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COOL a project in the Pools family.

Cool (Clil Open Online Learning) is developing a web3 service where a teacher can paste in text, select the language of the text, add graphics and video, create or attach language exercises/assignments and then automatically create an online webpage with all words linked to free dictionaries in +100 languages. 

The teachers access to Clilstore will be simplified so the present database look will be replaced with easier/intuitive choices. The students access will likewise be simplified, e.g. the first step for a newcomer will be to select language and level thus avoiding having to browse through thousands of units in many languages.

All the COOL outcomes are free to use (Copyleft)

Ongoing improvements

The Clilstore interface is now undergoing major changes. The team leader for this is Paula Harris, the software implementation of the design is being implemented by Yerany Hernandez. Yerany is working on a separate version of Clilstore, so users visiting the classic Clilstore will not meet the new design. You can have a peek at the new version from https://yerany.multidict.net 

The above screen shot shows the July version of the design work on the Clilstore interface 

Development of a new help function

Part of the outcomes planned in the COOL project are help videos in Danish, English, Irish, Italian, and Spanish. The aim is that videos will be available wherever a user needs help or information for using or authoring Clilstore units
The above screen shows the first version of instructions showing the options from the Clilstore entry page.

You can watch the first videos in:
Danish: https://youtu.be/IiMsjENyzJo
English: https://youtu.be/gAA9PDxhr6E
Italian: https://youtu.be/y5wl8rWqr4g

Clilstore portfolio for students

Clilstore will soon be offering students a portfolio system, where they after having registered can save and comment on their work and achievements.


A sample of the new portfolio integration with Clilstore


For each of the units that has been worked on students, who have registered to Clilstore, can put in comments and also upload additional files like answers to assignments.

Project cooperation

During the Corona lockdown period the partners have had to postpone face to face meetings and used different online systems like Zoom, Skype, BlackBoard, and Microsoft Teams.


The work on the planned portfolio system in Clilstore was started with a Zoom presentation.


From Caoimhín Ó Donnaíle, the software engineer

Non-techies can ignore this message. This is a technical note emerging from the new Manx units which I created in Clilstore. It relates to a problem which I think I have now solved, relating to playing soundfiles which are attached to Clilstore units. I think I have solved the problem on the Clilstore website, but you can still see it in evidence on the Three Monks Old Irish Joke website, in this page for example:
http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/sengoidelc/donncha/tm/ilteangach/?teanga=sco  

If you look at this page with Firefox or Edge and play the soundfile, then you can use the sound controls as you would expect, to move the playback point back a bit and listen again to the previous few seconds, or to move the playback point forward to near the end of the sound recording. In Google Chrome, though, or in any of the browsers based on Google Chrome, such as Vivaldi, Opera and the Android browser, this does not work at all. All you can do is to move the sound right back to the beginning again. None of the other sound control works at all.  

This is bad enough in a 30 second joke, but for it to happen in a soundfile attached to a Clilstore unit it is absolutely dreadful. When you are learning a language and trying to understand something difficult, you would probably want to go back often and listen to the previous sentence or two again, perhaps after looking up a couple of words in the dictionary. You would not want to have to go right back to the beginning again every time in a recording which could be ten minutes long. For this to be happening with Google Chrome, the most used browser in the world, is unacceptable. The problem does not happen with soundfiles which are stored in dedicated audio stores such as Soundcloud, nor with static soundfiles on the multidict.net website, but only with soundfiles which are attached to Clilstore units and stored in the Clilstore database. It is normally best to store soundfiles somewhere like Soundcloud to avoid cluttering Clilstore up with big media files, but there can be valid reasons for attaching them to Clilstore units as I have done in the new Manx units.  

When I first spotted the problem, I thought that I would be able to quickly find a solution by searching on WWW, as usually happens. In fact, it turned out to be a really obscure problem requiring lots of detective work. It turns out that Google Chrome refuses these days to provide working sound controls unless the server does what Google Chrome wants and serves up what is called “partial content”. Normally, when a webserver is asked for a file, it returns the whole file, but there is a newish, little-known facility whereby the browser can ask the server to return something like just, say, “bytes 25000 to 45000” of the file. Google Chrome doesn’t have to insist on this. It clearly has the whole soundfile to hand and could easily provide working sound controls for it. But Google must have a campaign going to force webservers to serve up partial content when requested. Google is big and powerful enough to be able to force changes in the computing world in this way. Google also has a campaign going to force a change from http to https, and it is becoming more and more obstinate in disdaining content which is not provided by https.  

Once I worked out what was wrong, I was able to program a solution which works - I think. But I would be glad if people could keep an eye open for problems with sound controls in Clilstore, and let me know if anything seems to be going wrong.  

Le deagh dhùrachd,
Caoimhín (Skye)

CLILSTORE demo delivered to an international audience

 

In June Caoimhín Ó Dónaill from the Ulster COOL team delivered a Clilstore demo at the Disrupting Digital Monolingualism workshop (https://languageacts.org/digital-mediations/event/disrupting-digital-monolingualism/). This event was due to be held at King's College London on 16-17 June, but was switched to a fully online format owing to the Covid 19 pandemic. Over 300 language practitioners from around the globe registered to attend the virtual workshop which was aimed at those working in: 'modern languages and linguistics; multilingualism research (including endangered or minority languages and community languages); digital cultural heritage; digital humanities; new media and internet research; critical digital infrastructure studies; digital policy; translation studies; AI, machine learning and NLP'.

Caoimhín's demo highlighted how the COOL Project aims to provide a platform that will suit a wide variety of language learning contexts and in particular how it has already demonstrated a commitment to languages and sectors that are not typically well served by courseware creators. It was hoped that the attendees would also take a keen interest in the project's dedication to localization.The workshop organisers will provide links to recordings of the presentations on their website. An abstract of Caoimhín's demo can be read here:
https://languageacts.org/digital-mediations/event/disrupting-digital-monolingualism/programme/abstracts-demos/

Repurposing materials from 2005 

"4More Production", a new Clilstore Unit in Danish presenting a case for learning how to write a business plan. The case is based on a video recorded in 2005, in 2013 video and text were used for a task made in the first version of Clilstore. This new 2020 version shows new possibilities in Clilstore, including embedding a crossword puzzle prepared in Learningapps.org (web3 interaction). Go to the unit: http://multidict.net/cs/904

LSSEV has been working on a new art unit which has been recently published on Clilstore.

The topic is Canaletto and the eighteenth century Italian “vedutisti” painting. The unit develops a path starting from the fifteenth century artists Bellini and Carpaccio whose landscapes were just a background for the main figure in the painting getting to the view as the true subject of the work thanks to Vermeer and later Gaspar Vanvittel. Vanvittel influenced Luca Carlevaris first and then Canaletto whose use of the “camera obscura” anticipates the Age of the Enlightenment.

Bernardo Bellotto's landscapes are even more clear and similar to photographs, while Francesco Guardi introduces a more fantastic and dreamlike vision which is closer to Romanticism and conveys a feeling of nostalgia for the lost greatness of Venice.

The unit contains three videos, some links with comments on the works and five exercises. It is also possible to browse through a catalogue of printings.

The topic is connected with two other units in the Italian section of Clilstore about Vivaldi and Scarlatti. The three units are not yet directly linked one to the other but the team is working on it.

Clilstore has proved to be a valuable resource in particular during the recent lockdown period in Italy.

LSSEV has been using the platform as a didactic tool to make lessons at home more interesting and involving and to boost our students' skills in reading, listening and learning some new vocabulary. The choice of topics is wide and teachers have been experimenting in particular in English, Art and Economics.

At the end of the schoolyear a survey was carried out among fourth-grade students who had been actually working on Clilstore on a more regular basis which gave very satisfactory results.

On a scale from one to ten, the average was eight. Most students find the resource useful and interesting and think that it can successfully integrate our didactic work.

Go to the unit here: https://multidict.net/cs/8397

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POOLS · Ternevej 78 · Snestrup · Odense NV 5210 · Denmark

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