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Telecollaboration 2.0

Language, Literacies and Intercultural Learning in the 21 st Century

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Sarah Guth and Francesca Helm

Telecollaboration, or online intercultural exchange, has become widely recognised as an effective way to promote the development of intercultural communicative competence and language skills. However, the study and implementation of new 2.0 environments such as wikis, Skype, virtual worlds and gaming for telecollaboration is still in its infancy. How can these multilingual, multimodal, collaborative environments be used to promote language and intercultural learning? What are the implications for teachers and learners and what new literacies are required? Do they offer an added-value? This book seeks to answer these questions and many more by bringing together the experience and expertise of researchers and practitioners alike. The authors offer critical stances, new frameworks and practical case studies to help the reader ‘navigate’ the world of Telecollaboration 2.0.

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SARAH GUTH AND FRANCESCA HELM Introduction 13

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Introduction SARAH GUTH AND FRANCESCA HELM In the dynamically evolving and turbulent global culture, multiple literacies necessitate multicultural literacies, being able to understand and work with a heterogenity of cultural groups and forms, acquiring literacies in a multiplicity of media, and gaining the competences to participate in a democratic culture and society. (Kellner 2002: 166) In the past decade, outside of education, the Internet, and especially Web 2.0, has led to a change in the way knowledge is created and shared (Benkler 2006; Magnan 2008) and, some argue, in the very nature of knowledge itself (Siemens 2006); examples would be the collective bottom-up creation of knowledge on sites like Wikipedia and the concept of ‘citizen journalism’ (Bowman and Willis 2003). However, in education the predominant paradigm continues to be the one-way transmission and prescriptivist organization of knowl- edge. This paradigm is “becoming obsolete in a global post-industrial and networked society with its demands for new skills for the work- place, participation in new social and political environs, and inter- action with novel forms of culture and everyday life” (Kellner 2002: 155). This is not to say that new technologies are not used, but rather that when they are used, the technology-mediated literacy practices that are adopted “reflect a strong tendency to perpetuate the old, rather than to engage with and refine or re-invent the new” (Lank- shear and Knobel 2006: 55). This contradiction needs to be over- come through new educational practices that aim to help students learn how to...

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