An account of the creation of a virtual French exchange
From outset wanted to recreate flexible learning spaces that allow students freedon to find own preferred places to learn. Needed one shared platform to connect, seed bed – fertile land.Mobile, no restrictions.
Once in moodle students show us that they are aware of how to manage their digital identities, profile pictures chosen show awareness of their audience, level of sophistication in online communication.
Students move out together to connect in their own preferred spaces, the moodle course uses RSS feeds to bring back feeds from twitter hashtages #warcler (in eng) #clerwar (in fr) and paperli for both locations. A campus based IM was also made available which has been downloaded by 125 people so far.
Research consent form issued, Clermont student designed logo, now engaged in the process of analysis of data. Early results show that this increased student ownership of this opportunity has also increased engagement. Vital that we help students to become multilingual actors in online communications, potential to balance inequalties due to personality (shy, anxious reticent to communicate with unfamiliar), those who are less able to get online (free wifi, cheap smartphones in Fr) able to gather data about the nature of these interactions.
Returning to initial image: flowers in vases (individual in classroom) may thrive for a while but will always be limited. In a more open setting irises shoot out rhizomes – as our students reached out to one another, and the result is greater interaction and a population that is more widespread and connected – the evidence of learning shows in the reflective work completed by students in their portfolios.
Flower vases and irises PELeCON12 contribution
Flower vases and irises Nurturing connections for learning.
Clermont-Ferrand And Warwick Virtual Interactive Exchange ResearchQuestionnaire highlights so far: (137 replies)77% agree/strongly agree that they are comfortable with computer mediatedcommunication81% have had more than 1 interaction through the exchangeBUT53% communicate online using a foreign language
Kearney et al, Research inLearning Technology Vol20, 2012http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/14406/html