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Title: Language learning during a pandemic: student engagement and communicative competence development through technology-based activities
Author: Simões, Anabela Valente
Keywords: Language teaching strategies
English as a Foreign Language
Communicative competence
Digital competence
Covid-19 pandemic
Online learning
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: IATED
Abstract: In its Employment Outlook 2019 report, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) acknowledged that the world was changing at lightning speed, projecting that one-third of all jobs worldwide would likely be transformed by technology by 2030 [1]. In January 2020, the World Economic Forum reinforced that, consequently, the world was facing a reskilling emergency: due to the inevitable rise of technology, and to ensure the future of our economy, more than 1 billion would need to drive an important reskilling effort – not only in terms of high-tech skills but also specialised interpersonal skills would also be in high demand [2]. Little did we know, that the future would arrive sooner than expected. Digitalisation and globalisation had already been transforming how we lived and worked, but the coronavirus crisis has accelerated changes in a way we could not have imagined before. The current pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to many sectors. In the field of education, it has led to the largest disruption in history, affecting more than 95% of the world’s student population [3]. Simultaneously, it also forced us to readjust our sails and think of new approaches to lessen the negative impacts. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with the distinctive rise of e-Learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms [4]. Above all, and despite the potential of these technological tools, it has also reminded us of why face-to-face interaction is a fundamental and most effective form of communication, especially in language learning environments. This paper aims to describe a project-based assignment developed within one of the Business English courses held at the School of Technology and Management of the University of Aveiro, during the 2nd semester of the academic year 2020/2021 and amidst the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus disease. This group activity – a documentary on the impact of technology on life and work – aimed, on the one hand, at contributing to the improvement of students’ communicative competence in English and, on the other hand, at the development of key transferable skills, such as i) Digital competence and ii) Personal, social and learning to learn competence (as set out in the Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning). In addition to the detailed description of the assignment, this paper also aims to present the results of a survey on students’ perception of the carried out activities. The gathered data indicate that students perceived the proposed tasks as highly rewarding and that both technical and interpersonal competencies were successfully addressed.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.21125/iceri.2021.2153
ISBN: 978-84-09-34549-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Appears in Collections:ESTGA - Comunicações
CLLC - Capítulo de livro

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