For the last couple of weeks the MFL resources forum I subscribe to has been buzzing with enthusiasm about an online language learning competition which has seen pupils from Somerset to St Andrews answering over 14 million vocabulary questions 24/7 in a mad bid to appear as high as possible on the site’s scoreboard. The success of the European Language Olympics designed to run in conjunction with the timing of the Commonwealth Games could be described as nothing short of a phenomenon and overwhelming proof of the power of technology to provide rigorous distance learning opportunities for pupils who have the desire to compete with each other, school against school.
To get some background on the roots of the competition and the software behind it, I contacted one of the main organisers, Craig Smith on Skype in order to give him the opportunity to explain further. I also asked members of MFL resources to contact me with possible questions and observations I could put to Craig during our discussion. Claire Hampson from Thirsk School was a particular star in this regard as you will hear. Claire heavily promoted the competition on her languages blog and even made a Jing video screencast to show her pupils how to get started. Amanda Salt and Annalise Adam used their blogs to advertise the competition too.
You can listen to the outcome of our 30 minute chat by downloading the mp3 above and as always your comments are most welcome. I was particularly pleased that Craig explained the scoring system which has clearly confused some of you taking part and I was impressed by his team’s indefatigable willingness to support colleagues for free even into the early hours of the morning New Zealand time.
The overall winners of the competition Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School were announced during the Show and Tell session at The Language Show over the weekend. In the clip below, kindly filmed by Pete Goodman from the Chinese Staffroom, you will see Helen Myers representing the Association for Language Learning who promoted the competition in the UK announce the top three places in reverse order.
Well done also to Emma B from Longridge High School who came top of the pupil scoreboard with an incredible 34015 points! Awesome!
Thanks to Craig for taking the time to answer all your feedback and for Wendy Newman from ALL for first helping to kick start the competition in the UK. Looking forward to next year’s competition already!