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Telecollaborative Language Learning

A guidebook to moderating intercultural collaboration online

Edited By Melinda Ann Dooly Owenby

This guidebook brings together the knowledge, insight and experience gained by the participants of an international telecollaborative language learning project entitled Moderating Intercultural Collaboration and Language Learning (MICaLL). Telecollaboration is understood here as a shared teaching and learning experience between distanced partners that is facilitated through the use of Internet technology; an area of growing interest for many teachers. The book first provides a theoretical outline of suitable pedagogical practices for this type of joint effort and then moves into the more practical aspects of designing, setting up, implementing and evaluating telecollaborative projects. The guidebook considers relevant questions and issues which often come up when teachers without previous experience in telecollaboration undertake this type of enterprise. Through the realistic advice and practical examples provided, the reader will be motivated to engage in telecollaborative language learning projects with their own pupils.

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CHAPTER 1 - Constructing knowledge together (Melinda Dooly) 21

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CHAPTER 1 Constructing knowledge together Melinda Dooly Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. (Henry Ford) Summary In this chapter, we briefly explain what we propose as a working defi- nition of cooperative and collaborative learning and why it is important. This chapter gives an overview of how the premise of constructivism provides an important axis for collaborative and cooperative work. We also examine how this type of approach easily fits with online language learning projects. Basic points for setting up online collaborative projects are given, however these examples are quite general in this chapter, since more specific examples of how collaborative and/or cooperative learning can be explored with network-based learning are provided in Chapters 3 and 4. Constructing knowledge together: collaborative or cooperative learning? Collaborative learning requires working together toward a common goal. This type of learning has been called by various names: cooperative learning, collaborative learning, collective learning, learning com- munities, peer teaching, peer learning, or team learning. What they CHAPTER 1 22 have in common is that they all incorporate group work. Still, it has been argued that collaboration is more than co-operation. Colla- boration entails the whole process of learning. This may include students teaching one another, students teaching the teacher, and of course the teacher teaching the students, too. More importantly, it means that students are responsible for one another’s learning as well as their own and that reaching the goal implies that students have helped each other to...

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