A.P.P.L.E. - Autonomous Package Preschool Language Education
A.P.P.L.E. (Autonomous Package Preschool Language Education) aims to promote early foreign language learning to preschool children from new Member States (or candidates) and Greece . Our project will develop a new language tool which will introduce English and French to preschool children through an innovative method using multimedia technology. Our goal is to motivate children in early foreign language learning by using a playful approach and by creating a language friendly environment.
Specifically, A.P.P.L.E. project will develop CD ROMs for preschool children to be used with the assistance of their parents at home or as didactic material with the assistance of teachers in kindergartens. The project will be supported by a Web Site and printed material for teachers and parents.
The main idea of the project is to introduce two foreign languages (EN and FR) from a very early age to preschool children of new Member states (or candidates) and Greece . This will be achieved by using a common to kindergartens pedagogical method of learning through art activities, crafts and play materials, but in a completely innovative way.
The new Member states and Candidate states included in our project, according to the Eurobarometer survey (2002.2) have very low percentage speaking skills for both English (9%-29%) and French (1%-10%) as foreign languages compared to other European countries, since Russian is still the most widely spoken foreign language to most of them and have an urgent need to learn the above mentioned languages especially after joining the European Union. Greece has better speaking skills in English (36%) as a foreign language, but has still very low percentages in speaking French (4%). According to the “Candidate Countries Eurobarometer 2002.2”, English is the most useful language to know apart from the mother tongue and French is the third choice of new Member states/ Candidates. Also according to the data gathered by the eEurope 2003- Final Progress report a considerable progress has been made to new Member States in many areas related to the Information Society in recent years. All Acceding and Candidate countries have made significant efforts towards the implementation of the knowledge-based society. However, the report highlights the need to stimulate the development of interactive, multi-media rich and multilingual content, as a driver for broadband deployment. The report recommends as measures the integration of ICT into every pupil's education. There is also a need for the development of a new, innovative language tool which could motivate children of this age in learning foreign languages. Because, only if the child is extremely motivated, it will be able to learn and this motivation is given by a playful, interactive approach, essential for any activity to be carried out at a very young age, and that's why the need of developing an autonomous foreign language tool with a rich teaching/learning environment that can be used both at home with the assistance of parents and at school with the assistance of teachers and the possibilities for communication with parents/teachers in other countries through Internet by using the Web project's Forum could be extended.
A 3D cartoon, the Apple, will be the children's guide to foreign language learning through craft activities that will help them develop at the same time cognitive, social and motor skills. The 3D cartoon will use the children's mother tongue (using Audio technique) in order to explain the craft to be made and at the same time the cartoon will introduce children to English or French (they will have the option to switch on language) vocabulary and basic sentences and phrases.
Language courses will be divided to 80 different sections. Each section will include: a) all steps for creating a craft (3D) according to the section's subject through video animation, b) related vocabulary (English and French) pronunciation & writing, c) related music theme, d) funny games related to subject, d) printed instructions for teachers and parents.
Every craft will be presented by using the 3D animation technology and video technology; subjects will be selected carefully promoting each country's cultural uniqueness and allowing consistency in mental processes from which language learning emerges. All crafts will use materials found around the house like papers, boxes, clothes etc.
According to the country- origin of each participating institution, A.P.P.L.E. project will develop different CD ROMs using the same crafts and foreign languages vocabulary, but will be presented in a different language environment. For example, the CD ROM for the Greek partner will be presented in Greek (Apple cartoon will be speaking Greek) and all printed materials for teachers and parents will be also written in Greek. Foreign languages' material will remain the same for all CD ROMs developed.
The printed material will include two booklets, one for teachers and parents and the other only for parents. The first booklet will include all instructions for developing the crafts, all foreign language vocabulary included in the CD ROM and notes for the pronunciation and basic grammar. The second booklet will include information for the parents concerning the necessity of early language learning, studies and researches which suggest the parents' cooperation and assistance of children in foreign language learning from a very early age.