In times of globalisation and increasing migration, cultural and linguistic diversity are characteristics of any society. Supporting multilingualism and making use of all possible linguistic resources are among the most challenging but also the most auspicious endeavours of 21st century education. Language learning is particularly important for people whose lack of linguistic resources creates barriers in education, qualification and professional development. Reducing these barriers through providing as many people as possible with the opportunity to learn, whenever and wherever they are ready to learn, with the help of open-source materials, is what motivated us to join forces across European borders to develop the PALM platform.
Through the Erasmus+ PALM project, 6- to 14-year-old speakers of English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Ladin and Spanish have produced authentic texts at school or in their free-time. Teacher trainees then used these authentic materials about the kids’ everyday lives and interests to develop listening and reading tasks, learning materials and gamified on-line activities to accompany the texts. All these resources have been uploaded to the PALM platform, providing ongoing opportunities for learners of similar ages to use authentic materials authored by their peers to make their own language learning more enjoyable and more effective.
Sharing materials from pupils in their first and additional languages with language learners of similar ages through the new communication media that they are familiar with will provide increased motivation, as well as supporting the development of 21st Century skills and multilingualism
The platform provides immediate feedback on listening and reading competence, while the online activities encourage self- and peer-assessment. In a controlled chat forum, users can comment on texts and tasks and give stars to show how popular texts are.
For teachers, learning and teaching materials and assessment tools are available alongside the authentic input texts on the platform. All the materials and associated tasks have been piloted and quality assured with the help of our partners and associated schools.
During the project, international meetings and a junior symposium for pupils provided opportunities for plurilingual and intercultural exchange between language ambassadors.
The pupils in this project speak, in their everyday, out-of-school language use, one or more of English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Ladin and Spanish and attend schools in Austria, Cyprus, Hungary, Italy and the UK. Their teachers not only supervised them in text production and selection during PALM ‘moderating boards’, but could also benefit from the links established to the universities and colleges of teacher education where the learning materials for the platform were generated.
The Erasmus+ PALM platform was developed in the context of an Erasmus+ Action 2 project coordinated by the University College of Teacher Education in Lower Austria.
The platform provides immediate feedback on listening and reading competence while on-line activities encourage self- and peer assessment. In a controlled chat forum, users can comment on texts and tasks and give stars to show how popular texts are.
The following schools and higher education institutions created PALM in a three-year collaboration between 2015 and 2018:
Free University of Bolzano
Norwich Institute for Language Education, UK
University College of Teacher Education Burgenland
Academic Secondary School Stainach
Bilingual Junior High School Wiener Neustadt
Istituto Comprensivo Bolzano 1 Centro Storico
Vienna International School, Primary Section
Catton Grove Primary School, Norwich
Junior High School Carlbergergasse, Vienna
La Scuola Primaria Rosmini
Practice School of the University College of Teacher Education in Lower Austria, Primary & Secondary Section
Primary School Pefkios Georgiades, Nicosia
PTE-IGY Gyakorlóiskola, Pècs
Scuola bilingue MILE, Milano
Open Academy, Norwich
St David's School, Uruguay