This presentation reports on a one-year longitudinal study that adopted a blended teaching approach and aimed at designing and implementing an online EFL course to be used by students aged 13-16 years old along our more traditional face-to-face lessons. The reason for creating a more dynamic learning environment aligned with the rest of the curriculum was to increase EFL learners’ engagement and motivation through their exposure to authentic material and participation in real-life tasks. To this end a number of online activities were designed including: a) an on-line Omnium classroom with on-line handouts, extra activities, resources and discussion groups for students to further develop their digital literacy along with their English language competence, b) a wiki on Healthy & Unhealthy Eating Habits for students to make a contribution and post their own messages on the specific topic, c) a series of group discussions with invited external guest speakers, d) a private YouTube space for students to upload their videos and watch relevant EFL material. From my experience as an active EFL teacher, using open access technologies gave my EFL students the opportunity to enhance their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills while practicing their critical thinking and collaboration skills. Without doubt, my online class components were not designed around the tools, attempting to fit the online tools into my lesson, but rather served the learning objectives of my lesson based on a blended teaching approach, in which face-to-face and online learning activities were relevant to and complemented one another.
Trisevgeni Liontou, Greek Ministry of Education, Greece