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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 4 - Using portals to open horizons (Melinda Dooly, Dolors Masats, Ton Koenraad) 127

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CHAPTER 4 Using portals to open horizons Melinda Dooly, Dolors Masats, Ton Koenraad A cyberspace is defined more by the interactions among the users than by the technology with which it is implemented. (Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer) Summary In this chapter we briefly explain the need for teachers to learn through their own experience using online collaborative learning projects in an educational portal. We describe the idea of portals, paying special at- tention to the opportunities provided by educational projects developed in educational portals. This is followed by examples of output in the MICaLL project and a discussion of points that need to be taken into consideration when using a Content Management System (CMS) portal. Introduction As we have said throughout the handbook, online education projects are generally accepted by most teachers as an important element for language teaching, but statistics tell us that in most of the current teacher preparation programmes (both Initial Teacher Training and Continued Education) teachers and trainees may be informed about telecollaboration but they do not usually receive practical experience (see box below). This may be even truer when talking about the use of educational portals. CHAPTER 4 128 Of course, as the old saying goes, practice makes perfect and experience is essential for teachers to develop the relevant competences of online language teaching projects. This includes being able to arrange and facilitate project based student learning with the help of web tools (we’ve described several in Chapter 3) and being able to...

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