Students from an Essex school got their first taste of learning languages with The Open University with an all-day introductory session in Chelmsford on Saturday 5th December 2009. Pupils from Thurstable School in Tiptree had face-to-face tutorials in Italian and were involved in a range of stimulating learning activities. They will now follow their courses online using The Open University’s pioneering delivery of the Elluminate audio-conferencing system which enables students to take part in live online tutorials. Further introductory sessions took place on Saturday 12th December 2009 for students of French and on Saturday 30th January 2010 for students of Spanish from the Plume School in Maldon. Using Cambridge University’s Language Project for Schools and Colleges (CULP4SC), students across the region will be learning through a mixture of real-time online tutorials and self-study, as well as occasional face-to-face study days at Anglia Ruskin University.
Pupils from Thurstable School in Tiptree will be studying basic Italian. Participants come from Year 8 to 12. Two groups of pupils from the Plume School in Maldon are taking part in the scheme: one group studying French in order to accelerate their progress towards an early GSCE; and the other studying Spanish in Years 10 and 11.
The OU has pioneered the use of online synchronous audio conferencing for language learning and teaching. The conferencing software Elluminate is used to connect learners and tutors directly from their home or place of work. This tuition method is The Open University’s contribution to the Routes into Languages East project.