Today I’ve been attending a Language Box event at Kings: Rethinking Teaching and Learning Repositories. Language Box is a JISC-funded e-repository. I arrived, as is my way, with a healthy scepticism (and a scepticism that’s always higher when it comes to repositories)! However, I think I’ve been won over.

In essence Language Box is an online location for teachers to upload, store, find & share teaching materials.  Resources (videos, links, worksheets, powerpoints etc) are added to a single collection but you can then easily manage your own sub-collections and favourites.

The project has three approaches that I particularly like and that might just make it a success:

  1. Asking the practitioners what they actually want. (Current repositories don’t seem to work, why not?)
  2. A focus on making it work for individuals to manage their own resources… and if sharing & re-use occurs then that’s a bonus
  3. Simplicity (we were asked to fill in a usability survey 🙂 )

Language Box has some similarities to the work we have been doing with Columbia University: French Language Teaching Resource but also some key differences:

  • Our project provides lists of tags to choose from to classify material when adding it to the collection, whereas choosing tags in Language Box is left to the user.
  • But the real difference and one that perhaps gives Language Box more potential is that the material can be visible,  accessible & usable by students without needing to transfer it to the VLE (although you can also do that if you want to, but why bother when you can link).

One of the most interesting debates today was whether or not students should be allowed to add material to Language Box. There seemed to be a 50:50 split on this one., with some feeling that giving students an opportunity to create resources would be a great learning activity but others wanting it kept as a teachers’ collection of ‘quality materials’.

This is not the first time this week that I’ve been looking at storing stuff.