Almeria University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 4645-4653
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
European Higher Education Area is based on the development of key competences for lifelong learning, many of which are language-based. For this reason, the language importance is increasing in education as a foundation for developing competences. In this context, combining languages with other topics of the curriculum has been emphasized by means projects related to Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) founding by European Union [1,2]. CLIL refers to any dual-focused educational context in which a foreign language is used as a medium in the teaching and learning of non-language content [2].

English is considered the main language for both scientific and technical international communication [3,4]. Therefore, it is important to acquire a certain level of knowledge about this language, overall when dealing with degrees as Computer Engineering. Students can achieve this goal while learning some subjects through different activities.

In the University of Almería, several cooperative learning activities have been designed to include English language in two electives subjects related to computer science. They are named: Design and Synthesis of Architectures (DSA, last year of Computer Engineering degree) and High Performance Computing (HPC, Master of Advanced Computing Techniques). The goal of these activities is to help students to adquire simultaneously: (1) the competences related to the previously mentioned subjects, and (2) the English language skills. This work describes the obtained educational experience as consequence of the English integration in the previously mentioned subjects. Next, we enumerate some activities proposed to students in this context:

1. Several articles, writing in English language, are provided to students. Each article is related with a research line or working area. Students select a subject of their interest and read carefully the corresponding paper, understanding the content and the main ideas. Students must increase their knowledge about their working topic and clarify doubts through blibiographical researches. References they use have to be written in English.

2. Students must summarize the available information, i.e. the paper and any other additional information they obtained from blibiographical searches about the selected subject. The summary consists on 4 pages, where the main ideas have to be expressed in English.

3. Students have to present their work to the class. The talk, which has to be given in English, is 20 minutes longer. The additional support or material, as for example slides, posters, etc., is also written in English language.

4. Students will be evaluated during their expositions. The examining board is composed by 4 or 5 students randomly selected. Each member of the board has to ask, at least a single question, to the speaker.

5. All the students must compose an abstract about the talk and assign a numerical grade to the speaker, using specific evaluation rubrics.

[1] CLIL Cascade Network
[2] Marsh, Langé (eds) Using Languages to Learn and Learning to Use Languages.
[3] M Hofmannová, J Novotná, R Pípalová, Assessment Approaches to Teaching Mathematics in English as a Foreign Language (Czech Experience). International CLIL Research Journal, Vol 1 (1) 2008
computer engineering learning, CLIL.