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>14 September 2007

14 September 2007

What's new on eLanguages?
The school year is just starting again and it's time to send you an eLanguages update and to reveal some new features that we have added to the eLanguages platform. We have made a number of significant changes which we hope will make it easier for you to find relevant projects for international partnerships or resources for reuse in your own teaching.
eLanguages now has over 4000 registered teachers representing 58 countries. The system is available in 21 different language versions. Bulgarian, Korean and Indonesian are the three new language versions and we very much welcome the users from Bulgaria, Korea and Indonesia.
This year we are introducing a mentoring system. We have appointed three experienced users to provide support to new and existing members in creating welcoming hello pages and projects. They can help you to to start a new project or join an existing project.

In the next newsletter we will introduce the new eLanguages mentors. You may be approached by one of the eLanguages mentors in the next couple of weeks.
The poll of the month is slightly different this month. We kindly ask you to give your opinion on how we can improve the current eLanguages homepage.
By the way, don’t forget to update your own hello page. Add some pictures about your school and some text explaining what you expect from a school partnership.
The new features:
New layout for project pages
We have changed the look-and-feel of the project pages. Each project page now has a project details box at the top of the page. The looking for partner link has moved from the right column into the the project details box. Project owners can change their project details including partnership preferences by clicking on the project properties icon.
Example of a project LOOKING for partners: Teenage Newsletter – Communicating Information between the Young
Example of a project NOT looking for partners: A day in my life 5
Test project category
We have added a test project category to the system eLanguages projects. You can use the test project category to create a project to test the eLanguages system prior to creating a real project proposal or before joining an existing proposal. Test projects will be deleted from the system 7 days after their last update date. The eLanguages team will review test projects prior to deleting them to avoid losing valuable projects and resources by accident.
Project Tagging
Another major change is the implementation of resource "tagging". Some of you may be familiar with tagging through its popularity in blogging and social networking sites. Tagging allows site users to categorise content by assigning keywords and phrases to the projects. Tags can be used to describe the subject area, types of content, the intended target and any relevant curriculum scheme for which the project is suitable. Tags can be up to 64 characters in length and can be made up of multiple words. Tags can be used for searching and in time will help to identify projects that share similar themes.
Tagging is initially only available on projects created after 5th of September 2007 and will be added on a selection of active projects.
Star rating system
We are introducing with the new release a system for rating projects on a five star scale. The star system is intended to be used as a broad measure of the quality of a project to cover content, presentation, reusability of resources etc. Ratings will be incorporated into the find project mechanism to assist users in locating high quality resources for use in their lessons. Please take time to award star ratings to projects when you visit on the site: in time this will help other users locate the best projects and resources, in addition you may also help to reward the hard work of others because the highest rated projects will also be eligible for prizes.
More information about site features:
Discussion forum
If you want a more in depth information on the new or existing site features questions can be posted in the following discussion forum: eLanguages discussion forum
The eLanguages mini manual
The eLanguages mini-manual explains all the eLanguages features on a small leaflet. click here to open a copy of the mini-manual.
Poll of the month:
We would like to reorganise the site homepage to put links to projects in a more prominent location - this should make it easier to get straight to the content that you are interested in. Before we make the change we would like to learn from you what kind of information you would like to see on the homepage. We would appreciate if you could answer the following two questions: the eLanguages homepage question

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