Using Blogs and Podcasts for Online Intercultural Exchanges by yurtgc548


									 Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
                       April 17, 2009
                       New York, NY

Using Blogs and Podcasts
 for Online Intercultural

                           Lina Lee
                 University of New Hampshire
Online Intercultural Exchange
• Use web-based learning between two
  institutions from different cultures
  – E-tandem learning: Cultura project (1997)
• Online communication tools
  – Web 1.0 and 2.0 technology
• Equal opportunities and benefits
  – Use of both L1 and L2
• Exchange of language and culture
  – Task-based activities
• Intercultural communicative competence
    – Cross-cultural awareness and understanding
      (Wade & O’Dowd, 2008)
•   Virtual social networking community
•   Collaborative Interaction (Lee, 2004)
•   Active and autonomous learning (Lee, 2005)
•   Affordances (VanLier, 2000)
   – Linguistic and cultural constructions
• Scaffolding via peer feedback (Lee, 2008)
   – Language accuracy via focus on form
• Institutional context
   – How can technology enhance learning and
   – What technology and support are available?
• Partnerships
  – IECC: Intercultural E-mail Classroom Connections:
  – Blogs-Exchange (BE):
• Discussion with partner teacher
  – Objectives of the project
  – Structure of the exchange; task design
  – Evaluation and feedback
León - NH Online Exchange
• January 20 - May 10, 2008
• Student groups
  – 10 UNH graduate students
  – 23 León students with advanced English skills
• Course syllabus with three major tasks
  – 30% of final grade
• Tools
  – Bloggers for group blogs
  – Audacity and iMovie for podcastings
  – Message board of Moodle for feedback and
Moodle site in Blackboard
     Three Major Tasks
• Blogs
  – Young people’s lives
  – A minimum of three articles
• Podcasts/Vodcasts
  – Controversial issues
  – Global warming, political system, capital
    punishment, euthanasia, same sex parents
• Ethnographic interviews
  – Spanish and American culture
  – To post a list of 6-7 questions in Moodle message
         Topics for Group Blogs
Topics Chosen by American                Topics Chosen by Spanish
Students                                 Students
Blog #1: University Life; Stereotypes;   Blog #1: A City Tour of León
Global Warming                           University of León and Technology

Blog #2: Super Bowl; Crossword           Blog #2: Night Life in León
Puzzles; Cyberlanguage                   University Life; Brief Guide to
                                         Spanish Music
Blog #3: Political Figures—Obama         Blog #3: Spanish Films; A Famous
and Romney; Economics in USA             Place in León Spanish Music
Blog #4: University Life; Presidential   Blog #4: University Festivals;
Debates; Seacoast Areas                  Smoking; Interview with a University
           Topics for Interviews
Topics Chosen by American Topics Chosen by Spanish
Students                  Students
Flattering                Capital Punishment

Educational System in Spain   Cinema

University Student Life       Free Time
Politics in Spain             Life in New Hampshire
Student Exchange and Travel   Weapons in the USA

Advanced Technology           Iraq War
Super Bowl from NH

              Blog - UNH
Road to Presidency from

                 Blog - UNH
Blog - UNH
Blog - León
Blog from León

            Blog - León
About Old Part of León

               Blog - León
Tapas and Nightlife

             Blog - León
Blog - León
Interviews with León
      Students Blog - León
Vodcast in Blog from NH
Podcasts from León in Moodle
Ethnographic Interview:
Questions from León
Responses from NH
Vodcast: Capital
Questions from NH
Responses from León
 Post-Task: Peer Feedback
• Read blogs and listen to podcasts
• No specific instructions on “how” to
  provide feedback
• Peer feedback by
  – Written comments or voice recordings
  – Use of both English and Spanish
• Focus-on-form
   – Linguistic problems
Feedback in Message Board
Podcast Feedback from NH
Podcast Feedback from León
          Feedback Strategies
(1) Comment on the content and then the linguistic problems
(2) Direct Feedback without explanations
     --junta con 1,400 otras comunidades; This should be...
     junto con otras 1.400 comunidades.
     --impede --> impide [León student]
(3) Feedback with explanations
     --When you say 'nos disfrutamos del ambiente' you have
     to include a subject and 'nos' is not a subject but a
     reflexive pronoun, so you could say: nosotros disfrutamos
     del ambiente or simply disfrutamos del ambiente.” [León
     -- Be careful with the spelling - "hole" is "agujero" pero
     "whole" means "entero" o "total” [NH student]
Feedback on Content and Form
“Hi girls!!! Interesting topic about global
warming. I like the way you introduce us to this
issue because you did it in a clear and organized
way. By the way, your Spanish accent is quite
good but take care with the Verb "to be”
(ser/estar) I know that this may be weird for you
but it is very important to distinguish them.”
(León Student)
Feedback on NH Podcasting
“Hi again!! We think that the idea of the fish and
the joke is very original !! we are so amazed
about your ability for making people laugh
because it's too difficult to tell a joke in a
different language. There is a difference between
your pronunciation and ours with "r” sound. It
should be vibrant. The rest is very spontaneous,
but you have done a great work!!! Well done!!”
(León Student)
   Comments on León Blogs
• I liked how you presented different
  perspectives from the students of
  Erasmus. In this way, it presents a better
  way to talk about the life in León.

• I have to say that the blog is super fun to
  read. I liked the way you presented your
  city and how you described the events and
  the culture.
 Comments on León Podcast
• The podcast is very informative. It was
  interesting to learn what you think about the
  topic. I was born in Massachussets. It was
  always a very polemic topic during my
  childhood. But it was very interesting to hear
  international voices and your opinions. I agree
  with you. The appearance of the family does
  not matter because the definition of the family
  is changing.
 [Same sex parents]
Positive Appraisal from León
• Interesting; great; a lot of interesting
  information; well-written; very well-done;
  great job!

• I think you have done an excellent podcast!
  You have both a very good Spanish, and your
  conversation about politics is very interesting!!
  You give a lot of information about the
  elections in America in a very interesting way,
  I enjoyed a lot listening to it!!
 Positive Appraisal from UN
• Me gustó mucho; interesante; fantástico
• !Felicitaciones! Su podcast es bien
  pensado y lo presentan con mucha
• Sobre León Focus, diría que su sitio es
  presentado de una manera muy formal y
  meticulosa. El lenguaje es muy preciso y
  descriptivo, y el formato facilita la
  navegación de la página.
Direct Feedback from NH
Direct Feedback from León
Feedback with explanations to NH
Feedback on León Blogs

       Feedback with explanations to León
Lexical Comment from León
“By the way,"mirar la tele" it is not use in
Spain,we say "ver la tele". Why is that? I
don’t know and besides, I think you’ll
never find a logical answer because it
should be "mirar la tele" because you are
paying attention while you are watching
the TV, isn’t it?”
Lexical Comment from León
“One interesting thing about your spanish is
that sometimes (not often, I must say) it
seems more "mexican" than "spanish" due of the
use of the diminutives and because words like
"ahorita” "linda" or "usted/es" (we spanish
people are not so polite as latinoamerican
peolple, actually). Don’t get me wrong, I find
this pretty cool.”
        Lexical Item Debate
--“Also there are words we do not use as
"maestrías” that is not the name we use.”
(León Student)

-- “Perdón, pero tengo que decirle que sí en algunos
países se dicen "maestría". Supongo que en España
existe otra palabra, como posgraduado. Pero,
"maestría" vale igual porque es parte del léxico
español y se la usa en otras partes.” (UNH Student)
 Lexical Comments from NH
--It was the School of Agrarian Engineering, in the
   decade of the 80’s.
** normally we would just say in the 80's
--you have a free day to spend
** instead of free day, use day off
--cultural activities during all the day
** the entire day is how we usually express
   this thought
(focus on form by comparing the original against
the “more native-sounding” rephrasing)
                 Survey Results
Item                                                Mean
I enjoyed writing to my peers in Message Board.     4.34

Using blogs/podcasts is an effective way to         4.22
communicate online.
Creating blogs and podcasts was beneficial to me.   4.52
Reading blogs/posts and listening to podcasts       4.14
enhanced my understanding of the target culture.
Topics were interesting to me.                      4.31
I found tasks time-consuming.                       3.82
I found peer feedback useful.                       2.83
Overall, it was a positive experience for me.       4.24
       General Comments
• I was able to try some new things and
  will incorporate some new ideas using
  blogs and podcasts in the classroom as a
  teaching tool.
• I found the experience helpful and very
  applicable to what I will teach next year
  at the secondary school level.
        General Comments
• I enjoyed the exchange though it seemed
  somewhat impersonal. At times our
  partners did not seem very invested in the
  exchange. It made it a little frustrating to
  spend time on something knowing that
  you may not get a response in a timely
      Comments on Blogs
• In my view, blogging was an effective way of
  sharing thoughts because it allowed me to interact
  with my peers beyond the classroom walls. I must
  say that online publishing made my writing more

• I liked how we wrote for multiple readers; not just
  for a sole instructor. Having a real audience made
  me more conscious of my own writing.
   Comments on Podcasts
• Podcasting allowed us to become active
  knowledge creators through publishing our oral
  work online.
• Podcasting is an exciting way of practicing
  speaking because it exposed to me to the real-
  world use of communicative language skills.
• I found making podcasts challenging. I ended up
  spending a lot of time editing recordings. I think
  we should receive more training on how to use
  imovie o Audacity.
      Comments on Tasks
• I think that it's a great idea to focus on specific
  topics. I was also excited to answer the Spanish
  students' questions because I knew that they
  really wanted to know the answers. They were
  authentic questions that came straight from the
• Ethnographic interviews were more engaging
  and interactive, because the topics were
  generated by both groups based on our personal
  interests and global concerns.
   Comments on Feedback
• Feedback and error correction are crucial in
  language learning.
• Because it is always helpful to know your
  grammatical weaknesses.
• The comments we did get were useful although
  I’m not sure that any of us are too likely to
  remember what the corrections were.
• I received almost no feedback and there was
  not a good format for giving meaningful
  feedback. It is a limitation of the Moodle site.
   Comments on Feedback
• I did take the time to make error
  corrections, but I don’t really know how
  useful they were for the León students.
  They didn’t change any of the Blog
  entries and couldn’t really change the
  Moodle entries after posting them. They
  may have looked at our suggestions, but I
  doubt they had much of a lasting effect.
More Comments on Feedback
• I was reluctant to give feedback because it was
  not easy to explicitly correct my Spanish
  partners’ mistakes in an open space. I did not
  want to embarrass them.

• I had no problem giving feedback, though I am
  not sure how useful it was. It is difficult to
  describe with clarity in a few paragraphs what
  the mistakes were. I think it requires a
• Web 2.0 tools for intercultural exchanges
   • Blogs for longer time span (make comments)
   • Podcasting to build oral fluency
   • More training
• Interpersonal communication
   • Get to know each other using E-mail or Skype
• Cultural and linguistic issues from multiple
• Native-speaker feedback; informal and less
  threatening; different levels of proficiency
• Error corrections as follow-up activities
• Contact information
  – Lina Lee
• Download PowerPoint
  – Recent presentations/workshops
  – NECTFL 2009

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