Integrating telecollaboration into the language classroom: some insights

TitleIntegrating telecollaboration into the language classroom: some insights
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFurstenberg, Gilberte, and Sabine Levet
EditorDooly, Melinda, and Robert O'Dowd
Book TitleTelecollaboration 2.0 for Language and Intercultural Learning
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing Group
CityNew York

The main goal of this chapter is to bring to the surface those elements of classroom work that we believe play a unique and crucial role in ensuring that students get the greatest benefit from those exchanges.

We focus on the interplay between on-line and classroom work, showing how both components dovetail to create a coherent whole, each illuminating and informing the other in order to advance the process of intercultural understanding.

The basis for our remarks will be Cultura, an intercultural web project designed at MIT, which involves students in two language classes—one in France and one in the US.

We will share the lessons we have learnt over the last ten years of using and implementing Cultura in an intermediate French language class at MIT.     

The first part of the chapter provides an overview of Cultura, its goal, approach as well as the basic set-up and methodology. The second details the content of the website and the materials used, as well as the main characteristics of the on-line forums, which are at the core of this intercultural project. The third part describes the multiple ways in which we work with the content, including the tasks done by students outside of class and the subsequent in-class activities that will bring to light the ways in which classroom work can help students both reflect upon and expand their knowledge. In the final part, we highlight the new pedagogies that are generated by this novel hybrid environment-both in terms of the learner’s and teacher’s roles.