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Expert puts skills to use for refugees

We were given some coverage in The Herald today (21/112017 – Page 13) Have a read and let others know.


A FORMER schoolteacher has developed the first English language qualification that some of the 1,200 refugees who have fled Syria for Scotland can sit on their mobile phones.
Ann Attridge, who has a post-graduate degree in linguistics, used technology normally associated with the computer games industry to produce Journey2English, an interactive language course that students can access on their smartphones.
It includes games with multiple-choice tests, and a digital notebook, in which students and tutors can communicate. It helps people learn English within three months and gain a qualification, equivalent to a National 4, validated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
She was approached by Argyll and Bute for help, adding: “The programme is very intuitive and easy to navigate. There are lots of graphics, animation and other elements that make it fun to use.”

Bute turns to technology to give a voice to refugees

We were reported in the Sunday Herald this week (20/1/2017 – Page 11) have a read and let others know.

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http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/bute-turns-to-technology-to-give-a-voice-to-refugees-m057qcxzh

The arrival of Syrian refugees on the Isle of Bute presented officials with a problem of how to help vulnerable people with little or no English to integrate in an isolated community with no support facilities.

Now a former schoolteacher from Skye has emerged as their unlikely saviour, after she developed the first English language qualification that refugees can sit and pass on their mobile phones.

Ann Attridge, who has a post-graduate degree in linguistics, used technology normally associated with the computer games industry to produce Journey2English, an interactive language course that students can access on their smartphones.

It combines games with multiple choice tests, a digital notebook, in which students and tutors can communicate, a voice recorder so that they can share audio files and a discussion forum on which they can practice their language skills

It helps non-native speakers learn English within three months and, by passing a final test, they can gain a qualification, equivalent to a National 4, validated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The course, launched earlier this year by her Glasgow-based company Klik2learn, is also being used by eastern European migrants for whom work and family commitments mean they don’t have time to attend language classes.

“I was approached by officials from Renfrewshire and Argyll and Bute Councils who have been tasked with caring for Syrian refugees placed in their areas by the Home Office,” said Ann, who left her job as an English teacher at Portree High School in 2010 to take up an Enterprise Fellowship with the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

“They were at a loss about what to do with the 29 asylum seekers who had been placed in those comparatively remote parts of the country without the necessary skills in English to be able to communicate properly.

“The funding they received covered housing and schooling for the children but there was only enough money to pay an English tutor for a couple of afternoons a week.  The rest of the time they were hanging around with no access to IT and their English was not improving.”

Ann spent an afternoon with the asylum seekers showing them how to navigate the Journey2English app on their mobile phones and now most of them are progressing with the course.

“We had some initial problems with email bouncebacks because some of them were using the same email address. I spent time with them, with the help of an interpreter, explaining how to log in and that was it.

“The programme is very intuitive and easy to navigate. There are lots of graphics, animation and other elements of gamification that make it fun to use. The chief designer came from a games development background because we wanted it to have the addictiveness that you get with computer games.”

Elaine Sales, Refugee Support Officer with Renfrewshire Council, said: “We have 88 refugees at different stages in their knowledge of English and so helping them to learn the language is a challenge. Some are beginners, some are at intermediate level and others are more advanced.

“Our ability to help them learn is constrained by budget and resources and for some, an hour a week of tuition is simply not enough. They were asking for more English, more English.

“We read about Ann’s company online and we thought that might be the solution. They all have mobile phones and they are quite savvy with technology so it seemed like a good fit.”

She added: “It’s been a tremendous success. It allows everyone to learn at their own pace and the resources we have help to support their learning.”  

Klik2learn is now working with City College in Glasgow on a pilot aimed at helping some of the 1000 people who are currently on a waiting list for English language courses.

“There are a lot of people in employment who want to increase their chances of gaining British citizenship, who need proof of their language skills but who have been unable to get a college place,” said Ann.

“In order to get British citizenship you need to have a language qualification. You need to be able to pass the Life in the UK test. Because our course is designed for people living in the country we have included a lot of elements of UK cultural references. It’s a journey that starts in Scotland and travels through England, Wales and Northern Ireland and along the way you learn about British history, culture, values and people.”

Klik2learn is off to China and Hong Kong in October.

In partnership with Scottish Enterprise – The Asia Scotland Institute, Informatics Ventures and WeAreTheFuture are combining forces to take a group of Scotland’s most exciting technology companies to China to meet commercial contacts and investors. The objectives are to –

  • Expand on established and create new commercial connections between China/Hong Kong and Scotland.
  • Secure access to local Asian investors with an interest in investing in Scottish companies.
  • Promote technology led opportunities in Scotland and provide a mechanism to bring parties together.
  • Assist Scottish companies establish a foothold in the Chinese market
 
Ann Attridge M.A(Hons), M.Litt, M.Ed, LTCL, PGDE

 

Ann Attridge Founding Director Klik2learn, is a Chartered Teacher with degrees in English, French, and Educational Management. She has over 20 years in education including the secondary, further and tertiary sectors. Nine years in ESOL teaching led to an M.Litt research  degree in Applied Linguistics. In 2010 Ann was awarded A Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship to set up Klik2learn.

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Robert Rennie

 

Robert Rennie Technical Adviser to Klik2learn, has been leading teams, managing software projects and developing innovative solutions for over 20 years and has been a director of several companies ranging in size from 2 to 220 staff. He has worked at a senior level in Learning & Teaching Scotland and the Scottish Centre for Enabling Technologies. Robert provides technical consultancy and software development services to Klik2learn.

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Mark Haldane BA (Hons), MSc

 

With a background in animation and design, Mark Haldane has a love for visual storytelling. Mark utilises his skills to design and build visual, interactive learning tools within Klik2learn with an eye to making them fun, effective and most importantly, engaging. 

Mark has a great deal of experience in digital media and visual communication. As a freelance artist he has worked with a range of companies and clients to produce visual content, from static imagery to animation to fully-interactive media, and has developed a varied and extensive skill set to draw from.

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Nick Kuenssberg OBE, DUniv, BA (Hons), FCIS, CCMI, FIoD, FRSA

 

Born and educated in Edinburgh, Oxford University and Manchester Business School.

 

Currently non executive chairman, mentor and business angel, chairman mLED Ltd, Scott & Fyfe Ltd and Canmore Partnership Ltd and two DB pension schemes, honorary professor at the University of Glasgow and trustee, Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

 

Previously had an international business career where he was main board director Coats Viyella plc, managing director Dawson International plc, chairman Stoddard International plc, Iomart Group plc, GAP Group Ltd, Keronite PLC and Halls of Broxburn Ltd, chairman of the Glasgow School of Art, ScotlandIS, Scotland the Brand, IoD (Scotland) and Scottish Networks International, deputy chairman SEPA, non executive director Bank of Scotland (West), Standard Life, Scottish Power plc, Amino Technologies plc, chairman of Quality Assurance Agency Scotland, visiting professor Strathclyde University, external examiner Aberdeen Business School, trustee David Hume Institute and public interest member of Council, ICAS.

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We are excited to announce that our National 4 ESOL course is now fully endorsed by the Scottish Qualifications Authority – the first digital qualification to receive this recognition.

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Thomas Eley BSc

 

With a wide range of knowledge covering the entire video game development process Thomas has a keen insight on how to entertain through digital means. As a graduate computer games developer he has spent time working on indie video games on a variety of platforms. Using his skills Thomas can quickly design new solutions to old education practices and easily communicate a wide range of ideas to any department.

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