The true story of how two teachers connected over a blog post and created an virtual exchange project (Connected Learning and Virtual Intercultural Exchange Research Network CLAVIER) that touches more than 1,000 students a year and is instrumental in increasing teacher digital literacies.
A chance meeting on Steve Wheeler’s blog in 2011 resulted in a creative flow of ideas which are chronicled in an open doc resulting in a contribution to the development of research into computer-mediated communication in language teaching in Higher Education which is now represented in the field of Online Intercultural Exchange.
- Learning in the Palm of Your Hand (Learning with ‘e’s–Steve Wheeler blog post)
- CLAVIER History (Google Doc)
- The Clavier Project (UNI Collaboration):
This large OIE began as a pilot in 2011 as a result of the two lead tutors chance meeting through an e-learning blog. The concept of a virtual exchange was elaborated and approximately 300 students from each partner institution were brought together through a moodle course, EWC.
Students in both institutions study a foreign language but none are taking specialised foreign language degrees. In France students study sports sciences with English, while the students in England are taking various undergraduate degrees (in, for example, maths, management, history, politics and economics) which include an optional module in French or another foreign language of their choice.
Both educators were interested in exploring whether they could set up a stable exchange network for a large number of students with relatively little staff direction and assessment. Teresa explains: “Our arrangements were possibly unconventional. We looked to open the student’s network to include peer support chosen by the individual from native speakers and encouraged awareness of the advantages and disadvantages this can bring. Increasing the choice and making it as easy as possible to find people who share your interests for social as well as academic reasons seems important.”