Who Owns the Floor?: Examining Participation in a Collaborative Learning Scenario Between Student Teachers and Active Professionals in Second Life

Who Owns the Floor?: Examining Participation in a Collaborative Learning Scenario Between Student Teachers and Active Professionals in Second Life

Airong Wang (Department of Humanities, Mid Sweden University, Härnösand, Sweden), Anders Steinvall (Department of Language Studies, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden) and Mats Deutschmann (Department of Language Studies, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/ijvple.2014010103
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Abstract

This study investigates the effects of unequal power relations on participation in a group of student teachers and invited professionals in two collaborative workshops in Second Life. The data includes recordings, group reflections, and individual questionnaires. Participation was examined from the aspects of floor space, turn length, and utterance functions and complemented with student reflections. The results show that at a general level, the differences of floor space and turn length between the invited professionals and the students were small. Moreover, the invited professionals did more conversational management than the students, while the students performed more supportive speech acts. There were, however, individual variations.
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Background

Language Learning, Networking and Social Software

The affordance of online communication in bringing intercultural learners together to create communities of practice and critical inquiry is particularly valuable in collaborative online language learning (Warschauer, 1997). For this purpose, educators are increasingly integrating social software such as blogs, Skype, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and SL in CALL. The open architectures of such social media support collective online activities, one of the main advantages being that the social networks of the students and the teachers can be integrated into the learning context thus adding to the authenticity of the scenario and increasing engagement (Bowers, Ragas, & Neely, 2009; Otto & Pusack, 2009). In the context of this study, our ambition was to integrate the students in existing professional networks, a practice which will be discussed further below.

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