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Bringing language learners together in Virtual Collaboration and Exchange: My presentation at the MoreDOTS workshop organised by the ECML in Graz, Austria on 30 October 2012

Bringing language learners together in Virtual Collaboration and Exchange: My presentation at the MoreDOTS workshop organised by the ECML in Graz, Austria on 30 October 2012

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  • BRINGING LANGUAGE LEARNERS TOGETHER IN VIRTUAL COLLABORATION AND EXCHANGE – IN FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARING CONTEXTSRobert O’DowdUniversity of León, Spainrobert.odowd@unileon.eshttp://www3.unileon.es/personal/wwdfmrodINTENT Project: http://intent-project.eu/Twitter: Robodowd Skype: robodowd 1
  • Plan for this afternoon• Identify some of the current challenges to foreign languages (FL) educators in Europe• Outline what me mean by ‘telecollaboration’ or ‘online intercultural exchange’• Explore some examples from formal and informal learning contexts and different educational levels• Discuss how you might get your learners involved in such exchanges 2
  • Current trends in FL education• 1. A significant increase in access to online technologies in educational and training contexts around Europe – In 2006 67% of schools reported having broadband connections in their schools (Commission of the European Communities, 2008: 23–34).• 2. The emergence of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis and podcasts as an essential part of foreign language education• 3. The acceptance of the importance of cultural awareness in foreign language education (See, for example, the importance of intercultural competence in Council of Europe’s European Language Portfolio and the Autobiography of intercultural encounters.• 4. The paradigm of language learning as a sociocultural process which is best facilitated through semi-authentic, purposeful communicative events (Dooly & O’Dowd, 2012)• 5. The merger of foreign language competence and e-literacies as integral components of the new skills required in global workplace: Instead of using technologies simply to learn foreign languages, learners need to learn how to combine both foreign language skills and e-skills to be able to work and collaborate in new contexts 3
  • Exploit the availability of ICT and Web 2.0 toolsNeed to provide authentic Challenges Need to develop cultural awareness communicative for FL and interculturalopportunities for competence learners Educators Develop the skills of 21st century workplace 4
  • Student mobility in EuropeIn 2020, at least 20% of those graduating in the European Higher EducationArea should have had a study or training period abroad.(Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible forHigher Education, Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, 28-29 April 2009)But what happens to the remaining 80%?http://ec.europa.eu/education/doc/2008/mobilityreport_en.pdf
  • Telecollaboration: International Online Learning from the classroom• In Language Learning & Technology (2003) Belz defines the main characteristics of FL telecollaboration:• ‘institutionalized, electronically mediated, intercultural communication under the guidance of a languacultural expert (i.e., teacher) for the purposes of foreign language learning and the development of intercultural competence’ (2003: 2). 6
  • How does Telecollaboration contribute to Foreign Language Education?Research studies show its value for development of:•Learner autonomy (O’Rourke, 2007)•Linguistic competence (Belz and Kinginger, 2003, Ware and O’Dowd, 2008)•Intercultural competence (Mueller-Hartmann, 2000; O’Dowd, 2003; Ware,2005)•Online literacy skills (Guth and Helm, 2010; Hauck, 2007).Success at primary and secondary levels through networks such asetwinning and ePals.Let’s see how it works: Two examples of Spanish-Americantelecollaborative exchangesExample 1 comes from Pre-primary educationExample 2 comes from university education
  • Example 1: Pre-Primary Exchange through Epals www.epals.com
  • A reply to Noelia from the USA• Hello Ms. Iglesias, We are a class of 23 students ages 5-6 years old in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States. My students will finish their first year of school in just a few weeks and they are eager to share some of their favorite memories and experiences from this year.• In addition to sharing their favorite kindergarten memories, we will be taking a field trip to the zoo next week. Im sure my students will want to write about it and send pictures.• Even though we will only be able to communicate a few times before the end of our school year, I think it would be a valuable experience for both sets of students. Please let me know if you are interested and have a wonderful day. Sincerely, Emily Tomkins
  • • HI EMILY! My pupils are very happy. I told them about the new friends in Dakota and they feel very excited.We were looking in the map where South Dakota is. They want to know something about all of you and your school. We were negotiating the questions in order they can improve their English. Besides this, they want to "teach" you some Spanish words. I wrote all the questions on the whiteboard and now you will see all of them below: What are your names? What is the name of your school? What colour is your classroom? What´s the weather like in Dakota? How old is your school? Good bye, kisses Oscar, Sofia C, Sofia V, Alvaro, Loreto, Fernando, CArmen y Lucía. Teacher: Noelia SPANISH WORDS THEY WANT TO TEACH YOU: HOLA (Hello) ADIÓS (Good bye) BESOS (Kisses)
  • • Hello Noelia! My students were so excited to read your letter last Friday! We loved all of the good questions your students thought of. My students are going to have to do some research to find out how old our school is. It was interesting for them to try to develop a plan for how to find that information. Some of them are going to ask their parents to help them find the answer on the computer and others have decided to interview different staff members at our school. They loved learning new words. That was a great idea! My kiddos thought it was very interesting that your students were learning English in school. They are excited to learn a new language too. We put a sticker on top of Leon on our world map in the class room as well as a sticker on top of Sioux Falls. They were amazed to see how far away you live. …• Have a wonderful weekend and adios! Emily
  • • Reflections by Noelia in Spain:•• This has been a wonderful experience for me as a teacher, and for my students.• Anyway, we could exchange some information and my children could realize the main purpose of learning English: communicate with people from other cultures. Learning this language let the children know more about other children, just like them, who live in other countries and who love to have new friends and have fun.• I was surprised how my students were thinking about the questions to ask them in order to get some information from them, from their school and from their classroom. The brain storming first and the negotiation next, let me feel so proud about them because they were doing a very good cognitive process…...speaking English for a real purpose!!!• My students were very involved in this experience. Everyday they asked me: “Teacher, ¿Nos han escrito los amigos de Dakota?”. I girl told me she had told her mum about the new experience and she did not relieve her.• I could never imagine it was going to be so excited, easy, quick, attractive and useful . My students and me could be in touch with another culture, another country, another school, another classroom with twenty three children and a very kind teacher with out living our school!!
  • Example 2: University-level exchange• Future ‘Primary school teachers’ in ULE (B1 level) work with Students of Spanish in Missouri, USA:• Task 1: Upload and discuss a photo or video which tells the other group something about your home culture• Task 2: Participate in two discussion forums – one in English and one in Spanish.• Task 3: In groups of four, create a blog with images, text and links about an aspect of life in Spain/USA. Post your reactions and some language corrections to your American partners’ blogs.• Task 4: Write an essay (300 words) on what you have learned from the exchange.
  • www.ning.com 16
  • Task 1: Upload and discuss a photo… 17
  • Task 2: Discussion forums 18
  • Making short videos for their partners… 19
  • Writing and designing blogs about their localculture for a foreign audience 20
  • Two students’ reactions…1. My opinion about this Exchange is very positive; it has made meconsider to use it in my future English classes with my students.These months sharing opinions have given us a very different view ofthe United States, which we had idealized, and that, from this we havetaken note that are not so different to our countries and that Americanfilms us had deceived with respect to reality.The most important thing Ive learned in this Exchange has been not tojudge a society without first speak with one of its citizens…2. I really enjoyed meeting new people and talk with them. I thinkit was a good experience. I also think that learning English withthis online exchange is fun for people who don’t like Englishand it is an alternative way of learning English. 21
  • Potential for informal learning? Some examples of Telecollaboration 2.0• Thorne et al. ( 2009 ): online fan communities, where learners can establish relationships with like-minded fans of music groups or authors and can even use Web 2.0 technologies to remix and create new artistic creations based on existing books, films and music.• Hanna and de Nooy ( 2009 ): Learners use their FL skills and hone their intercultural communicative competence through participating in online public discussion forums of French newspapers and magazines• Pasfi eld-Neofi tou ( 2011 ): analyses blogs, emails, chat conversations, game profi les and mobile phone communications between 12 Australian learners of Japanese with Japanese partners they had contacted outside of their formal learning environment.• Stickler, U., & Emke, M. (2011): The Literalia project involves institutions in four countries in a multinational and multicultural network of learners to further intercultural maturity. All participants were adults learning voluntarily in non- formal and informal settings. 22
  • “Intercultural Learning in the wild”• This type of telecollaboration may be ‘situated in arenas of social activity that are less controllable than classroom or organized online intercultural exchanges might be, but which present interesting, and perhaps even compelling, opportunities for intercultural exchange…and meaning making’ (Thorne, 2010 , p. 144). 23
  • The Challenges of Informal Telecollaborative Learning• How can learners receive ‘credit’ or recognition for their informal telecollaborative work? – badges?• How can learners establish regular and dependable virtual partnerships?• How can learners with relatively low levels of electronic literacy engage in telecollaboration 2.0 activities involving the remixing of multimedia objects and participation in public- access ‘fan sites’ and public internet discussion forums? 24
  • Support and Networking for Primary and Secondary Educators 25
  • Attending to the needs of University PractitionersINTENT (Integrating Telecollaborative Networks Into ForeignLanguage Higher Education )Financed By The European Commission - Lifelong LearningProgramme  Objectives:  Carry out a survey of telecollaboration in European universities  Develop a platform and set of tools to overcome barriers and facilitate telecollaboration in universities  Develop a set of workable solutions to address the lack of academic integration in Europe 26
  • www.uni-collaboration.eu 27
  • Search a list of classes which are interested in taking part in online exchange projects...
  • In the task databank you can search or browse for tasks to suit your online exchange.
  • When you choose a case study, you can read about different projects in context
  • Get involved!• Contact and suggestions welcome: – robert.odowd@unileon.es• Read the INTENT Report on Telecollaboration in Europe: – http://www.scoop.it/t/intent- project-news – Upcoming platform for university collaboration and networking: – www.uni-collaboration.eu 31