More than a tool

eLearning is changing the way Greek language is taught

Teaching and learning the Greek language in Australia in 2012 has never been more dependent on the assistance of technology to deliver and assess the language. The materials, methodology, assessment of written and oral work requirements now available can inspire and support young and older learners to develop and improve their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills more than ever before.

Learning Greek with the Victorian School of Languages which has a long tradition in Distance Education in particular, has depended upon and been supported by a vast and growing variety of multimedia, which enrich the lessons and engage students to fulfil their true potential, thus improve their level of confidence to learn.
Teaching and learning in any classroom within any subject today is highly dependent on the support and knowledge provided by the internet and a variety of educational websites and technologies. Distance Education has been the leader in this delivery and engagement of language learning via the assistance of technology in Victoria and beyond.

Despite such an extensive involvement with many technologies, the human element and relationship developed between the student and the teacher can never be underestimated.

This dynamic relationship relies upon the engagement of interpersonal skills which can make or break the future study of any student. The new technologies and the use of eLearning can certainly enhance the future prospects of language study, but the human element is irreplaceable, no doubt.
Distance Education students communicate and produce assessment tasks by telephone, email, Skype, video conferencing, audio recordings and PowerPoint Presentations to improve reading, listening, writing and responding to a variety of online activities in all the forms of the Greek language.
The variety of eLearning support can begin with the vast selection of resources from the University of Rethimno in Crete, which can be downloaded from their official website, uoc.gr/diaspora
These resources cover a vast spectrum of levels, from beginners to advanced, providing written, listening and interactive activities, in order to engage students to engage further so as to enhance their Greek studies.

here are links to these resources and many more on the Greek Education Office of the Greek Consulate website, eduoff-melbourne.world.sch.gr
There are also links to Greek grammar texts and activities. On this website, teachers can find further teaching materials and links to useful websites which will empower and extend students further. There are online dictionaries and Google offers its own, but a good teacher will empower and convince students to develop good hand skills with the use of the dictionary, as required in assessments and examinations. Listening to quality Greek radio and television satellite programs, news and documentaries are a very useful recourse, that will bring the Greek student in contact with the current Greek-speaking worlds and the motherland.

Certainly facebook, skype and Youtube provide much excitement and sharing of important social and educational information, which we as teachers need to be mindful of and incorporate into our teaching methodology.
Podcasts and Vodcasts created by the teacher and the student for specific purposes will always promise to engage the most reluctant learner. Google and Youtube are hot favourites, but most educators cannot access these from their school network, much time and effort needs to be devoted to searching what is available on each specific topic covered.
The treasure of the ERT archive on line, www.ert-archives.gr, serviced by the Greek Government television station, can be shared by anyone anytime, at any corner of the globe to educate, entertain and inspire on most Greek topics imaginable, with films, documentaries and news broadcasts of arts and cultural treasures, which can all enhance the eTeaching and eLearning experience.

Another online tool is the Languages Online website, www.education.vic.gov.au/languagesonline, with educational electronic games and vocabulary builders, together with Cartoon Story Maker, and much more. These are excellent tools for the teacher and the student to further enrich and develop their language skills.
It is without a doubt that the eLearning factor cannot be ignored in any classroom today, let alone in a live language class like that of the Hellenic language, culture and the real world today.
For more information on eTeaching and eLearning you can ring 03 94740500.

* Maria Foscolos is a teacher and course writer of Greek language at the Victorian School of Languages