USING LEGO BLOCKS FOR TECHNOLOGY-MEDIATED TASK-BASED ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING
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Lego blocks have been played with by generations of children worldwide since the 1950s. It is undeniable that they boost creativity, eye-hand coordination, focus, planning, problem solving and many other skills. Lego bricks have been also used by educators across the curricula as they are extremely motivating and engaging and, in effect, make learning effective. The toy has developed with time, as a result of technology impact as well as users’ needs and expectations. This paper describes the transformation of the use of Lego based activity in the academic writing class in the Institute of English Studies at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw, Poland spanning a period of the last seven years. Originally, the author’s idea was just to illustrate in theory the principle of cohesion and coherence on the example of Lego composition instruction, a concept described by Joseph Williams; however, it evolved into a highly successful technology mediated task-based activity. The activity has been conducted since 2008 and in the author’s newest 2014/15 version, it involves online writing, digital photography, computer editing programs, animation, e-learning tools and blogging; it boosts, apart from the above mentioned skills, writing, reading, teamwork and IT skills. Its teaching/ learning success results also from its multimodality, learner empowerment and authenticity. Moreover, the case illustrates teacher development due to both external and internal class factors, including the impact of learners’ competence and skills on the transformation of the activity itself and the resulting teacher training. Finally, the paper focuses on the role of the fast changing ICT technology in the development and adjustment of the English language learning task, the task based on the innovative use of Lego blocks in teaching academic skills to the students of the English studies program.
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