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Task design for intercultural
telecollaboration in secondar y schools
I n s i g h t s f r o m t h e E U p r o j e c t T I L A
Petra Hoffstaedter & Kurt Kohn
Steinbeis-Transferzentrum Sprachlernmedien
www.sprachlernmedien.de
petra.hoffstaedter@gmail.com
kohn.kurt@gmail.com
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission
cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Our topics
 Context and rationale
 Rubbing shoulders with reality
 Waiting for better days?
 Effects of class organisation
 “Notre tête est ronde”
 Case study 1: tandem conversations in OpenSim
 Case study 2: lingua franca conversations in BigBlueButton
 Conclusion
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Context and rationale
 The EU project TILA explores the use of telecollaboration for intercultural foreign
language learning in secondary schools – WHY?
1. Successful foreign language learning requires
 extensive small group communication practice
 in ordinary intercultural encounters
2. Telecollaborative communication facilitates authenticated intercultural FL learning
 Asynchronous: forum, wiki, blog
 Synchronous: sound/video conferencing (Skype, BigBlueButton), 3D virtual worlds
(SecondLife, OpenSim)
 TILA task ensembles in blended learning settings
 preparatory: getting to know each other, knowledge development, familiarizing
 face-to-face or online, synchronous or asynchronous, individual or collaborative
 main: intercultural communicative interactions embedding in overall class curriculum
 in synchronous (BBB, OS) and/or asynchronous (forum, blog) environments
 follow-up: securing learning results
 face-to-face or online, synchronous or asynchronous, individual or collaborative
 Innovation focus = synchronous oral communication
 in the 3D virtual world of OpenSim
 in the videoconferencing environment BigBlueButton
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Rubbing shoulders with reality
 Technological infrastructures in secondary schools
 sufficient for synchronous (written) chat and asynchronous (written) forum, blog
 far less sufficient for synchronous oral (BBB, OpenSim)
 Teacher feedback and participant observations (from first TILA pilots)
 poor sound quality (disturbances, breakdowns)
 survival communication (“Can you hear me?”)
 Positive feedback from pupils
 YES: encouraging evidence of the high motivation potential of TC
 BUT: first-time effect (which will not last if problems persist)
 Seemingly positive feedback must not distract from sound quality as a necessary
condition for pedagogic success
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Waiting for better days?
It would be a serious mistake to expect everything will be fine with just a little bit of more
time and technological development
 Technological development
 can take quite unexpected turns
 and will not necessarily move in our direction
 unless we voice our interests and needs loud and clearly
 Availability of potentially powerful technological infrastructures is increasing
 BUT: effects of “light weight” mobile computing (private)
 BUT: insufficient coverage (in institutions)
 BUT: underuse of potential: lack of expertise and support (e.g. sound settings)
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Effects of class organisation
The technological quality of synchronous oral telecollaboration is closely linked to class
(group) organisation
 Traditional face-to-face focus on class times, class locations and class-size groups
 not necessarily suitable for synchronous oral telecollaboration
 Full-class exchanges with VC/data projector offer (only) limited communication
options
 one-to-many
 one-to-one (with rest of class as observers or background support)
 Small parallel telecollaboration groups in PC lab
 lack of communicative privacy
 reduced sound/video quality because of temporary network overload
 class organisation?
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
“Notre tête est ronde pour permettre à la
pensée de changer de direction.”
Francis Picabia
(1879-1953)
 We need to
 reconsider and adapt
 our concepts and strategies of class organisation
 to the conditions of telecollaboration
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Case study 1:
Tandem conversations in virtual worlds (OpenSim)
Four successive telecollaboration sessions between a French and a German class via school PC lab
 Learning objective: communication practice in French and German;
intercultural awareness
 Thematic focus: waste disposal, vegetarian diet,
fashion, and Europe
 Pedagogical approach:
 tandem French/German
 learning stations with posters in French or German
 French/German pairs of pupils walk from poster to
poster and discuss a topic in the poster or session language
 BL arrangement: preparatory and follow-up activities in F2F, forum, blog or wiki
Level: A2/B1
Age: 14/15
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Case study 1:
OpenSim tandem sessions with PC lab support
Sessions A1 and A2
• 6 French/German tandem pairs in OpenSim via school PC lab
• French pupils together in same PC lab
• German pupils in one PC lab together with 6 classmates for background
support
• 3 posters in French and 3 posters in German
• French/German language shift within one session determined by poster
• Topic: “waste disposal” (session A1) and “vegetarian diet” (session A2)
Session C
• 4 French/German tandem pairs
• Same PC lab setting as in A1/A2, but no “supporting” classmates in
German PC lab
• Topic: “Fashion” (posters /pictures of participating pupils)
• Posters & communication only in German (=> no language shift)
Session B
• 4 French/German tandem pairs
• Same PC lab setting as in A1/A2
• Topic: “Europe” (posters created by the German students)
• Posters & communication only in French (=> no language shift)
Session variables:
• Different topics
• Language shift vs. no language shift
• No. of students (6 vs. 4 pairs)
• With/without “supporting” classmates
Developmental set-up: to find out what works best
and make improvements from one exchange to the next
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Case study 1:
Teacher and student feedback
• Topics: preference to talk about personal experiences, likes, dislikes,
habits and opinions (favorite topic: fashion)
• Posters: flexible means to provide stimuli for communication and
discovery of intercultural differences and similarities
• Language of communication: preference for focus on one language
• Students as background support: distracting and causing language
switches
• Lab situation: lack of communicative privacy
(> disturbing background noise due to parallel telecollaboration pairs)
• Technical problems: network overload (> sound problems; avatars
only visible as clouds)
• Class organisation: challenge to take care of the rest of the class
Topics
Posters
Language
Background
support
Lab situation
Technical issues
Class
organisation
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Case study 2:
Lingua franca conversations in BigBlueButton and forum
Telecollaboration sessions between a Dutch and a French class to explore outside-class
exchanges using the videoconferencing (BigBlueButton), Skype) and forum
 Learning objective: communication practice in German; intercultural awareness
 Thematic focus: 10 topics to choose from, e.g. dress code in school, a day without
mobile phone or computer, is it important to think about where our clothes are made
 Pedagogical approach:
 Lingua franca German (i.e. German is the target language for both partners)
 Pair conversations in BigBlueButton or Moodle forum
 Telecollaborative homework, i.e. access to BigBlueButton and forum from home
 BL arrangement: preparatory and follow-up activities
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Case study 2:
Task arrangements
Level: A2/B1 ; Age: 14/15
Time span: two weeks
Preparatory activities:
• Decision on tool (BBB or forum) depending on
pupils’ preference and/or technological
infrastructure (teachers formed matching pairs)
• Partner contact and BBB meeting arrangements by
email (autonomous)
Telecollabration task:
• BBB: “discuss 5 topics and take notes”
• Forum: “discuss 3 topics in the forum”
Follow-up activities
• Summarizing conversation protocols
• Final discussion in class and/or presentation of
results in a wiki (could not be carried out due to
time constraints)
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Case study 2:
Assessment – BBB vs. forum
Five pairs using videoconferencing:
• 2 very successful exchanges in BBB
• 1 switch to Skype (technical problems in BBB)
• 2 switches to chat (1 partner with sound problem
Thirteen pairs using the forum
• Contributions ranging between 1 and 11
posts
1
2
3
4
5
I enjoyed the
online task
I found the
online task
interesting for
interaction with
peers of other
countries
I found the
online task
useful for my
language learning
The online task
helped me
discover new
things about the
other culture
I would suggest
to a friend to
take part in this
kind of online
collaboration
I would like to
use online tasks
with students
from other
countries more
often
BBB
Forum
Questionnaire results
• 7 BBB participants
• 8 forum participants
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Case study 2:
Teacher and student feedback
Homework
approach
Lingua Franca
Topics
Technical issues
(BBB)
Organisational
issues
• Students liked to communicate from home (BBB): more relaxed, no time pressure,
no pressure from teachers
• According to teachers, this had a positive effect on pupils’ communication
=> natural and fluent conversations
• No disturbing background noise from other students (like in PC Lab)
• Students liked to talk to other learners of German
• The French students were less worried to make mistakes
• The Dutch students made an effort to communicate well and seriously
• Very positive reaction from teachers
• Topics were suitable for spontaneous communication
• Students choose topics they were personally interested in
• Students could talk about own experiences and opinions
• Students helped each other with technical problems
• They used written chat or a combination of sound and chat when sound did not
work for one partner
• They switched to Skype when BBB did not work for them
• Making appointments for the telecollaboration in BBB was no problem
• All students were involved in the task (BBB or Forum)
• Students who did the forum discussion seemed to need more encouragement
to perform the task
EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014
Conclusion
Telecollaboration activities offer
 motivating opportunities for natural communication and intercultural exchanges
. . . and acknowledgement
Our study would not have been possible without the creative expertise and enthusiastic
commitment of “our” teachers
 Cathérine Felce, College La Cerisaie, Charenton-le-Pont, France
 Helga Frömming, Berlage Lyceum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
 Hajo Zenzen, Gymnasium Saarburg, Germany
Outside-class / homework activities are
 pedagogicaly valid
 technologically feasible

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Petra Hoffstaedter & Kurt Kohn (2014). Task design for intercultural telecollaboration in secondary schools, Insights from the EU project TILA. EuroCALL Groningen, 20-23 Aug 2014

  • 1. Task design for intercultural telecollaboration in secondar y schools I n s i g h t s f r o m t h e E U p r o j e c t T I L A Petra Hoffstaedter & Kurt Kohn Steinbeis-Transferzentrum Sprachlernmedien www.sprachlernmedien.de petra.hoffstaedter@gmail.com kohn.kurt@gmail.com EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
  • 2. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Our topics  Context and rationale  Rubbing shoulders with reality  Waiting for better days?  Effects of class organisation  “Notre tête est ronde”  Case study 1: tandem conversations in OpenSim  Case study 2: lingua franca conversations in BigBlueButton  Conclusion
  • 3. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Context and rationale  The EU project TILA explores the use of telecollaboration for intercultural foreign language learning in secondary schools – WHY? 1. Successful foreign language learning requires  extensive small group communication practice  in ordinary intercultural encounters 2. Telecollaborative communication facilitates authenticated intercultural FL learning  Asynchronous: forum, wiki, blog  Synchronous: sound/video conferencing (Skype, BigBlueButton), 3D virtual worlds (SecondLife, OpenSim)  TILA task ensembles in blended learning settings  preparatory: getting to know each other, knowledge development, familiarizing  face-to-face or online, synchronous or asynchronous, individual or collaborative  main: intercultural communicative interactions embedding in overall class curriculum  in synchronous (BBB, OS) and/or asynchronous (forum, blog) environments  follow-up: securing learning results  face-to-face or online, synchronous or asynchronous, individual or collaborative  Innovation focus = synchronous oral communication  in the 3D virtual world of OpenSim  in the videoconferencing environment BigBlueButton
  • 4. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Rubbing shoulders with reality  Technological infrastructures in secondary schools  sufficient for synchronous (written) chat and asynchronous (written) forum, blog  far less sufficient for synchronous oral (BBB, OpenSim)  Teacher feedback and participant observations (from first TILA pilots)  poor sound quality (disturbances, breakdowns)  survival communication (“Can you hear me?”)  Positive feedback from pupils  YES: encouraging evidence of the high motivation potential of TC  BUT: first-time effect (which will not last if problems persist)  Seemingly positive feedback must not distract from sound quality as a necessary condition for pedagogic success
  • 5. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Waiting for better days? It would be a serious mistake to expect everything will be fine with just a little bit of more time and technological development  Technological development  can take quite unexpected turns  and will not necessarily move in our direction  unless we voice our interests and needs loud and clearly  Availability of potentially powerful technological infrastructures is increasing  BUT: effects of “light weight” mobile computing (private)  BUT: insufficient coverage (in institutions)  BUT: underuse of potential: lack of expertise and support (e.g. sound settings)
  • 6. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Effects of class organisation The technological quality of synchronous oral telecollaboration is closely linked to class (group) organisation  Traditional face-to-face focus on class times, class locations and class-size groups  not necessarily suitable for synchronous oral telecollaboration  Full-class exchanges with VC/data projector offer (only) limited communication options  one-to-many  one-to-one (with rest of class as observers or background support)  Small parallel telecollaboration groups in PC lab  lack of communicative privacy  reduced sound/video quality because of temporary network overload  class organisation?
  • 7. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 “Notre tête est ronde pour permettre à la pensée de changer de direction.” Francis Picabia (1879-1953)  We need to  reconsider and adapt  our concepts and strategies of class organisation  to the conditions of telecollaboration
  • 8. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Case study 1: Tandem conversations in virtual worlds (OpenSim) Four successive telecollaboration sessions between a French and a German class via school PC lab  Learning objective: communication practice in French and German; intercultural awareness  Thematic focus: waste disposal, vegetarian diet, fashion, and Europe  Pedagogical approach:  tandem French/German  learning stations with posters in French or German  French/German pairs of pupils walk from poster to poster and discuss a topic in the poster or session language  BL arrangement: preparatory and follow-up activities in F2F, forum, blog or wiki Level: A2/B1 Age: 14/15
  • 9. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Case study 1: OpenSim tandem sessions with PC lab support Sessions A1 and A2 • 6 French/German tandem pairs in OpenSim via school PC lab • French pupils together in same PC lab • German pupils in one PC lab together with 6 classmates for background support • 3 posters in French and 3 posters in German • French/German language shift within one session determined by poster • Topic: “waste disposal” (session A1) and “vegetarian diet” (session A2) Session C • 4 French/German tandem pairs • Same PC lab setting as in A1/A2, but no “supporting” classmates in German PC lab • Topic: “Fashion” (posters /pictures of participating pupils) • Posters & communication only in German (=> no language shift) Session B • 4 French/German tandem pairs • Same PC lab setting as in A1/A2 • Topic: “Europe” (posters created by the German students) • Posters & communication only in French (=> no language shift) Session variables: • Different topics • Language shift vs. no language shift • No. of students (6 vs. 4 pairs) • With/without “supporting” classmates Developmental set-up: to find out what works best and make improvements from one exchange to the next
  • 10. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Case study 1: Teacher and student feedback • Topics: preference to talk about personal experiences, likes, dislikes, habits and opinions (favorite topic: fashion) • Posters: flexible means to provide stimuli for communication and discovery of intercultural differences and similarities • Language of communication: preference for focus on one language • Students as background support: distracting and causing language switches • Lab situation: lack of communicative privacy (> disturbing background noise due to parallel telecollaboration pairs) • Technical problems: network overload (> sound problems; avatars only visible as clouds) • Class organisation: challenge to take care of the rest of the class Topics Posters Language Background support Lab situation Technical issues Class organisation
  • 11. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Case study 2: Lingua franca conversations in BigBlueButton and forum Telecollaboration sessions between a Dutch and a French class to explore outside-class exchanges using the videoconferencing (BigBlueButton), Skype) and forum  Learning objective: communication practice in German; intercultural awareness  Thematic focus: 10 topics to choose from, e.g. dress code in school, a day without mobile phone or computer, is it important to think about where our clothes are made  Pedagogical approach:  Lingua franca German (i.e. German is the target language for both partners)  Pair conversations in BigBlueButton or Moodle forum  Telecollaborative homework, i.e. access to BigBlueButton and forum from home  BL arrangement: preparatory and follow-up activities
  • 12. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Case study 2: Task arrangements Level: A2/B1 ; Age: 14/15 Time span: two weeks Preparatory activities: • Decision on tool (BBB or forum) depending on pupils’ preference and/or technological infrastructure (teachers formed matching pairs) • Partner contact and BBB meeting arrangements by email (autonomous) Telecollabration task: • BBB: “discuss 5 topics and take notes” • Forum: “discuss 3 topics in the forum” Follow-up activities • Summarizing conversation protocols • Final discussion in class and/or presentation of results in a wiki (could not be carried out due to time constraints)
  • 13. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Case study 2: Assessment – BBB vs. forum Five pairs using videoconferencing: • 2 very successful exchanges in BBB • 1 switch to Skype (technical problems in BBB) • 2 switches to chat (1 partner with sound problem Thirteen pairs using the forum • Contributions ranging between 1 and 11 posts 1 2 3 4 5 I enjoyed the online task I found the online task interesting for interaction with peers of other countries I found the online task useful for my language learning The online task helped me discover new things about the other culture I would suggest to a friend to take part in this kind of online collaboration I would like to use online tasks with students from other countries more often BBB Forum Questionnaire results • 7 BBB participants • 8 forum participants
  • 14. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Case study 2: Teacher and student feedback Homework approach Lingua Franca Topics Technical issues (BBB) Organisational issues • Students liked to communicate from home (BBB): more relaxed, no time pressure, no pressure from teachers • According to teachers, this had a positive effect on pupils’ communication => natural and fluent conversations • No disturbing background noise from other students (like in PC Lab) • Students liked to talk to other learners of German • The French students were less worried to make mistakes • The Dutch students made an effort to communicate well and seriously • Very positive reaction from teachers • Topics were suitable for spontaneous communication • Students choose topics they were personally interested in • Students could talk about own experiences and opinions • Students helped each other with technical problems • They used written chat or a combination of sound and chat when sound did not work for one partner • They switched to Skype when BBB did not work for them • Making appointments for the telecollaboration in BBB was no problem • All students were involved in the task (BBB or Forum) • Students who did the forum discussion seemed to need more encouragement to perform the task
  • 15. EUROCALL 2014, Groningen, 20-23 August 2014 Conclusion Telecollaboration activities offer  motivating opportunities for natural communication and intercultural exchanges . . . and acknowledgement Our study would not have been possible without the creative expertise and enthusiastic commitment of “our” teachers  Cathérine Felce, College La Cerisaie, Charenton-le-Pont, France  Helga Frömming, Berlage Lyceum, Amsterdam, Netherlands  Hajo Zenzen, Gymnasium Saarburg, Germany Outside-class / homework activities are  pedagogicaly valid  technologically feasible