All Finnish speaking university students must learn to talk and write about field specific matters in Swedish. According to Finnish language policy they are required to pass exams in oral and written skills on medium level (CEFR B1/B2).
From teacher perspective, a challenge is that there is no ready made learning material for specific fields at university level. In our opinion, the best option would be to use authentic material and authentic environments. In our case at Aalto University, these environments are for example wood and metal workshops. laboratories or photo studios. The problem is, that when teaching language courses, you normally do not have access to authentic environments where students spend time during their field specific studies. In our project Swedish in 360 Degree Environments we have tried to find a solution to this problem by creating virtual environments where students can go to learn Swedish.
The environments consist of 360 degrees pictures from various workshops, laboratories and other spaces at the University campus. In these virtual environments we have added study material for learning, i.e. vocabulary and phrases needed for presenting and discussing field specific issues. The material includes videos with Swedish speaking students who function as role models for the Finnish speaking students. You also find videos of machines, such as band saws and drills, with user instructions and safety information in Swedish. In addition there is picture dictionaries, quizzes etc. in the 360 degrees environments. Students are also encouraged to spend time there, talking about what they see and about products and processes connected to the spaces.
360 degrees environments provide new possibilities for language courses, but also in this context, students need teacher presence in form of i.e. good instructions and feedback. Therefore it is important to consider pedagogical aspects when implementing the 360 degrees environments on language courses. This is something we are working on and will discuss in more detail.
As preliminary results we have noticed that students use more accurate and wider vocabulary as well as more idiomatic phrases after practicing Swedish in the 360 degrees environments. We have also noticed an improvement in their pronunciation. Detailed data on student satisfaction with virtual environments will be collected, but preliminary remarks have been positive. The project is still developing and will be completed in December 2019.
|Title of host publication||12TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF EDUCATION, RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (ICERI 2019)|
|Editors||LG Chova, AL Martinez, IC Torres|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|MoE publication type||A4 Article in a conference publication|
|Event||International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation - Seville, Spain|
Duration: 11 Nov 2019 → 13 Nov 2019
Conference number: 12
|Publisher||IATED-INT ASSOC TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION & DEVELOPMENT|
|Conference||International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation|
|Period||11/11/2019 → 13/11/2019|
- 360 Degree Environments
- Language Learning
- Higher Education
- Teacher Presence
- Content and Language Integrated Learning