Hello. Over the coming weeks we’d like to share more of the thinking behind MYLO starting with an overview today. MYLO sets out to provide free language learning materials for KS3 and 4, in French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. MYLO can be used either at school or at home. The initial set of materials focuses on Breakthrough and Preliminary levels. Our working title for the materials aimed at Breakthrough is E-Basics. For Preliminary and later Intermediate levels our content is focused around ‘Challenges’. In this post we’d like to talk more about the structure of a Challenge.
Teachers have asked for materials to show global reach of the languages and also to include elements of local culture and so each Challenge is set in a real world location. The first Challenge, for example, is set in Montreal. Others are in South America, Africa, the UK as well as France, Germany, Spain and China. Each Challenge is introduced by a character that needs help with a language task. The task itself will focus on a specific element of language. The topics for each task have been based on themes pupils have told us interested them. Having developed some Challenge ideas based on these themes we then took the ideas back into schools to ask the learners what they thought. The ideas that pupils told us they liked best have then been worked up further.
Each Challenge is made up of four major components:
1. an introduction - where the character asks for the learners help and gives the background to the task;
2. practice materials – to help the pupil learn the language they need for the task;
3. inputs – audio, text or video in the target language; and
4. a task – either writing or speaking requiring the pupil to demonstrate their productive skills.
The learner can choose to go directly to the task if they feel comfortable they can take it on or work through the practice materials. These follow a common structure too:
1. preparation activities – provide the key language (both vocabulary and key grammatical points) needed to complete the task;
2. comprehension – show the key language in context through audio, video and text-based inputs, with comprehension questions;
3. manipulation – now it’s the learners’ turn to build short chunks of the key language , focussing on important grammatical points
4. compete – finally learners can drill what they have learnt in a series of games. They can play the games as often as they like, either against other players or the computer.
To complete the task we provide an online tool. The version we are currently testing allows the learner to layout text and images to form their response to the Challenge. We’re going to add the ability to record voiceovers and manipulate video.
To help the learner there is always access to a Phrasebook, Glossary and Culture Notes. Each of these is context sensitive to the Challenge, but fully searchable . In addition there is ‘Learning to Learn’ guidance in the form of notes on how to tackle the Challenge and videos describing key strategies for learning languages, such as techniques for memorising or how to spot patterns in a language.
Each of the content modules is mapped to the relevant National Curriculum and Ladder level. E-Basics material is targeted at NC levels 1-3 and the Challenges currently under development are targeted at NC levels 4-6.