English – the motivation for the development of the educational platform Anaga

Mgr. Jana Homolová

Teaching English online is a relatively new industry that has been growing and expanding very fast. I started to teach English online many years ago, when facilities were not so elaborate as they are nowadays. The huge variety of available programs for online calling and chatting provides teachers and students with opportunities for fluent communication which can sometimes depend only on the stability of the internet connection. The selection of internet services offering a vast range of digital material and educational support for studying and teaching is nearly limitless. There are thousands of online courses available, many of them for free, and therefore they can easily be attended by whoever wants to acquire new knowledge and broaden their horizons. Taking all this into account, the 21stcentury has been the best period for self-education and continuous personal development, for student and teacher alike.

My diploma thesis deals with the development of the educational platform Anaga, which can be found online at the URL https://anaga.cloud. Its main aim is to support learning English and education in general. The current state of development is oriented towards both a student’s and a teacher’s interface. Currently, the main focus is on the support of teaching English online, although the development of a fully-featured, user-friendly student’s account with all its benefits is planned. Therefore, the educational platform Anaga will progressively serve also as a tool for effective and independent study of English online.

In my opinion, the opportunity to study and teach online is one of the biggest benefits of the internet world. Currently, we are not only provided with the prodigious knowledge that is available on the internet, we can also be taught and trained in almost any field of our interest by experienced professionals. 

As Svartvik and Leech state in their brilliant book One Tongue – Many Voices: “In the history of the world up to now, there has never been a situation where one language could claim global currency [like the English language nowadays]. There have been languages, like Latin during the Roman Empire, that gained widespread international currency through military might or economic influence. But this was not a worldwide conquest.” (Svartvik & Leech 2006 5). 

The objective of the thesis was to introduce a brand-new online system for learning English that has been developed by my team and myself. The thesis described the process of the development based on my personal methods of teaching and my approach to online education, as well as presenting the results of a successful cooperation between a teacher and a student. I would like to express my greatest appreciation to Ing. Pavel Lukeš for his collaboration on the educational platform Anaga, which became the basis of the diploma thesis. 

The aim of the theoretical part was to make the reader aware of the essence of teaching English online and to introduce the current English language. It also presented TED Talks as a great source of inspiration, not only for English lessons but also for myself, the author. The second chapter of the theoretical part gave a great deal of information about the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which was, along with the research programme English Profile, the core of the educational platform Anaga. 

The empirical part looked into the elaborate process of creating an online system based on my ideas and methods as an English teacher, and it demonstrated its beneficial usage, for English teachers and students alike. It delineated the main streams of the development and the features of the Anaga platform. This part also contained the results of the subsequent research during which the Anaga platform was piloted by a group of participants. The research, performed by my former and current students, had several objectives, determined at the beginning of the whole diploma thesis project. It was highly based on the methodology of teaching English online using the Anaga platform.

To conclude this article about my diploma thesis, I would like to quote another passage from my favourite book One Tongue – Many Voices, since it aptly summarises the reasons why “English can surpass all the other widespread languages [and has an indisputable status of lingua franca in our modern society]. It is mainly due to its significant use in international communication. The Canadian writer Marshall McLuhan once predicted that “electronically connected media would eventually transform the world into a huge ‘global village’. English has become the working tongue of that village.” (Svartvik & Leech 2006 1).

Svartvik, Jan, and Geoffrey Leech. English – One Tongue, Many Voices. PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, 2006.