e-Portfolio (Background of the system)
1997 Stefan Penchev Our story is closely connected with the enthusiasm, energy and creativity of our head teacher. He could not stand the sluggishness and the apathy and in 1997 he started a private language school and called it Academica. The school offered language and computer courses to local people, from young learners to adults.

September 1998 1998 TV presentation September 15th 1998. An interview on the local TV station, where he declared that new teaching methods would be applied at the new language school from the very beginning.

1998 Pictures from the first room where multimedia was used to teach English. The teacher used a computer and the presentations were shown on a big TV. The students used earphones with microphones. The cables were attached to the ceiling. It was useful but the room looked very unusual.
TV for presentations Cables attached to the ceiling Presentations came from this computer

October 1998 Later on in October 1998 a multimedia language center was created in a public secondary school. At first there was only one computer and a TV, but soon each student was provided with a PC.
The first multimedia language room Personal computers for each student Personal computers for each student

1998 There was a big Christmas party for our students and their parents and Father Christmas gave out presents to our pupils. (Click on a picture to enlarge.)
The 1998 Christmas party The 1998 Christmas party

1999 The original Gakkos web page in 1999 In 1999 our students participated in a Global Network Class - a project supported by NEC Corporation of Japan with 142 schools from 41 countries. The name of the virtual class was Gakkos, which means 'school' in Japanese. The result of the project was a poster painted by the worldwide renowned artist of the sea Christian Riese Lassen, entitled 'Now and Forever'. The poster had the inscription:
Nelly from Bulgaria sent the following message "By preserving nature, we preserve ourselves." I believe that Nelly is right. I have received many messages from all over the world offering concerns and hope for our earth. Nelly's message is reflected in the title of our artwork, "Now and Forever." Through this project, I hope that the message of our artwork will open a place in the hearts of people throughout the world and continue to be a reminder of the care we must show for the preservation of our earth's resources.
Christian Riese Lassen
The rightmost picture here shows the final artwork elaborated with the help of participating schools and Mr Lassen. Now NEC Global Network Class can be reached here. (Click on a picture to enlarge.)
Mr Lassen's message on the Gakkos forum Nelly's picture The final artwork with pictures from participating schools

May 1999 The stage and the video screen We celebrated the end of the school year together with the parents of our pupils. The happening was honoured by the head of the local education authority and representatives from the municipality. On a big video screen we demonstrated the language and computer skills of our students and modern teaching methods by multimedia.
The audience The Head of the LEA The Headmaster of the hosting school
The students demonstrated their computer and English language skills on the video screen.
Demonstration of computer skills The result was shown on a big screen The result was shown on a big screen
On the stage there was a contest for the pupils and their parents and the children sang action songs. We rearranged all songs, and recorded new playbacks. The new versions were more appealing to the children as they sounded with a pronounced beat and up-tempo. Click here to download Hockey Cockey on video as it was performed then. (28 MB mpg file). Click here to download the OUP version (416 KB mp3 file).
The Family Contest Hockey Cockey action song Congratulations from a kindergarden
At the end the head of the LEA congratulated the audience and our head teacher gave a speech.
The Head of the LEA Our HeÓd teacher The other teachers
The excellent students received certificates of achievement and presents from the school.
Certificates of Achievement The best student

August 1999 In August 1999 we attended the Seventh European LOGO Conference, which was held in Sofia. That is where we heard about Constructivism from a world's foremost representative of the theory: Dr. Seymour Papert of MIT. The original website of EUROLOGO '99 can be found here. (Click on a picture to enlarge.)
Dr Seymour Papert The original  EUROLOGO '99 poster

2000 From 2000 to 2002 we made an electronic testing program, introduced it at Academica school and used it for in-service English lessons at a local pharmaceutical company with about 30 adult students at various levels. The students did the progress tests on a regular basis on their computers at work. The program sent all tests to our office where they were checked, and the results were automatically returned by e-mail. The messages contained the corrected tests and provided detailed explanations of the errors and the problem areas. It also gave test statistics in numbers and percentage. Later this system was used for language auditing purposes.
The distance testing system The results page
The testing application was supplemented with a computer literacy test, which was applied at another school where Academica gave computer literacy lessons to secondary students. After the final test the system provided important statistical results for the management staff of the hosting school.
Statistical results from the IT test

2000 The first web page of BAQLS Optima Alongside with his obligations our head teacher participated in a project of the British Council Sofia for the establishment of the Bulgarian Association for Quality Language Services. Academica School is one of the eleven founder members of the Association. Click here for evidence. We also made the first official web site of the Association.

2001 The head teacher is a member of IATEFL Bulgaria and has participated in the annual conferences and is a member of (YLSIG) Young Learners Special Interests Group. The IATEFL East Conference in 2001 was held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. (Click on a picture to enlarge.)
The IATEFL East Conference IATEFL Membership card

November 2001 The first accredited schools He also attended courses for inspectors of languages schools organized by the British Council Sofia. In November 2001 Academica became the second accredited private language school in the country. The school was inspected within an ELTeCS project "Quality Assurance Across the Borders" by inspectors from the neighbouring countries.
The picture on the right shows the official presenting of certificates to the first accredited schools in November 2001 (click on a picture to enlarge). The event was honoured by:
  • Mr. Kevin Lewis, Director of British Council Sofia (on the left)
  • Mr Edward Richards, ELT Projects Manager, British Council Sofia (on the right)
The leftmost picture below shows the participants in the ELTeCS seminar held on March 15th and 16th 2001 in Sofia (Go to ELTeCS.). Among the participants are:
  • Mr Edward Richards, ELT Projects Manager, British Council Sofia
    Chairpersons of the National Associations of neighbouring Balkan countries, namely:
  • Ms Assenka Kramer, representing PRIMA, the Croatian Association of Private Language Schools;
  • Ms Maria Kushevska, representing the Foreign Language Centre, Scopie, Macedonia
  • Ms Laura Muresan, Chairperson of QUEST, The Romanian Association for Quality Language Services and present Secretary General of EAQUALS
ELTeCS seminar Presenting the accreditation certificate to Academica The accreditation certificate of Academica

April 2002 In April 2002 we visited several schools in England. Some of them were Saint George School, Sels College and Edwards Language School (London), Padworth College (Reading), Richard Language College (Bournemouth), several language schools in Oxford street and the publisher of English Teaching professional magazine, Mr. Nicolas Ridley.

2002 In 2002 and 2003 he participated in a Leonardo da Vinci project for language auditors delivered by Dr Cor Koster, Director of Studies of the Language Center at the Free University of Amsterdam, Holland. Click here to see the website of the project. (Click on a picture to enlarge.)
Discussion during the LATE seminar The language auditor certificate

ver 1.0
Since September 2002 we have been developing the new electronic teaching system for e-classrooms at schools. The idea was to update Academica School with new means of instruction and to satisfy the need of our students for modern and attractive teaching. The system performs all financial and administrative tasks at the school and aids the academic management. All teaching and testing is done on computer. Version 1.0 was adopted in October 2003 and we upgraded it during the summer of 2004.

ver 2.0
The pictures here show Version 2.0 of the e-classroom during the Christmas holidays in 2004. We are presently working on Version 3.0, which has major improvements in the hardware, software, interface, improved internal coherence, and of course plenty of new study materials for language teaching.
e-classroom Version 2.0, Dec 2004 e-classroom Version 2.0, Dec 2004