Promoting Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication With Flipgrid: Design, Implementation, and Outcomes

Promoting Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication With Flipgrid: Design, Implementation, and Outcomes

Lina Lee (University of New Hampshire, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2591-3.ch013


The chapter reports a Spanish-American intercultural exchange through which L2 learners used asynchronous video discussions to exchange cross-cultural perspectives. The study involved 37 university students who carried out CMC tasks over a 14-week period. Using quantitative and qualitative data collection, the study explored the affordances and challenges of using asynchronous video discussions for intercultural learning. Findings revealed that students demonstrated interpersonal communication skills and strategies to interact with their distant partners, and gained intercultural competence. The study suggests that a personal commitment to the online exchange is essential to maximize the potential of asynchronous CMC to promote active interaction. The study concludes with pedagogical implications for practitioners interested in implementing virtual exchange projects using video discussions to develop learners' interpersonal and intercultural communicative competence.
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According to the ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learning (ACTFL, 2012), building interpersonal communication skills is essential for language learners to interact effectively with others. Interpersonal communication involves interpreting and producing the target language through negotiation of meaning within a variety of social contexts, such as in face-to-face communication or through social interaction mediated by digital technology. However, many students encounter challenges in developing communicative language competence1 in the traditional classroom due to limited instructional time and large classes. Moreover, many students do not have the opportunity to use the target language (L2) in authentic communication beyond the classroom. Given that language exchanges generally take place between native speakers (NSs) of different cultural backgrounds, virtual exchanges supported by computer-mediated communication (CMC) afford invaluable opportunities for L2 learners to engage in genuine interaction through which they build language skills and intercultural competence (Dugartsyrenova & Sardegna, 2017; Lee, 2018; Schenker, 2012). Accordingly, different approaches and models have been implemented in L2 instruction to promote intercultural communication and L2 development. Efforts have been made to engage students in intercultural interaction and collaboration with partner classes from other cultural contexts (e.g., Canto, Jauregi & van den Bergh, 2013; Guth & Helm, 2010; Lee, 2017; Lee & Markey, 2014; O’Dowd & Lewis, 2016). Affordances of online intercultural exchange include linguistic gains (e.g., Çiftçi, 2016), pragmatic awareness (e.g., Chun, 2011), intercultural competence (e.g., Lee, 2012), and increased motivation and autonomy (Fuchs, Hauck, & Müller-Hartmann, 2012; Lee, 2011). Challenges have also been identified, such as different time zones for real-time interaction, limited access to the internet and lack of technological skills (Helm & Guth, 2010; O’Dowd, 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intercultural Competence: It refers to the ability to demonstrate targeted knowledge, skills and attitudes that lead to effective and appropriate communication with people of other cultures.

Virtual Exchange: A type of educational project uses technology to allow people from different cultural backgrounds to interact and communicate at a distance.

Asynchronous Video Communication: Audio and video communication between remote parties takes place without the requirement of being present in real time.

Peer Feedback: Comments made by other students with an intention of bringing learners’ attention to focus on form, such as grammar features. Peer feedback provides the opportunity for students to learn from each other.

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