Developing Intercultural Competence through Glocal Activity Theory Using the Connect-Exchange Study Abroad App

Developing Intercultural Competence through Glocal Activity Theory Using the Connect-Exchange Study Abroad App

Rich Rice, Ben Lauren
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4916-3.ch008
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This chapter lays a theoretical foundation for the development of an emerging model of studying intercultural communication through problem-based study abroad pedagogy. At the center of this model is a new computer tool called the Connect-Exchange App, which is meant to facilitate transactional learning between users with varying cultural backgrounds. To research how different audiences might use the app, the authors draw upon activity theory to guide their iterative design process to facilitate users' deepening glocal, intercultural competence. Developing intercultural competence is a process of iterative experiences connecting, exchanging, and filtering information.
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The Need For Intercultural Competence Mashing

Spend a few minutes reviewing recent news media with glocal transactional rhetoric in mind to examine such complexity. We must assume people are in some way connected through communication tools, that we are sender-receivers rather than merely senders, and that we must work to achieve stasis or shared recognition of cultural disjuncture or hegemonic forces through a productive level of intercultural competence. As an example, consider a recent debate between Pakistani young girls about nuclear proliferation and “Indian aggression” (“What,” 2011). Certainly some further understanding of cultural difference, such as characteristics of self-restraint, is necessary in order to more fully understand cross-cultural positioning (see Figure 1). Or, consider an interfaith dialogue at the “Global Future 2045” Congress regarding human problems such as the militarization of neuroscience as weaponry, when religion becomes ideology, arguing for the disarmament of three weapons of mass destruction: poverty, fear, and hate (“Interfaith,” 2012). Some level of understanding related to uncertainty avoidance differences across cultures and organizations could aid the conversation (see Figure 2). Or, consider the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, designed to “strengthen collaboration and build partnerships” in order to foster mutual understanding, facilitate education reform, and strengthen civil society without threatening cultural identity (“Obama,” 2013). One hurdle with the initiative is in understanding how diverse the definition of “civil society” is cross-culturally due to power distance differences (see Figure 3). Finally, consider a recent article outlining former U.S. Department of Justice official John Yoo's views. He is known for his legal justification of President George W. Bush's “enhanced interrogation techniques” (see Figure 4). During a recent U.S. House Judiciary committee meeting he testified in support of President Obama's approach to the use of drones for targeted killings (Voorhees, 2013).

Figure 1.

What Pakistani girls think about India (

Figure 2.

Interfaith dialogue- The Global Future 2045 Congress (


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