Web Collaborations for an International, CrossCultural Education Colloquium 110310

November 3, 2010 – 2:50pm

Lead Presenter: David Stoloff (Eastern Connecticut State University, US) – stoloffd@easternct.edu

Grand Sierra C  Session Duration: 15 Session Type: Great Idea Virtual Session: Virtual Session

Within an undergraduate international and cross-cultural education colloquium, participants made use of international virtual connections to supplement their understandings of education in other nations, as well as their own learning experiences.  The course instructor connected with other instructors who chose to make use of such social networking tools for international connections as ePals.com – a global community of students and educators.  The top most recently posted twenty instructors on the international list requesting connections within ePals.com were contacted by the local instructor to see if collaborations might be arranged.  Four instructors responded – from Taiwan, Nepal, Russia, and Algeria.  

The local students developed CultureQuest projects – powerpoint presentations on cultural aspects of one of these nations, for example, music, food, dress, history, religions, languages, … These presentations were posted on a wikispace and the international instructors were invited to encourage their students to critique the presentations and to correspond with the local students.  Through this international/intercultural exchange, undergraduates learned of commonalities and differences between student lives across the global and learned how to respond to challenges and misunderstandings that might arise. 

Next steps in the use of these techniques would include the creations of blogspaces within electronic portfolios for these international conversations, to allow for the student archiving of their CultureQuest powerpoints.  Local students will be encouraged to use the blog to gather more detailed information on student life in other nations and to develop short videos to share with others to illustrate their own lives.   

The objectives of this session would include –

1)      Participants will share their own experiences on the use of the Internet for social international networking to obtain learning objectives.

2)      Participants will learn of the use of ePals.com to develop international connections. 

3)      Participants will examine CultureQuest as a way of studying and synthesizing information on other colleagues.

4)      Participants will explore how a wikispace or blogspace might be used to develop international connections among students and educators.

5)      Participants will be encouraged to develop a virtual learning community to continue this discussion after the conference.

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