Wikiotics Launches English Language Textbook Project

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Collaboratively-Built Textbook Will Aid Students and Teachers From All Backgrounds

The Wikiotics Foundation today launched a public campaign to build an English language textbook that is customizable and freely available to everyone on the Internet. The project, called the Last Language Textbook, is designed to bring new English students through the first two levels of language fluency as defined by the internationally-recognized Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The International Telecommunication Union has estimated that over two billion people have Internet access today. Fueled in part by increasing connectivity, the demand for English language instruction has skyrocketed. A 2009 report by the British Council estimated that over 600 million people worldwide desire help learning English as a second language. As the number of Internet users continues to grow, free online textbooks are expected to reach more people than traditional bound textbooks.

"The only way to reach English students from a variety of economic and educational backgrounds is to build resources that are flexible, effective, and available online," said Ian Sullivan, Executive Director of the Wikiotics Foundation. "With the Last Language Textbook, we are using the collaboration tools we have developed at Wikiotics to build a collection of resources so flexible that it makes all existing non-open English textbooks obsolete."

In contrast with most existing e-learning platforms, the Wikiotics system encourages teachers and students to customize their learning materials and share the results with the community in an interactive form. This collaborative activity is powered by new wiki software developed by Wikiotics specifically for the needs of language teachers and students.

"Adapting course materials to the needs of your students is an important part of teaching, one that most educational technology tools make very difficult if not impossible," said Matthew Curinga, Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at Adelphi University. "Tools like Wikiotics--ones that empower rather than restrict teachers in customizing content--are essential if educational technology is expected to meet and exceed the usefulness of traditional instructional resources."

Volunteers from around the world are invited to participate in the project by creating lessons, recording audio sentences, and organizing existing lesson materials. To encourage wide availability and re-use, all materials will be available under the same Creative Commons license used by Wikipedia.

The campaign will run for the next six months, during which the organization plans to develop the curriculum with help from volunteers and partners from around the world. The project will culminate with a summit in New York City.

More information about the campaign is available at http://thelastlanguagetextbook.org.

About the Wikiotics Foundation

The Wikiotics Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to making language instruction in every language freely available for everyone online. The organization's major activities include developing custom free software for collaborative language instruction and running the http://wikiotics.org community site where teachers and students from all over the world can come together to build high quality language instruction materials.

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Jim Garrison
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