Lifestream Summary Week 11 and latest draft of the final assignment task

This lifestream summary is a reflection of the development of my thoughts in relation to the final assignment, some of this development, has taken place ‘off line’ (funny use of the term, I know, it’s how my peers use the phrase though) via e mail with Sian Bayne, but this has been captured to some extent in my previous blog post. Here is latest draft assignment title, possibly still too long (?):

Set within the broader context of digital audio visual culture, a critique of a foreign language student digital video project.

Assessing the implications of digital media (video) creation for the formation of community within language learning contexts, and evaluating the overall efficacy of this in relation to the successful performance of intercultural communicative competence (ICC, Chun (2011)). Notions of  the associated ‘ecologies’ and networks within the group will also be examined in relation to this question.

Dorothy M Chun (University of California, Santa Barbara) was a significant inspiration for me when I set out on the digital video project outlined in the previous post. I had the opportunity to hear her keynote lecture at the JALTCALL (Japanese Association of Language Teaching Computer Aided Language Learning) Conference at Matsumoto in 2013.

Although in Developing Intercultural Communicative Competence through Online Exchanges (2011) she is focused on an online environment for cross cultural communication, there does seem to be a good starting point here, in understanding some of the issues and questions which present in the assignment title above. These relate to normative or ideological factors in cross cultural exchanges, or pragmatics (2011), questions around how different technologies can have the potential to help create, normatively more ‘culturally open spaces’ for cross cultural exchanges and ‘input’ opportunities for competencies development through collaboration (she also raises issues here, critically). Also of course relevantly there is  an important role for an idea of community within this process.

I would like to make two  observations at this stage. Firstly Chun, when speaking at JALTCALL (2013), made it clear that she was excited at the different mediums and platforms that the rapid developments in technology afforded, and made it clear that the principles of her research should not be limited to the contexts in which she had been working. Secondly, I am interested in applying the understanding obtained  from investigating the assignment title above, to the on line in some specific ways, although the context of the video project under consideration in this assignment is one which would be understood as ‘blended’ and rooted in the off line.

There is also obviously a question mark over a binary of off and on line (a feature of some of the themes in block 1 particularly but across the entire course), which potentially presents when we start to think in terms of ecologies at all, as with the term ‘computer aided language learning’ (‘What’s the Matter with TEL?’ Bayne (2014). This is of course a bigger question and one which I do not intend to deal with in detail perhaps, but I make the note for the purposes of being aware of the broader question. Interestingly, I do not think that a pioneer such as Chun would disagree with this observation either, certainly in terms of its subtleties.

Finally  I’ve really enjoyed reading ‘Language and Learning in the Digital Age’ (James Paul Gee and Elisabeth R. Hayes (2011)), particularly the chapter ‘New Kinds of People and Relationships’ and the section on ‘Strangers’, or ‘talking to strangers’ (2011, p33). This was something the video group did a lot of, but it is also interesting to reflect how the video camera perhaps legitimized this in a situational way and created potentially, the kind of culturally open space which Chun (2011) speaks of.

One response

  1. Miles – for me this is shaping up very interestingly, and I particularly like the critical issues you describe as raised by Chun. It might be worth focusing on just one of these within the context of your own project: for example normativity and ideology within he cross-cultural exchanges of your video project. My main advice would be not to let it get too ‘big’ but to give a detailed and thoughtful critique of one particular aspect of the project.

    The title *is* quite long! And perhaps it’s also still trying to do too much, which leads me to try to reinforce the message above about focus. Something tighter like ‘Digital culture and language learning: a critical perspective on “community'”‘ might work well for you?

    Once your thinking has developed a bit more, please feel free to run your ideas for the medium of the essay and (if relevant) your nominated assessment criteria.

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