The participants of the event comprised two groups: 1) policy makers, researchers and teachers who were invited, registered and came to the venue of the Forum (45 people from various state, governmental and educational institutions; 14 people from Academic and administrative staff of Vilnius University); and 2) teachers, researchers and educators who registered and followed the event online (28). See Annexes 1,2,3- Lists of participants.
The Forum “Digital literacy as Quality Assurance in Language Teaching/ Erasmus+ Quill project Multiplier Event” was held in the Visitor Centre of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (60 Gediminas Avenue); the Patron of the Forum was Prof. Raimundas Lopata, Chairman of the Future Committee of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.
The event was broadcast live so that all the ONLINE registered participants could follow the speakers and take part in discussions. The recording of the event is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smqOScwqoPE.
The total number of the Forum participants was 73 (45 – on site; 28 – on line); among the speakers were the representatives of the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania; the LR Seimas ( Parliament); the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport; the National Agency for Education; the EdTECH Association; the Lithuanian Language Teachers Association.
The majority of the participants were language teachers and researchers of the main universities and colleges of Lithuania, namely, Vytautas Magnus University, Vilnius University, Klaipeda University, Vilnius Kolegija – Vilnius University of Applied Sciences, Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius College of Technologies and Design, ISM and some other educational institutions, including non-formal education. About one third of the participants represented gymnasiums and secondary schools of Lithuania, also language schools and language centres.
Over 40 percent of the participants were acquainted with the project as they had taken part in the teacher training and testing of the QUILL Intellectual Outputs 1 and 2 in November-December 2022. The majority of the participants were teachers of English and Lithuanian; there were also teachers of Spanish, Latvian, French, German, Russian.
The Forum started with introductory speeches that covered the topics of technology and language learning and teaching from different angles; the speeches were delivered by representatives from: the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (Vilma Bačkiūtė), the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport (Justina Kugytė), the Future Committee of the Parliament (Prof. Arūnas Augustinaitis), the Dean of the Faculty of Philology at Vilnius University (Prof. Inesa Šeškauskienė), and the President of PIXEL (Dr. Elisabetta Delle Donne) who spoke about the origin of the Quill project idea, the project relevance to the innovative developments in language learning in HE, as well as the sustainability of the project achievements in the long term.
Thecontent of the Forum can be divided into three parts. Firstly, the audience was introduced to the digitisation strategy of education in the Republic of Lithuania; some case studies on how it is already being implemented were reviewed. Secondly, the intellectual outputs (IO) of the Erasmus+ project 'QuILL – Quality in Language Teaching' (https://quill.pixel-online.org/) produced by the language lecturers of the Faculty of Philology at Vilnius University in cooperation with Partner colleagues were presented to the audience. The impact of these IO in line with the changes taking place in the country, both in education policy and language pedagogy was discussed. Thirdly, examples of good practice while applying 'QuILL' outputs to language classes were shared, and the future perspectives of language teaching and teacher training were highlighted.
Šarūnas Dignaitis, Head of the 'EdTech Lithuania' Association, provided an overview of the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation of education, Algimantas Kartočius, Coordinator of the 'EdTech Centre' of the 'National Agency for Education' outlined the opportunities for educators for professional development at the 'EdTech Centre'. Loreta Chodzkienė, Institutional Coordinator of the 'QuILL – Quality of Language Teaching' project, highlighted the contribution of the language teaching communities in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania to the development of the project’s intellectual outputs; besides, the closer analysis of the project products ( OERs database, e-training package and publication) and their applicability in a range of teaching and learning contexts was offered to the audience. The overview of the end-users’ ( teachers and learners) feedback that was collected further to the Quill IOs testing was presented. Ernesta Kazakėnaitė, lecturer of the Faculty of Philology of Vilnius University, shared examples of good practice in the application of the QuILL intellectual outputs in teaching languages for general and specific purposes. Prof. Mariam Manjgaladze from Caucasus University, Georgia (Sakartvelo), who taught Georgian at Vilnius University a few years ago, gave an overview of the situation of teaching Georgian as a foreign language at higher education institutions in her country. We were privileged to be joined by the academic coordinator of the whole QuILL initiative, Dr. Elisabete Mendes Silva, who spoke from Braganca (Portugal) about the outcomes of the cooperation of all the project partners.
Daiva Pagojienė from Klaipėda University drew the audience's attention to the situation of teaching Lithuanian as a non-native language and the rather limited choice of digital resources in Lithuanian. She encouraged cooperation between the Lithuanian universities in storing, sharing and creating open educational resources. Vigilija Žiūraitė, a PhD student at VMU, shared her experience on how to teach languages innovatively using ICT tools,; she provided a wealth of practical examples of digital tools and apps that are adapted to the specific needs of a class. The presentation prepared by Agnė Juškevičienė, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of VU, and Vitalija Kazlauskienė, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philology of VU, introduced the participants to the future digitisation of educational content, with a particular focus on language teacher training.
The Forum participants asked questions about the impact of technologies on social skills, health and interaction patterns between learners and teachers, about teacher training and teacher support; about combined efforts in promoting open educational resources and learning platforms between universities and countries, within national international projects framework.
The concluding exchange of opinions proved the importance of the QuILL intellectual outputs for the current and future transformation processes at all levels of language education, including teaching languages for specific purposes. The 6-hour event was included in the Life long Learning Teacher Qualification Updating programme of Vilnius University; apart from taking part in the Forum discussions, the onsite participants had to try out the project products and fill in the end-user questionnaires.