Online Intercultural Exchanges Through Digital Storytelling

Online Intercultural Exchanges Through Digital Storytelling

Ana Sevilla-Pavón (University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain) and Anna Nicolaou (Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCALLT.2017100104

Abstract

This article focuses on the affordances of a digital storytelling project in developing students' language, digital and other skills: learning and innovation, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, team working, and life and career skills. The project was undertaken by university English for Specific Purposes students and was conducted within an Online Intercultural Exchange between the Cyprus University of Technology and the University of Valencia. Its design was based on a Project-Based Learning (PBL) methodology. It incorporated active learning and multimodal resources and capabilities. The need for transforming language teaching pedagogies was borne in mind, as it is necessary for responding to an era of changes which requires students to be active producers of content, innovative, motivated and engaged in their own learning. The qualitative and quantitative findings were drawn from data gathered by means of an evaluation questionnaire administered to students upon completion of the project.
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Online Intercultural Exchange And Digital Storytelling

Within a PBL framework, two teaching approaches were combined in the project in an effort to produce a synergy so as to promote students’ learning gains: Online Intercultural Exchange (OIE) and Digital Storytelling (DST). The effectiveness of this combination has previously been reported in the literature, namely in connection to the students’ involvement in their learning process leading to the acquisition of the target language and its culture as well as the use of technology to support learning-by-doing in authentic situations and in collaboration with foreign counterparts. In addition, the combination of OIE and DST can create opportunities for the creation of artefacts by the students themselves and the facilitation of contextualised, in-depth cultural awareness (Sevilla Pavón & Gimeno Sanz, 2017).

Online Intercultural Exchange (OIE), Online International Learning (OIL), COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning), Telecollaboration, eTandem or Teletandem are different names which have been used in the last decade to refer to a form of virtual mobility which is being increasingly adopted by university educators in Europe and elsewhere as a supplement for physical student mobility (O’Dowd, 2013; Orsini-Jones & Lee, 2018) or even as a substitute of it. Foreign language telecollaboration refers to virtual intercultural interaction and exchange projects between classes of foreign language learners in geographically distant locations (O’Dowd, 2007). It has also been defined as an Internet-based exchange aimed at developing both language skills and intercultural communicative competence (ICC) (Guth & Helm, 2010).

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