As a newcomer to this Erasmus-funded project, I went with some curiosity to this event at the University of Westminster on Saturday 19 May, to find out more.

Although labelled it’s “Final” conference, I felt nonetheless embraced by its adherents, captivated by its simplicity and wowed by the rigour of the resource!

There were magicians’ hats, there was laughter, there was a real sense of celebration as the hard work of the last four years came to fruition in the form of this online assessment tool, which promises “assessment with a magic touch”.

I have not always been a great fan of online, self-directed games for pupils learning languages in the classroom setting, as I have found them to be lacking in cognitive challenge, being overly repetitive in both the language and digital sense. As I road tested “Language Magician” in French, along with many other teachers on screens around the room, at the conference, we were excited to find that these materials kept us on our toes – games with different formats, sometimes one-word answers, sometimes whole phrases. Variation in screen layout and game format also challenged our thinking skills. Our individual progress through the levels could be viewed on the large “teacher’s” screen at the front of the room (which is designed to give a teacher instant access to their class’s progress in real time).

There was a hush of concentration- as we got into the swing of the game, the challenge to beat the evil wizard and liberate the animals became absorbing. And as the clock ticked, the large “teacher” screen showed us our progress and we raced to the finish! Yes, we had fun and yes we worked hard, but did it feel like an assessment? Not one bit!

This resource is available in French, German, Italian, Spanish and English. Teachers and pupils all around the world can access it and make use of the “community” that has been created by the project designers. Another title for “Language Magician” is “Assessment without fear”. This is not an empty boast. The achievement in creating this resource is considerable, but its potential is also far-reaching.

So how did I feel as I came away from my first encounter with “Language Magician” but it’s final conference?  – I am not too late to the party – the party has just got started!

Find out more for yourself at https://www.thelanguagemagician.net/

Author: Pippa Jacobs