In the coming decade professionals will need to master the language and understand the culture of at least one other country in the global society. Interactive language learning, backed by global networks, is one promising way to bring a learner into close contact with the target language region, without the learner having to spend long periods abroad.
Those users already in the labour force have to be addressed by innovative, more attractive and more efficient offers if they are to learn or improve their use of foreign languages and to communicate successfully with people from other cultural environments. These offers have to be available at the time when these abilities are needed, near to the workplace, easily accessible, irrespective of geographic location. In addition they must be inexpensive and quality guaranteed.
Cultural knowledge and awareness must also include less frequently used languages, professional "sub-cultures" and terminology in a variety of fields to achieve a better understanding of the economic, legal, social and cultural embedding.
Young people in initial education need language and transcultural learning which will cover a wider scope of languages - including the less frequently used ones, in their area, an environment to practice frequently language and transcultural knowledge with real people from other countries, thus really preparing them for demand-oriented transcultural contacts, with which they will be confronted in their professional career as well as in private life.
Only digital networks envisaged with the development towards a "global information society" will offer a chance to master their enormous global challenge:
The objective is to have an inventory of available electronic and digital resource (Internet servers) to be able to make them available to the users of the G7 Pilot server. The data gathered must be usable for tans-cultural language learning. The following servers have been analysed:
Let us quote the procedures used:
First: designated National Co-ordinators from the different participating countries will write a "national" report and synthesis of the state of the art.
A second approach is to write to persons within identified networks. They are asked about either data or database references (server-based) or even about additional contact persons susceptible of giving such information.
A last procedure is to perform a search on the WEB, on the basis of the information gathered through the informers of point 2 are known by the national co-ordinator, which may give additional links to other resources. With the additional help of WEB search engines, additional relevant information can be gathered for a better description of available resources.
Switzerland has committed itself only to the WP 4 and 8 they cover the following fields:
Since, at this stage, we are dealing with a mere feasibility study, the aim is not to make a full-scale analysis. It is more important to give a meaningful selection of existing user-oriented resource to be able to issue recommendations and guide-lines for the G7 pilot server.
The TEL*LINGUA studies will prepare respective recommendations, based on a coherent TEL*LINGUA analysis of experiences, results and insights collected in the different countries.
The Turin conference will discuss all guidelines and recommendations for actions proposed in detail (through workshops and round tables), modify and complete them wherever necessary and provide a broad consensus needed for success.
The G7 Theme 3 is jointly co-ordinated by France and Germany. The feasibility
study TEL*LINGUA is carried by all G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, UK and USA), other European Union Member sates (Greece, the
Nordic countries, Portugal, Spain), Australia and Switzerland.
Raymond Morel is the Director of the Educational Technology Centre (C.I.P.) of the Department for Public Education (DIP) of Geneva. This centre is operated by teachers and specialists for the development and implementation of new technology activities as well as for applying new technology and electronic networking in learning and training. The range of services provided supports all actors of the teaching community.
P. Dunand Filliol is research associate at TECFA is an academic unit active in the field of educational technology. It belongs to the School of Psychology and Education (Faculté de Psychologie et des Sciences de l'Education) of the University of Geneva. It is directed by Professor Patrick Mendelsohn and includes about 12 collaborators. TECFA's research covers a large area of interests, including: cognitive issues in learning technology, applications of artificial intelligence to education, cognitive effects of educational software, computer mediated communication and information systems in education, multimedia courseware, and distance education.
OFES (Berne) for the Swiss participation.
For Switzerland, a Feasibility Report has been written and has served as basis for discussions during a G7 consensus conference in Turin (Italy), October 7-8, 1996. The heading of this meeting on transcultural language education and training was worded as follows: "Learning Innovations for Better Global Understanding and Awareness" and was preparing the ground for a global pilot programme to be implemented over a 3-year period (1997-2000).
For more information...
Write to Pierre Dunand Filliol.