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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 2 - Building effective, dynamic online partnerships (Melinda Dooly, Dolors Masats, Andreas Müller-Hartmann, Beatriz Caballero de Rodas) 45

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CHAPTER 2 Building effective, dynamic online partnerships Melinda Dooly, Dolors Masats, Andreas Müller-Hartmann, Beatriz Caballero de Rodas To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. (Anthony Robbins) Summary This chapter will look at the way in which the dynamics of the classroom (face-to-face) and the dynamics of the virtual relationships (online) must be taken into consideration as a whole, not as separate components. We will look at the different roles the participants of the project have and analyse ways to ensure efficient and harmonious collaborative partnerships. Online collaboration between classrooms: Focus on the learner1 If we understand learning as a social phenomenon which occurs when learners acquire competences in different areas through interaction with peers and adults (Bruner, 1986, 1996; Bonk & 1 Part of this material was originally written by Melinda Dooly to be included in the chapter “Choosing the appropriate communication tools for an on-line exchange” in On-line Intercultural Exchange: an Introduction for Foreign Language Teachers R. O’Dowd (Ed.), UK: Multilingual Matters (2007). CHAPTER 2 46 Wisher, 2000), then we must consider carefully the type of net- work-based interaction we design for our students in our projects. We have already discussed the benefits that can derive from using the Internet as a means of collaborative interaction in Chapter 1; however simply finding “online partners” for our students is not enough. We must be sure that the...

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