The Portuguese Multiplier Event took place at the Polytechnic Institute in Bragança (IPB) on the 3rd of February 2023, and was attended by 54 national and international participants., apart from the 6 guest speakers and the Portuguese team (6 people). Some of them had registered for it online and most came from other institutions than the IPB, including higher education lecturers, secondary school teachers, national and local policy makers in the field of education and technology as well as researchers. The event was a stand-alone event and lasted six hours. The participants received previous information on the project through the website, social media and mailing. After checking in at the conference, participants received a pamphlet and some extra information on the multiplier event.
After the welcoming session there was a brief presentation and overview of the project’s aims and outputs, which were to be developed and delved into throughout the day, namely addressing the problem of the scarce existence of teaching sources within the field of languages for specific/technical purposes, enhancing HE lecturers’ digital literacy and help them to get the most of digital technologies, supplying HE language lecturers with open educational resources (OER) and digital language teaching sources thoroughly identified, selected and assessed according to high quality level and focusing in particular on Language for Specific Purpose (LSP). Apart from that, the aim was also to provide HE lecturers with the skills for developing and implementing innovative pedagogies provided by the e-learning context and for teaching with pedagogical reliable quality material, having in mind the specificities of the courses they are teaching as well as contributing to the implementation of digital technologies and innovative methods in language teaching at systemic level in HE.
During the first plenary session the keynote speaker focused on the role of mother tongues in the learning of other languages, providing examples from several European and non-European languages and stimulating ideas about how learners actually learn languages.
The second plenary speaker contributed with the insight into Technology enhanced LSP: realities and challenges in the Portuguese Higher education system, following the example from the Language Centre at Minho University in Braga.
After lunch, a Roundtable took place about Teaching approaches and practices using digital technologies. Each of the participants presented about the use of digital technologies in their own context and elaborated on the way they can be included in everyday teaching and learning. The moderator kept the discussion alive through questioning strategies which also involved the participants of the multiplier event.
According to the programme, the Portuguese team then presented the project’s intellectual outputs with examples and providing time for the participants to explore the database, the training package and to view the publication. This was achieved because participants had access to mobile devices. A lot of emphasis was placed on how to identify and select quality digital technologies based language teaching sources, how to implement and effectively use ICT based language teaching materials in a classroom based and blended based environment, how to create new and customize digital technologies based teaching sources for language teaching sources. These topics are addressed in the training package (IO2), but also, on a more practical level, in IO1 (database of resources). IO3 was identified as a guideline and good practice proposal to managerial staff of Higher Education Institutions, policy makers as well as language lecturers. Some time was spent on explaining some current methodologies which are easily usable and adapted to HE but also to other levels of teaching and learning, thus contributing to transferability and possibly sustainability of the project.
After this part of the programme participants assessed the outputs.
The state secretary for Regional Development was invited to the event but unfortunately could not attend due to last minute governmental engagements.
The ME led us to conclude that there is some demand for these issues to be shared among lecturers and teachers, since some have delved into them, but had never had any access to rules or guidelines to be followed which could give them some theoretical background but also a practical, validated and tested approach. Policy makers and other stakeholders considered the event useful because it provided input as well as output regarding Language for Specific Purposes and the use of technology enhanced scenarios, which became emergent during the pandemic outbreak, but have definitely found its place in classrooms and other learning scenarios.