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Case Study 7

Page history last edited by sarah.guth@... 13 years, 7 months ago

The CrossCall Project[1]

 


Student cohort

 

  Group 1  Group 2 
academic level   Secondary school pupils in UK
University students
mean age  17
21
location of students  
 
native language English, heritage speakers of Arabic
English, Spanish, German
exchange language Russian, Spanish, German, Arabic
Russian, Spanish, German, Arabic

 

Brief description and intended outcomes

This project involves volunteer university students as online mentors of secondary school pupils studying different foreign languages to improve motivation and performance. It was set up in response to the causes of dissatisfaction identified through a survey on foreign language education in schools - in particular the lack of opportunities to communicate with native or expert speakers in meaningful communication that focuses on the real communicative needs of teenagers. The case study addresses modern foreign languages and also community, or heritage, languages.

 

Technologies used

 

Tool  Mode  Other

WebCT

 synchronous and asynchronous

The exchange involved use of discussion board, chat rooms, links to online resources

 

Tasks & Phases

The case study mentions various tasks used for different groups. Some examples follow

Group 1 preparing for a trip abroad to Yaroslavl where Group 2 students were studying. Information exchange tasks.

Creating website for Spanish tapas bar in UK with group 2 helping group 1.

News Quiz prepared by group 2 for group 1.

Group 1 preparing Powerpoint presentations to show to and get feedback from Group 2

 

Assessment

None.

 

Evaluation of the Exchange

Positive

Motivation and performance is reported to have improved in pupils as reported by the pupils themselves and also their teachers, and some pupils showed interest in continuing language study at university. This type of telecollaboration provides the opportunity to learn the target language in a richer way, developing, challenging and changing their attitudes and values by providing real participants and authentic communication situations.

 

Negative

Problems running the project eg. contacting busy school teachers, fitting in synchronous communication to schedules.

 

Author's conclusions

Communication initiated by pupils themselves was more motivating and engaging than communication based on tasks set by teachers because, the author argues, it met the communication needs and interests of the pupils. When pupils and student mentors worked in dyads (as opposed to groups) communication was more successful, exchanges were lively and involved intercultural comparison and learning. The near-peer relationship which is a distinctive feature of project was found to be positive factor, it meant pupils were exposed to language and register more typical of their age group.

 

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Footnotes

  1. King, T. (2010) The CrossCall Project: Cross-sector Computer-assisted Language Learning. In S. Guth and F. Helm (eds.) Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, Literacy and Intercultural Learning in the 21st Century, pp. 437-451. Bern: Peter Lang.

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