English Next (2006) was commissioned by the British Council and written by researcher David Graddol – a British applied linguist, well known as a writer, broadcaster, researcher and consultant on issues relating to global English.
The report draws attention to the extraordinary speed of change to issues affecting English identified in the 1997 publication: The Future of English?
Available from the British Council or Local Mirror
There I said it. Now, I’m not going to define up front what exactly it is I mean by cool, especially considering that my notion of cool is probably way out of alignment with yours but I think we all have some fundamental understanding of what cool is, right? Simon and I work with students from an array of different cultural backgrounds yet until quite recently all students would agree that Apple is cool and Android is not. This presents us with a real challenge in evaluating our software -which has been developed exclusively for the Android platform- as most of our students tend to own Apple hardware. When we asked the students about their preference for Apple technology they simply responded that “Apple was best”. While this simple statement would have been true just two years ago the landscape has shifted in Androids favour. With recent offerings from the Android camp such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the LG Nexus 4 Apple is no longer the clear winner in the mobile market. Yet, many of our students still prefer Apple devices. We could of course argue that this is merely a matter of personal preference. However, we have noticed that many of our students tend to use their mobile devices as simple telephones. No apps, no email, no internet browsing, just good old telephone conversations and maybe the odd text message here and there. In fact, while many of our students have the latest iPhones many of them have no idea how to access the App store let alone download Apps. This has led us to investigate the hows and why’s of our students mobile technology choices and habits.
What is Toponimo?
Toponimo is a crowd-sourced location-based dictionary for language learning. The Toponimo project has developed out-of-classroom collaborative activities using Toponimo software with NFC and GPS enabled mobile devices. Our vocabulary scavenger hunts use interactive posters embedded with NFC tags. Toponimo has been designed to be used inside or outside of buildings. We are running workshops to help students and teachers design their own activities using NFC tags.
Who needs Toponimo?
Toponimo is for language teachers and for anyone wanting to learn a new language. Our present activities have been designed for our International students who are studying the English language but we are looking for European partners via the European Grundtvig programme to replicate the methodology across all European languages.
Why is it innovative?
Toponimo is an innovating and original teaching and learning tool for teachers and students. It is the only app which links language learning tasks to a crowd-sourced location-based dictionary. Toponimo will help lead the shift from the traditional teacher-led classroom to real-life language learning experiences centred on students’ interests. Toponimo provides the opportunity for students to contextualise language at different locations and will make vocabulary easier to understand, learn and remember. Toponimo bridges the gap between formal and non-formal education and fosters autonomous learning. Toponimo increases the quality, variety and excitement of learning a foreign language.