Cultural Dimensions to Multimedia Design

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					Cultural Dimensions to
 Multimedia Design
        MEMO Conference
         October 18, 2001
        Davina Pruitt-Mentle
 Educational Technology Outreach
http://www.edtechoutreach.umd.edu/
            What does culture have to do
                  with education?



October 18, 2001       MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
                                                    2
                   Cultural Dimensions to Multimedia
           Making learning resources more accessible and
            flexible to a wide range of learners is a major
            concern of educators today.


        In order to do this- “...educators must recognize
          that „their ways‟ our ways that are usually
          based on values and principles that may differ
          then others. And others ways are just as
          important. Brislin & Yoshida (1994) call this
          process ethnorelative

October 18, 2001               MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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   The way to deal with diversity
  is not to deny it or ignore it, but
    to learn about differences so
          they don’t impair
           communication

October 18, 2001   MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                 The first step in effective intercultural
               communication is acceptance of diversity
                          To do this one must:

  • Examine your own values
  • Examine values of others
  • Look at the implications of these values for
    education
  • Determine where the differences lie
  • Determine how to best overcome the
    differences
October 18, 2001              MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                           Outline

 • Miscommunication overview
           – Examples of miscommunication
           – High vs. Low Context
 • Design Suggestions
 • Hofstede‟s 5 cultural Dimensions as related
   to websites


October 18, 2001           MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                          Cross-Cultural
                          “Cross Wiring”
           • Language
              – spoken                                • Symbols
              – written                                  – company logos
              – symbols                                  – religious images
           • Non-verbal                                  – flags
             communication
              – body
              – facial expression
              – gestures


October 18, 2001                MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Spoken & Written Language
 All languages have a number of forms/styles and
  different registers for different types of situations
 Diglossia/multiglossia-custom of using different
  languages for different purposes (Fishman, 1971a)
    Spanish  English
    formal  informal
    colloquial  regular
 Different dialect/ different sub-cultures
            American vs. English (British)
            Northern vs. Southern vs. Cajon vs. “street”
October 18, 2001                MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                    Spoken & Written Language:
                   Language Reflects Environment

 • Amazon area -no word for snow
 • Americans - snow, powder snow, sleet,
   slush, blizzard, ice
 • In Northern Germany, “ein Glas Weisswein
   bitte” (a glass of white wine, please) or
   specify Moselwein or Rheinwein
 • In Southwest Germany- expected to specify
   type of wine, vineyard and year
October 18, 2001             MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                 Spoken and Written Language: We
              Translate Concepts That Fit Our Priorities

      • Navajo do not have a word for late (time is relative)
      • Mandarin Chinese, one word (qing) represents various
        hues of blue and green
      • Americans tomorrow means midnight to midnight
      • Spanish-speaking mañana means in the future
      • Chinese do not have a word for communication
                   – letter exchange
                   – transportation traffic
      • Administration (educational setting)
                   – American  superintendent/ dean

                   – French  upper-level clerical staff
October 18, 2001                          MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Written Communication


 • Understand Patterns of Organization
           – East Asian cultures organize material based on
             relationships rather than on linear progression
           – Canadians like to have recommendations at the
             beginning of a report



October 18, 2001             MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Written Communication: Dates



  • American - May 6, 2010 or 05/06/2010
  • German - 6. Mai 2010 or 6.5. 2010
  • International (increasing usage) 2010 May,
    6 or 2010, 05, 06



October 18, 2001             MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Spoken and Written Language:
                   High-Context vs. Low-Context

   • Edward Hall, distinguished cultures on the
     basis of the role of context in
     communication
             – High-Context - less words more “other clues”
               (ex. Japan)
             – Low-Context - words, words, words (ex.
               German Swiss)
             – US middle of the Low-context range
October 18, 2001              MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   High - Context

     • View word-level-only messages as
       unsophisticated, childish, and rude
     • Prefer-allusion to classical texts, parables
       and proverbs, understatements and
       antiphraxis (saying something in terms of
       what it is not) Asian thought pattern -
       negative space
     • “I have some small experience in that”-
       world-famous mathematician‟s life work
October 18, 2001        MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                      Spoken Language: Why is this
                     important for educators regarding
                               multimedia?

       • Verbal (audio) now part of multimedia
       • Like Assistive technology - can choose
         gender/dialect
       • Translator difficulties
                   – order of words varies in different languages
                   – translation can not interpret formal vs..
                     informal

October 18, 2001                    MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Non-Verbal Communication



                        Body
                        Facial Expression
                        Gestures


October 18, 2001             MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Non-Verbal Body Language

                            Rules regarding standing and
                             position distance
                            Face-on for Arabs
                            45 degree angle for Anglo-
                             Saxons
                            Side-to-side for Chinese




October 18, 2001           MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Non-Verbal Communication


                           • Smiling in Japan is
                             strongly associated with
                             nervousness, social
                             discomfort, or sorrow




October 18, 2001           MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
                                                        18
                   Non-Verbal Body Language
  • In Buddhist Thailand
    never cross legs
  • The sole of the foot is
    the furthest part from
    heaven and the least
    sacred. To show the
    bottom of the foot to
    someone is to show
    disrespect
October 18, 2001           MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Non-Verbal Communication
                          • In Asian and Middle-
                            eastern cultures it is
                            appropriate for the same
                            sex to walk hand in hand
                            but not the opposite sex




October 18, 2001           MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                              Symbols
                                    • China, death is not
                                      mentioned even by
                                      homonym (words that
                                      sound like other
                                      words)

              • El Dia de Los
                Muertos, the Day of
                the Dead, is a fiesta
                with deep meaning to
                Mexicans
October 18, 2001               MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Symbols: Hand Gestures:
                         emblems


                              V-for victory in US is
                               obscene in some European
                               countries




October 18, 2001          MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Symbols, Idioms and
                       Metaphors
                           • Americans use
                             militaristic origin
                             terminology
                           • Many cultures choose a
                             more cooperative
                             approach



October 18, 2001        MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                      Symbols, Idioms and
                          Metaphors
                                 • Sports have provided U.S.
                                   with numerous metaphors
                                 • Many cultures do not
                                   understand
                                   baseball/football terms
                                   like:

       •      Bases are loaded
       •      Got to first base
       •      Out in left field
       •      Third down, nine to go

October 18, 2001                 MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Hofstede‟s Dimensions of
                           Culture

               •   Dutch cultural anthropologist
               •   1978-1983
               •   rated 53 countries
               •   identified 5 cultural dimensions
               •   rated on indices for each dimension
               •   normalized to values (0 to 100)

October 18, 2001               MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Hofstede‟s Five Dimensions


        •          Power Distance
        •          Individualism vs. Collectivism
        •          Masculinity vs. Femininity
        •          Uncertainty Avoidance
        •          Long- vs. Short-Term Time Orientation

October 18, 2001                MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                        Power Distance


  • High Power Distance cultures believe that
    the more powerful people must be deferred
    to and not argued with, especially in public
            – Based on gender, age, seniority, position
  • Low Power Distance cultures believe
    ideas/people are assumed to be equal

October 18, 2001              MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Power Distance




                    • High Power
October 18, 2001      MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Power Distance




• Low Power

October 18, 2001      MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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              Individualism vs. Collectivism




                      High Individualist
October 18, 2001          MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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              Individualism vs. Collectivism




                    • Low Individualist
October 18, 2001         MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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              Individualism vs. Collectivism




                    • Political Message
October 18, 2001         MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Masculinity vs. Femininity

                       • Masculine roles
                         – assertiveness
                         – competition
                         – toughness
                       • Feminine roles
                         – home and children
                         – people
                         – family

October 18, 2001             MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Masculinity vs. Femininity




                        • High masculinity
October 18, 2001             MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Masculinity vs. Femininity




                       • Medium Masculinity
October 18, 2001             MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Uncertainty Avoidance



               • The extent to which uncertainty and
                 ambiguity are tolerated




October 18, 2001             MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   High Uncertainty Avoidance:
                          Collectivism




October 18, 2001            MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Low Uncertainty Avoidance:
                        Individualism




October 18, 2001            MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Short/Long Term Time Orientation




                            • Short Term
October 18, 2001              MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                   Short/Long Term Time Orientation




                           • Long Term
October 18, 2001              MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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                           Conclusions
 •       Become familiar with your own values
 •       Explore and recognize the values of others
 •       Understand the implications of these values for education
 •       Determine where the differences lie
 •       Determine how to best overcome the differences
          – Expose students to diverse resources
          – Choose diverse examples
          – Examine “cultures” within your school
          – Consider/”double check” your design strategies


October 18, 2001               MEMO: Davina Pruitt-Mentle
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