Developing characters for E-nordisk

august 18th, 2011

One of the problems learners of Scandinavian languages from the Baltic countries are facing is that learning materials are targeted at immigrants from other countries than the Baltic states who Baltic learners find difficult to relate to. Therefore, one focus of E-nordisk was on developing characters that learners would find easier to identify themselves with. Sometimes a little funny and wild, Andrej, Kristi, Marius, Tatjana and Vilis all come from the Baltic states and are trying to find their way into Norwegian and Danish society. This work has been true team work with every single partner contributing to either their description or art work.

Meet some of them:

Vilis, the wild one from Latvia

Andrej, the skilled family father from Lithuania:

Kristi, the adventerous one from Estonia:

Inga Mölder, OÜ Estnorlink

Team work

august 16th, 2011

These days, everybody loves international projects. There is something special about being part of an international project team, getting to know competent people working in the same field as you from other countries, and learning from them. However, what one often forgets is that being part of a project that aims to produce an actual solution for some problem or other also means hard work. I have been very impressed by our partners in E-nordisk who have been contributing their time and effort to this ambitious project that we set out to achieve two years ago.

My impression is that in many international projects, project work is carried out in “chunks” that are developed by project partners in their respective countries between project seminars and later glued together to one project result. In this respect, E-nordisk has been somewhat of an exception. Although a lot of content development of our e-learning programme was carried out by SIA Nordisk in Latvia, it was the Internet that was the actual working place for our partners from 6 different countries. And partners were contributing to the project continuously through this medium, developing content, evaluating and offering feedback on what had already been produced. Achieving this level of team work with only a few actual project seminars and by mostly meeting online via Skype has been a challenge for all of us. Yet, I am glad to say that it has worked, and we are on our way of completing the first step of an e-learning programme that we hope to continue developing after completion of the project. Access to the programme can be found at the project website. The programme is free of charge for learners, and the experience we have gained through this cooperation is priceless.

Inga Mölder, OÜ Estnorlink

Baltic Expro 2010, Riia 3. detsember 2010

april 15th, 2011

E-nordisk osales eelmise aasta lõpus Riias messil Baltic Expro 2010, mis tutvustas Nordplusilt ja teistelt kasulikelt fondidelt toetust saanud Balti riikide projekte. E-nordiskit olid lummetuisanud Riias tutvustamas projektijuht OÜ Estnorlink ja Läti partner SIA Nordisk. Üritus on osalejate jaoks motiveeriv – mitte ainult seetõttu, et kohapeal saab tutvuda paljude teiste projektidega, juurde uusi ideid ja kontakte, vaid ka seetõttu, et esitluseks tuleb projekti teise pilguga vaadata. Nii kasvab usk projekti positiivsesse külge, kuid välja tulevad ka need aspektid, millele oleks vaja rohkem tähelepanu pöörata. 2011. aastal on Expro korraldamise järg eestlaste käes ja kuuldavasti kavatseb SA Archimedes läbi viia hoopis virtuaalse Expro.
E-nordiski kirjeldus Expro 2010 kataloogis: E-nordisk
Pilte Exprolt (tänu SA Archimedes rõõmsameelsetele töötajatele): Baltic Expro 2010 Flickris

Inga Mölder, OÜ Estnorlink

Meeting in Tallinn, March 2011

mars 22nd, 2011

With Tallinn being the European Capital of Culture in 2011, it was only natural to organise our last project seminar in this city. Getting everyone together from all over Northern Europe requires some juggling with flight and work schedules, and the agenda planned for the seminar was pretty crowded too. We focused on content development and quality control, as well as on the visual aspects of the e-learning programme and budget allocation to allow us keep working online and via Skype after this meeting. However, we were also lucky with the weather. Although cold and snowy, it allowed us to take a walk in the city and have our closing dinner at the famous Olde Hansa in the Old Town. As project meetings have been rare occasions during the 2-year project period, discussions continued even over the dinner table.

Inga Mölder, OÜ Estnorlink

Manas domas par E-nordisk

november 29th, 2010

Es iesaistījos e-nordisk projekta darbā jau 2010. gada pavasarī un esmu viena no Bergenas universitātes pārstāvjiem. Jau vairākus gadus organizēju norvēģu valodas kursus latviešiem Bergenā, un pēc šādiem kursiem pieprasījums tikai aug. Tomēr arvien biežāk es sastopos ar cilvēkiem gan Latvijā, gan Norvēģijā, kas vēlas iemācīties norvēģu valodu, bet tas nav iespējams darba apstākļu vai liela attāluma dēļ. Tāpēc šī projekta rezultāts viņiem noteikti noderētu.

Projekta darba sanāksme Kauņā bija pirmā, kurā man bija iespēja piedalīties. Bija liels prieks iepazīties ar tiem projekta dalībniekiem, kurus es vēl klātiene nebiju satikusi, kā arī kopīgi strādājot, iedvesmot vienam otru ar jaunām idejām un risinājumiem. Šai tikšanās reizei bija arī tālejošas sekas, un lielākais darbs sākās pēc aizbraukšanas katram uz savu pusi. Es ceru, ka mums izdosies izveidot šo mācību materiālu gan satura ziņā noderīgu un interesantu, gan arī tik labi sakārtotu, lai tiem, kas mācās valodu tālmācībā, būtu viegli un interesanti darboties.

Antra Sunde, Universitetet i Bergen, Norvēģija

A few thoughts after seminar in Kaunas, October 2010

november 29th, 2010

Photo: Imants Ostašs

Two weeks have gone since I got the call from Sintija at Nordisk, and I have just returned from my first encounter with the E-nordisk Project in Kaunas. The 2-day workshop served me as an opportunity to get acquainted with the people involved in the project, more intimately with the project itself and where it is going. The time spent exploring the work environment was especially useful since it requires certain abilities to get busy with the production. It became clear to me that the concentration and management of work power, structural consolidation and the acquisition of know-how that is specific to online language-teaching will present our team with certain challenges that we will have to face in the coming months, which means valuable experience to everybody involved!

Imants Ostašs, SIA Nordisk, Latvia

Meeting at Anna’s Hotel, Latvia, February 2010

november 29th, 2010

Photo: Øyvind Rangøy

In a really nice rural winter landscape – and yet in a highly comfortable and interestingly designed hotel with good conference facilities – in Anna’s Hotel, about 60 km from Riga, we, members of E-Nordisk, a Nordplus supported project, gathered in February 2010 for one of our first meetings in the Baltic countries.

We were working together on a challenging project on developing a web based platform for language learning. The platform’s target groups are citizens in all three Baltic countries who are interested in learning Nordic languages, primarily Norwegian and Danish.

The partners from the Nordic countries represent universities in Norway, Iceland and Denmark, all of them researchers and teachers of Nordic languages as foreign or second languages. The partners from the Baltic countries represent both universities and other organisations and are, first of all, very experienced teachers/translators of Nordic languages in their countries. Thus, practitioners and researchers are trying to sort out and get to a consensus about what, how and in which ways to develop language platforms, which would be useful for citizens of the Baltic countries.

For professionals within language teaching, a range of questions has to be addressed in such a project: What kind of pedagogical approach should one choose? Grammar based or based on the thinking of communicative competence? What about the socio-cognitive development of language skills? And should we include and refer to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages?

There were several other discussion points (Which content and themes? Content and subject-based lessons? Or could we create person-based storylines and combine them with theme-based lessons?) as well as new challenges (which e-learning platforms might be useful and appropriate to step on to? and how could it be used?). The IT-skilled persons in the project facilitated the less IT-skilled partners. And even more questions arose: how to create language tasks, developing cognitive and language skills, considering learning styles, learning strategies and technical possibilities? How to create stories, pictures, photo stories, videos? The discussions and questions addressed in Anna’s Hotel in February 2010 were many.

But there was also a lot of creative – and funny – hands-on work. The partners worked in groups, tried possibilities, created funny and serious stories. And they experienced cross-linguistic and multi-cultural work in their efforts of trying to professionally develop a website.

Not surprisingly, however, we experienced some frustrations as well. It is quite a big work to create a professional website for learning Nordic languages for Baltic citizens. Maybe even a work that exceeds the framework of this project.

However, everybody at Anna’s Hotel was contributing, discussing and putting into practice. The discussions witnessed mutual interest, engagement… and the partners realized the big dimensions of designing a platform. Working from early morning to late evening – the meeting seemed to be a creative work place where ideas were developed and tried out. The physical meetings may turn out to be the places where things are getting done and developed in the collaboration….

Karen Bjerg Petersen, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark

Meeting for the first time: Work and, naturally, coffee on the peninsula of Norway, September 2009

november 29th, 2010

Photo: Øyvind Rangøy

The first meeting of the project takes place on the slightly remote isle of Rangøy, not far from Kristiansund. The breathtaking views mix with first ideas of the project shape, target group requirements and how to determine them. Lots of coffee drunk, no less than three coffee breaks plus excellent meals prepared by our attentive hosts.

There will be loads of coffee energy needed, both here and later after the initial meeting. Getting a cold is unthinkable albeit the chilly wind outside. Getting to know each other and the detailed shape of the project is what’s taking place inside. E-learning platform chosen, budget envisioned roughly and eventual dates for future meetings decided. Fresh smell of coffee downstairs, a green bud of new free (e-)learning platform grown, and partners from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Iceland and Norway are off home after a three days’ vibrant action.

Janis Ostašs, SIA Nordisk, Latvia

Ideen til «E-nordisk»

november 27th, 2010

Ideen til «E-nordisk» ble født i Nordistikk-miljøet i Latvia, ut fra et praktisk behov for nye hjelpemidler. I 2007 ble det tildelt støtte til prosjektet «E-nordisk nettverk», som bygde relasjoner med potensielle støttespillere. Sammen med Senter for Nordistikk ved Latvias kulturakademi og Foreningen Norden Latvia, var partnerne Folkuniversitetet i Tartu i Estland, Den pedagogiske høyskolen på Island og VIFIN – Videnscenter for Integration, Vejle i Danmark. Prosjektet var ambisiøst, og planene om en fungerende prototype viste seg vanskelig å realisere på så kort tid. Derimot ble premissene lagt for et nytt prosjekt, som ved å trekke veksler på nettverksbyggingen skal utvikle så mye som mulig av de hjelpemidlene som hele tiden har vært visjonen. Både praktiske og formelle grunner har vi sett en del utskiftning i partnerne, og det var et tilbakeslag for prosjektet da Senter for Nordistikk i Latvia ble avviklet på grunn av insolvens. Ved å få med oss de kontinuitetsbærende ressurspersonene i Latvia har vi likevel mobilisert de nåværende partnerne fra Estland, Latvia, Litauen, Norge, Danmark og Island for å gå videre med prosjektet og få realisert så mye av den opprinnelige ideen som vi kan – åpne og fritt tilgjengelige elektroniske hjelpemidler for å lære norsk og dansk som faktisk tar utgangspunkt i balteres virkelighet.

Øyvind Rangøy, Estnorlink OÜ, Estland/Norge

oktober 25th, 2010

Welcome to the blog site of E-nordisk.

There has been a lot of interest in the Nordic languages in the Baltic countries and this interest has increased in the years of economic depression. However, many learners are hindered in their study of languages by the lack of opportunities because of their job or the place they live. In addition, many language learning materials have not been designed for people coming from the former Eastern Block and do not, therefore, take account of their specific background.
E-nordisk is a project hoping to support such learners and to rectify the situation. The aim of the project is to create an e-learning platform for learners of Danish and Norwegian from the Baltic countries with a focus on European language achievement levels A1 and A2. The platform will be based on the e-learning environment Moodle and will be accessible to everyone free of charge.
The project runs for 2 years and its completion date is 1 September 2011. The project is funded by Nordplus Adult.