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Barcellona EuroCALL SIG Workshop

Page history last edited by Sarah 13 years, 1 month ago


EUROCALL CMC and Teacher Education SIGs Annual Workshop 2011, Barcellona, April 2011


Telecollaboration 2.0 and Intercultural Communication: 

Competences for the promotion of online dialogue.


Sarah Guth & Francesca Helm


Workshop description


This workshop will be divided into two parts. The first part will focus on new models for telecollaboration and the second on issues surrounding the promotion of online dialogue in the context of these new models.


Part 1. Telecollaboration 2.0 and Intercultural Communication

For over a decade now telecollaboration has become a relatively common practice among individual foreign language teachers. However, whereas in the past projects tended to be bi-national, bicultural, and bilingual, in recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the concept of culture is much more complex and fluid than national culture and that the use of new online tools for communication require new online literacies as well as intercultural competence and language skills. 

In this first part, we will explore recent trends in the practice of Telecollaboration 2.0. This will be followed by a discussion of how new contexts and configurations lead to the need for expanded objectives for telecollaboration. In groups, participants will then take a look at practical examples of ‘Telecollaboration 2.0’ projects, focusing on task design and the impact of different tools and environments on communication, in particular wikis and synchronous audio-video discussion tools.


Part 2. Promoting Online Dialogue in Telecollaboration 2.0 

Much of the literature on language and intercultural communication has suggested that it is important to avoid conflict in online (and indeed face-to-face) discussions. Recently, however, there has been a turn in the CMC literature, pointing to the potential value of conflict as an opportunity for learning in a 'dialogic approach' (Schneider and von der Emde, 2006) whereby differences are allowed to exist and students can feel comfortable with disagreement. 

This second part of the workshop begins by looking at how a group of students viewed disagreements and conflict in an online exchange program which involves synchronous audio-video group discussions. We will then present participants with a series of ‘critical incidences’ and discuss  strategies that educators can employ to deal with conflict and create environments where dialogue is possible. 


Workshop outcomes

Participants should leave the workshop with:

– knowledge of new configurations for telecollaboration, 

– practical ideas for developing tasks for Telecollaboration 2.0 projects,

– an understanding of the competences educators need to promote online dialogue in telecollaboration contexts.


Workshop programme

14.30-14.45 Introductions

14.45-15.10 Part 1 presentation

15:10 -15.20 Individual reading

15.20-15.30 Group (x4) discussion

15.30-15.40 Whole group discussion

15.40 -16:30 Part 2 presentation and activities

We will have the opportunity to have more group discussion later in the afternoon.


Part 1: Group Activity

Groups: 4 attendants


Step 1 (10 min.): Read the case study in your handout (or see the page Case Studies Barcelona) and consider (or take notes on):


  • the advantages and disadvantages
  • the feasibility of implementing the example in your own case (why or why not?)
  • similarities with or differences from more 'traditional' configurations or experiences you have had
  • does it promote all 3 domains (language learning, ICC and new online literacies) or does one dominate?


Step 2 (10 min.): In your groups, discuss your 'findings' and together choose:


  • one case study you find to be particularly effective or interesting
  • one case study you find to be problematic.


Step 3 (10 min.): Each group presents their choices to the whole group followed by discussion.


For more case studies and/or more details on the ones you have, feel free to click and explore the links below.


Case Study 1

Case Study 2

Case Study 3

Case Study 4

Case Study 5

Case Study 6

Case Study 7

Case Study 8

Part 2: Group Activities

The on-hands activities in the second part are fully integrated into the powerpoint presentation, which will be posted here after the workshop. Below we have added additional information that may be of interest to participants.

What students say about disagreements


Farah: Week 3

John and I spoked about the situation between US and israel and the recent situation after the annouce of the Israelian Prime minister to build new houses in the arab part of Jerusalem...It was very lovely,especially that we expressed the same point of view about this issue. We both agreed that Israel is acting against the peace process and that this decision would create much more complications and conflicts in the region!


Farah: Week 4

How intense was this session!! From extremism to religion and occupation…a lot of arguments that made our session more than particular.

So beginning with Extremism, i had to ask my peers about it, in order to get more informations in relation with our last readings, and it was that following question: do u think that extremism spread popular support for terrorist acts?

For some, Extremism was the root of terrorism and that it is basically related to Islam…but coming to hear one of my peers that went on saying that also the bombs in Moscow subways today was probably also a Muslim terrorist group and that Islam is mostly associated with violence made me completely disagree! [..]

And once again, we weren’t agreeing because from John’s point of view, some occupation is an attempt to stabilize the region..wich made me disagree…

[…] Well, it was tough…but we can’t always agree with others…and even by disagreeing, we manage to see how much we can learn from others points of view.. and that what made this session very constructive and pretty interesting! 

[…] The discussion became very hot and each group was attacking the other...words were falling like bombs and we were just like fighting! Whose fault was that? Whose politics was wrong? Whose war was right?

I was standing there, listening to both of my peers and feeling sorry about all these accuses. I realized how Palestinians were hateful for being displaced by the influx of Jews, how inside they felt that there is no chance for peace, how they considered that no discussions will be made and that the only way to get out of that conflict is to keep up this war or to separate the two states...because peace has no more chance in that part of the world!

I really felt bad about that, that's why i had to told them that we maybe have to stop giving the fault to each other, we maybe have to stop searching who is more guilty than the other and try to build instead of destroying...


Andrea Week 3

This session was very interesting & various; we talked about the readings & “hot topics” like religion that could embarrassed some guys but, despite that preoccupation, every guy respected the other opinions about the argument so the discussion was very tempered and positive.


Andrea Week 9

I was very surprised because I would never think that Soliya will be so “easy” to carry out: I was very afraid about the potential difficulties about so different cultures, expecially nowadays that the risks of a “clash of civilizations” are very high… Instead, in my group I met guys that always respected other opinions, although sometimes they disagreed with specific opinions… It was so beautiful talking in this way about many different arguments and issues: stereotypes, international crisis, religious war, women’s right, economic issues, globalization, terrorism, etc… 


Marco Week 3

 I have to say that I like very much my “friends” because they like to speak and to explain theirs opinions. They also like to take part in the discussion in a strong way, I mean if they disagree with someone they underline why they haven’t the same opinion giving examples.

It was the main theme of the “veil” in West world. This is normally a strong argument, in the case of my group the four girls from East wear all the veil, so I immediately felt it was an hot theme. In this case I was the only one from West and above all the only man, so my role was very important. All the girls didn’t agree with the position of French president to ban the veil from public place. My position was the same but I said that as I am atheist it’s not a problem for me to see religion symbol, but I also think that the main position of catholic people is very different. 


Anna Week 4

Going back to the 4th Soliya session, the discussion was really engaging because for the first time we did not all agree on the same issues: instead, we tried to discuss critically and to understand what the others thought about a specific topic. Everything started with the simple game of "word associations": our facilitator said a sequence of words and we were asked to write in the chat box the first thing which occurred into our minds by hearing each of them. 

[…] For the word "Muslim" things were quite easy because almost everybody wrote "devout, religious etc..". For the term "Islam", however, things started to be more complicated. Someone for example said "way of life", someone else instead wrote "misunderstood", meaning that too many people associate Islam with a religion of terror and terrorists. […]The word "Palestine" was the starting point of a real, hot discussion: most of us immediately thought of Palestinian people suffering because of airstrikes, food shortage, unemployment etc.. Not everybody shared the same ideas on the issue, someone was clearly on Israel's side, someone else was totally against it. Everybody, however, exposed their ideas with high respect of the others, and tried to mitigate their statements, for example by asking questions, smoothing their assertions or by simply saying they were sorry for being too direct..At the end no definitive answer or idea emerged (there can't be just one since we're not expected to agree, aren't we?), but we all left with the impression that sharing ideas - may they be similar or totally different - somehow gives you more hints and points of view to take into account later..

The conversation later touched other issues such as women's freedom to wear whatever they want to (what about the bikini?) or to have sexual relationships before marriage. Although very delicate issues, my friend and I had a sincere and open discussion, 


Elisa week 5

During my speech the two American girls thought me to have said that Bush is a terrorist and my first reaction was provocative as I said: “I’ve never said that Bush is a terrorist, maybe I can suppose it!”. Then I remembered her about international politics that Bush’s administrations have adopted and most of girls in my session were agreeing with me. Only the two American girls said that international politics that Bush’s administrations have adopted wasn’t bad and the only bad thing that Bush’s administrations have done is a bad Political Economics. This assertion shocked me as this showed how individualists are these two American girls: they don’t care about the rest of the world!!! I think and I hope that not every American people are of this opinion. 


Elisa week 9

My last Soliya session was really surprising as I saw how someone is able to change his point of view during every session. When I tell you about this I’m referring to a specific point of view: Suzanne’s one. Suzanne is the girl in my group who is coming from Colorado and my first meet with her was almost difficult as she tried to defend her country (U.S.A.) in a blunt manner. On the contrary, after having done her video project and having done some researches about it, she learnt more about U.S. international politics and about Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So during our last session she showed to keep an open mind. 

I think that Soliya has changed my character: before this experience I has never been able to share my thoughts with unknown people. But after these nine sessions I know that’s possible. This is the reason why I would like to stay in touch with some girls in my group to continue to share our thoughts about everything is happening into the world. I also have to say that every single session of my Soliya’s experience was interesting: even the one during which I felt bored (the second one) because that session gave me the drive for sharing my thoughts during the successive sessions. 


Simone week 2

Sincerly? the second session was more boring than the first...I don't know but It was like a cliché.

Of course it was more spontaneus and natural but not interesting to hear sentences as " we are the world, we are the children..." or "image all the people living life in peace....".

We discussed about the two assigned articles: I found a good point of view in the Jordan one. Also the wrote of Huntington is a sort of masterpiece right or wrong.

But inevitably we were talking about religion, always about religion.


Cristina week 2

Even if the discussion was a little bit roughly, afterwards we talk in prived chats and we clarify our possitions, and also apologize for any missundestood.

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