Written by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Professor of Learning Technology, reposted from openTEL.
Today the Open University organises a public roundtable at the Migration Museum in London on ‘Technology-enabled Language Education for Migrants and Refugees in the UK’ led by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Professor of Learning Technology and Communication in the Institute of Educational Technology.
Across the globe, increasing numbers of migrants and refugees are making use of online and mobile resources to catch up with interrupted education and to support their language learning. Our research on the MASELTOV and SALSA projects has demonstrated that mobile social learning is very well aligned with the needs of newcomers to a town or city, supporting their language learning and social inclusion. But not enough newcomers have the chance to experience this kind of learning, despite many of them having ready access to smartphones.
We shared our experiences from these and other projects at a recent British Council conference on “Language for Resilience” held in Buenos Aires. Argentina has an outstanding track record in welcoming refugees and we were able to admire the efficacy of their online Spanish language teaching which reaches refugees dispersed across the country. The conference, sponsored by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), brought together leaders of civil society, international organizations, academics, government representatives and teachers, to share best practices, approaches, and principles.
In one session, refugees spoke about their everyday experiences and their use of mobiles. In the face of the current refugee crisis, language programmes have the potential to increase resilience at all levels of a community, and appropriate use of technology can extend the reach and scope of these initiatives. But more needs to be done to facilitate effective use of technology and remove multiple barriers to more widespread use.
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