a European taskforce to provide advice, organise workshops, and offer support systems for those launching national/regional programmes for ICT in MFL teaching and learning

Fitzpatrick A. & Davies G. (eds.) (2003) The Impact of Information and Communications Technologies on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and on the Role of Teachers of Foreign Languages. EC Directorate General of Education and Culture. The report can be downloaded in PDF or Word format from the ICC website: www.icc-europe.com. Click on "Report on ICT in FLL".

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