Sharing practices in digital literacy

Su Corcoran and Sarah Lister

Ahead of a transnational meeting as part of our Erasmus+ and British Council funded Gamifying CLIL project, we joined Cristina Huertas at the Universidad de Cordoba and 19 international students completing the Play, Education, Toys and Languages masters programme. PETaL EMJMD is an Erasmus Mundus programme that aims to boost the power of play and toys for learning and development in 21st century Early Childhood Education.

The morning’s session concerned digital competency for teachers and focused on the use of artificial intelligence for writing and the use of virtual reality software for classroom-based activities. We were keen to observe teaching methods and understand applications of technologies that we could put into our own teaching, as well as sharing them with the prospective teachers studying at Manchester Met.

Using pre-written first lines as the starters for story writing, we compared stories written by the platform with the students’ own compositions and attempted to identify the ‘words of the robot’. It was amazing to see how creative the technology was and how difficult it was to identify the authors. Although scary, in terms of how clever the AI technology has become, this technology promises huge potential for class-based activities.

Our second activity involved colouring pictures and using Quiver and then Chromeville to animate the drawings. The image shows Sarah with her 3D lion. With Chromeville the animations became more complex as characters jumped between clouds, ran across football fields, or surfed waves. There were also lots of sheets associated with cultural events such Christmas, Easter and Halloween. The potential for storytelling, creative writing and teaching life skills inherent to these technologies were endless and the students animatedly began planning future activities. 

Sarah Lister sits next to a table upon which is a 3D lion that she has made using Quiver and Chromeville.
Sarah Lister with her 3D lion

The lesson was exciting, interactive and provided food for thought about how we as an Erasmus+ network of universities could think about our next steps for research and development on content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and gamifying CLIL.