Abstract TILA accepted for presentation at Online Educa Berlin

The following abstract has been accepted for presentation at Online Educa Berlin, 3-5 of December 2014.

Integrating Telecollaboration practices in secondary education: lessons learned in the European Project TILA.

Telecollaboration is becoming increasingly popular in education as a way to enhance language acquisition (Canto et al., 2013) and Intercultural Communicative Competence (Byram, 2012; Canto et al., 2014). As most experiences reported so far on telecollaboration refer to tertiary language education (Pol, 2013), educational experiences and research studies in a secondary educational context are needed in order to find out whether the positive results of telecollaboration reported on adults in higher education do apply to younger students at secondary schools. The European project TILA originated in 2013 from this very specific need. 

TILA, Telecollaboration for Intercultural Language Acquisition[1], (Jauregi et al., 2013) seeks to:

(1) innovate and enrich language teaching programs at secondary schools and make them more motivating and effective by stimulating telecollaboration for intercultural awareness with peers of other cultures;
(2) empower (student) teachers for developing ICT literacy skills, as well as organisational, pedagogical and intercultural competences for telecollaboration; and
(3) study the added value that telecollaboration may have in language learning for intercultural understanding of younger learners.

Several preparatory teacher training sessions have been organised and approximately 300 learners, 200 pre-service teachers and 25 teachers have participated in different pilot experiences using synchronous (videoconferencing and 3D virtual worlds) and/or asynchronous (wikis, blogs and discussion forum) communication tools.

We have been looking at the following research questions:

(1) Is it feasible to integrate telecollaboration in secondary education?
What are the general circumstances at schools in terms of

  • IT: hardware, internet broad band connections and IT Support?
  • social media protocol and privacy concerns?
  • teachers’ view of language teaching pedagogy?

(2) Is there an added value of integrating telecollaboration in secondary education

  • from the learners’ perspective (impact on motivation, intecultural awareness and communicative competence?)
  • from the teachers’ perspective (investing in innovation practices, focus on intercultural communication, becoming a member of a community of practice)

Different sources of data have been gathered for analysis:

  • Pre-questionnaires on secondary school teacher background (IT facilities at school, ICT expertise, view on telecollaboration and Intercultural Communication);
  • Pre-questionnaires on learner background (view on language learning, affinity with social media, use of ICT in their language courses);
  • Learner questionnaires after telecollaboration session;
  • Post-questionnaires on teacher satisfaction after completing telecollaboration sessions.
  • Interaction data (videocommunication sessions, chatlogs, blog and wiki posts).

In this presentation we will report on the main challenges faced when organising interactive sessions and carrying out research on telecollaboration activities at secondary education and the results of the different pilots that have been carried out in different settings using different target languages.  We will be addressing the results focusing both on teachers’ and learners’ perspectives.

References:

  • Canto, S., de Graaff, R. & Jauregi, K.  (2014). Collaborative tasks for negotiation of intercultural meaning in virtual worlds and video-web communication. In González-Lloret, M. & Ortega, L. (eds.) Technology and Tasks: Exploring Technology-mediated TBLT. Amsterdam /Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Jauregi, K.,  Melchor-Couto, S., & Vilar, E. (2013). The European Project TILA. In Bradley, L. & Thouësny, S. (Eds.). 20 years of Eurocall: Learning from the past looking to the future. Dublin: Research Publishing Net. 123-129. ISBN: 978-1-908416-12-4
  • Canto, S., Jauregi, K. & van den Bergh, H. (2013). Integrating cross-cultural interaction through video-communication and virtual worlds in foreign language teaching programs. Burden or added value? In ReCALL, 25/1, 105-121.

[1] TILA is a European project funded by the European Commission within the Lifelong Learning Programme and runs between January 2013 and June 2015.

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