On 26-27 September the ‘Open Education: Promoting Diversity for European Languages’ conference of the LangOER project, took place successfully in Brussels.
Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions and Konstantin Scheller of DG Education and Culture of the European Commission opened the event.
Mr. Markku Markkula focused on the role of the Committee of Regions in supporting the uptake of Open Educational Resources (OER) by Lesser Used Languages communities through the modernisation of European education systems. Open Education and language skills constitute two important pillars of the New Skills Agenda for Europe currently being discussed by the Committee of Regions. ‘This drive can help to preserve the diversity of European languages as well as a higher take-up of Open Education material in the lesser spoken languages’, Mr Markkula highlighted.
From his side Konstantin Scheller presented an institutional perspective on Open Educational Resources and highlighted the challenges for the European Commission to advance the effective use of accessible OER across borders.
Following the opening speeches, Gard Titlestad of the International Council for Open and Distance Education presented the draft recommendations Enabling Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Europe through OER. His presentation inaugurated two days of sharing good practices and discussing about ways that could stimulate effective policy making.
The agenda included contributions by European Schoolnet’s Jim Ayre, Elena Shulman and Àgueda Gras (Scientix), the EdReNE and LRE subcommittee members, our partners and 14 external experts, among which Darco Jansen (EADTU), Svetlana Knyazeva (UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education) and Zora Popova (European Centre of Minority Issues).
During seven interactive sessions participants were called to debate about the status of open education, the quality of OER and digital repositories, the use of MOOCs and the importance of professional development for teachers. At the same time successful local initiatives that support diversity, multilingualism and minority languages were also presented.
The conference concluded with a call for future actions on OER. The organizers presented the conclusions of the parallel sessions and suggested actions for the improvement of the policy recommendations draft.
The conference ended with the announcement of the winners of the LangOER prizes which recognized the exceptional work of teachers and their innovative ideas on the use of OER in the classroom.
Materials and videos from the conference will be soon available here.