Online collaborative writing and vocabulary building: sharing and contrasting practices from Cyprus and the United Kingdom
PublisherLanguage Centre - University of Cyprus
Source2nd Foreign Language Instructional Technology Conference: E-nnovative Learning
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The Erasmus agreement that was established between the Centre for Foreign Language Study at Durham University and the Language Centre at the University of Cyprus in 2010 has allowed staff from both institutions to witness new practices and exchange ideas in foreign language teaching within two distinct academic environments. Applying a collaborative approach in traditional language classes appears as good practice in order to promote interaction between students, to facilitate new learning strategies for students and to increase their motivation in learning. However, as teachers in a digital age, we cannot ignore the predominance of online social networking tools and the fact that “many students are advanced social learners” (Benfield & De Laat, 2010:195). The impact of this pedagogical shift and the extent to which it can actually be verified in the two institutions will be briefly discussed before we present the three free online applications that we thought had potential to strengthen our students’ learning process (taking into consideration the pre-supposed profile of the 21st century social learner). The first two items are Google Doc and Syncing, two software allowing students to create and share their work online in order for others to collaborate to it. The last one, Wrds is an online vocabulary building and testing program. Alongside the traditional teaching methods, we have integrated these tools in our classes, adapting the syllabi when necessary. This workshop will aim to give effective and concrete ideas on how to take advantage of these resources inside and outside the classroom. In order to ensure participants understand how to use them effectively, a fair amount of time will be dedicated to hands-on tasks.