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Handbook for Foreign Language Learning in Online Tandems and Educational Settings

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Edited By Hermann Funk, Manja Gerlach and Dorothea Spaniel-Weise

This book is about foreign language learning in non-formal Online Tandems. The collected papers by contributors who have expertise in the field of Language Pedagogy and Foreign Language Acquisition gather information on online interactions, such as the initiation of tandems, the mentoring of online activities and learners’ interaction, as well as the assessment of the processes at hand. The handbook targets stakeholders, institutions of higher education, language teachers and tandem trainers at educational institutions that want to set up Online Tandems especially designed for third language learners. The book is the result of the three-year project L3TASK carried out at five universities in Austria (Wien), Germany (Jena) and Spain (Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid) and associated partner institutions in China. It was funded by the European Commission in the frame of the Life Long Learning Programme.

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2.5 Technological and Pedagogical Perspectives on Tandem Learning (Germán Ruipérez / José Carlos García-Cabrero)

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Germán Ruipérez, José Carlos García-Cabrero Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)

2.5 Technological and Pedagogical Perspectives on Tandem Learning

Abstract: Drawing from our experience in giving technological advice in the L3TASK project, in this article we present our most significant conclusions regarding videoconferencing software and cloud data storage and its management for eTandems. While intrinsic criteria, that deal with the question of what is objectively the ‘best’ technological solution, are important, the extrinsic criteria (degree of global implementation of the application, country determining factors, existence of multi-platform versions and cost-free status of the application) are of greater concern and often difficult to systematise due to their diversity. The experience accumulated in the L3TASK project confirmed that the two major technological decisions taken were indeed adequate, since the criteria applied in their selection were appropriate. We set these out in this article, so the criteria can be used in future situations with other software and IT solutions.

1 Introduction

Technology has been marking the evolution of Tandem learning in a very decisive manner. Within a few years, we have evolved from working face-to-face to using a totally virtual modality, via intermediate periods, such as so-called pen pals and their online e-mail exchange version, which was mainly showcased by the pioneering work done in Germany by the University of Bochum (Brammerts 2006; Little/ Brammerts 1996). Technology has, therefore, opened up Online Tandem or eTandem co-operation scenarios that up until...

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