Work Package 5-Professional Development


Description of the work package


Although this work package officially started on May 31, 2020, it was actually considered as open from the beginning of the project. Especially the Work Package Leader Pedagogical University of Krakow reminded all the partners about the teacher’s perspective on each work package and output. The detailed Teacher’s manual provided for teachers for I-BEE-VR Course was created in such a way that the teacher as the course instructor would never feel lost. Despite the fact that the Teacher’s Manual was prepared under 06- Electronic Materials, it was revised and refined according to the feedback taken from the teachers who piloted the course and senior lecturers from each institution and thus it is evident that the channel of communication between the teachers were always open and led to productive results. This output would be a sustainable guide for prospective teachers who will be a part of this experience.


As part of the professional development, following the Transnational Meeting hosted online by Ecole Centrale de Lille on September 8, 2020, a short-term training event was conducted which lasted three days between 9 September-11 September, 2020. The transnational meeting details will be given under a separate title under Dissemination results. The training was organized by Pedagogical University of Krakow and contributed by all the partners, specifically the host institution, Ecole Centrale de Lille, the coordinating institution, Istanbul Technical University and PANDORA AR VR by giving a presentation on Virtual Reality. The number of participants who attended the training was 29 in total and 20 of them were funded participants.


Since the course uses the platform Moodle, the training gave a significant place for Moodle. The Moodle training sessions were followed by group practice sessions. Presentations regarding Moodle were given by Ewa Zarcyka-Piskorz an Renata Iwan, both of whom were researchers of the project from Pedagogical University of Krakow. A virtual Reality Set-up and Equipment Presentation was also given. These presentations were followed by a Virtual Reality Training Session and since the course is a living organism and would further alterations or additions for each student and/or class, presentations for other online tools which could be integrated into the course were also conducted and these were also completed by group practice. The training documents would be further used for teachers who will teach the course in the future.


The second training for the teachers was conducted on 14-15 July 2021, online. It was intended as a webinar in the submitted project document and it was led by University of Vienna since it was posterior to the refinement package led by this institution and Polytechnical University of Catalonia who were supposed to be the hosting institution in the project document. The number of participants to the training was 18. The activity was planned as a short-term training event before the face to face implementation of the course. The agenda could be accessed here. It was planned to have been held in February. However, in TRM 6 in Vienna- (February 20-21 2021), it was clearly seen that it was impossible to conduct classes face to face due to force majeure caused by Covid-19 pandemic. In the coordinating institution and in partner institutions, both the administrative authorities of the country and the managing authorities of the institutions wanted the education to be online (especially language classes). Therefore, it was thought that the initial training prepared all the teachers well for the online implementation of the course and it was hoped that a face to face semester would be experienced in September 2021, it was determined that the second short term training would be held in July. The training was initiated by a welcoming speech by Julia Huettner (UNIVIE) and an expert on Virtual Reality Technologies, Hilmi Özdemir gave a workshop in order to make the future teachers of the course to gain VR technical hands-on experience and to learn how to upload raw files, how to operate the goggles. Some of the partners had access to their VR equipment and they had a practical session and the partners who did not have access had a comprehensive theoretical session and the presenter would share a manual on the use of VR equipment with all the partners in order for the prospective teachers to gain knowledge before they teach. This workshop was followed by a long Question and Answer Session on common problems that can be expected and  some troubleshooting ideas and hints were given. The second day of the training was initiated with a presentation given by İmge Şahin Girtten (ITU) on a review of recent publications on VR in language teaching. This session led to many thought-provoking ideas for further research in the classrooms of all the partner institutions. This session was followed by an overview of implementation of whole course post-refinement: Results of the interviews administered among ITU students during the spring semester 2021 and after the comprehensive analysis of these results, future implications of these results were discussed. This session was complemented with the presentation of survey results conducted by UPC to all the students who took the class and the implications and the conclusions were almost similar to the interview results. This session was followed by the presentation which shared the analysis of the teacher surveys conducted both by ITU and UPC which complemented the results of the student surveys and interviews and future implication were discussed. A discussion followed these sessions the focus of which was the coherence of the modules and neither the teachers nor the students shared concerns about the coherence although both groups mentioned the repetitions which actually did not obstruct learning but improve it. Discussion of experiences with implementing individual modules and implications for further practice followed these sessions. Each module was delved deeply by the teachers of that module and these were taken as notes and since these should stay for further practice a restricted Facebook page was created by ITU in order to share experiences. The training was finalized by talking about how to implement the course and possible adaptations at different institutions. It would be a language course for ITU, ECL and UPC with some modifications due to the levels of the students or time allocations and a “how to teach a VR course” course for to-be teachers in UNIVIE and UP. The training documents would be accessible to prospective teachers of the course.