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Cross-Platform Technologies in International Communication of Russian and Swedish Young Learners
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2014 (English)In: Proceedings of the 20th NATE-Russia International Conference, Voronezh April 23-26, 2014: Festival of Teaching, Festival of NATE / [ed] Voronezh State University, National Association of Teachers of English, Voronezh: Voronezh Publishing House , 2014, 172-173 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The paper sets out to examine the results of an interdisciplinary study on the project “Young Learners on Gotland and in Kaliningrad in Communication in English with the Use of Digital Tools”. It investigates Swedish and Russian young learners’ uses of cross-platform technologies for successful communication and as a means of acquiring English as their foreign language. The development of new digital tools implies that young learners are not only consumers but also producers of information in English, and that new forms of representations can be used for teaching English and communicating in it. Modern technology can become a means of developing not only  communicative competence abilities, but also cross-cultural competence abilities of young learners. The current project is a continuation of a pilot study which was carried out from September 2012 to May 2013 [5]. It is a project of cooperation between the Uppsala University – Campus Gotland, Sweden and the Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russia, and it investigates the cross-platform communication techniques  between three schools in Sweden and three schools in Russia.

The communication is organized at Russian and Swedish schools to boost digital production and international interaction in English and thereby raise the learners’ levels of attainment across all subjects. The learners are expected to become aware of cultural differences and similarities in the Baltic region and in spite of their young age also touch upon and share experiences of topics such as the environment, sustainable development, democracy, gender and ethical dilemmas.  The communication at the websites provides useful material of 12-year-olds who use English as their lingua franca (see e.g. [2; 4]) and as a means of communicating at three common websites with the help of blogs, podcasts and films. The research is made into all the young learners’ productions at the three websites not only in terms of modes of communication, length of contributions, structural complexity in English and the selected topics, but also  the research has  been focused on the  possibility of acquiring English through such communication, and on the productive techniques a teacher could use to boost such communication.

The results show that young Russian and Swedish learners are able to use English in authentic communication by using the websites via different digital tools within the topic fields of the levels A1 and A2 of the CEFR. The study shows that young learners can use English for their communicative needs after having studied it at school in Sweden or Russia for the period of five to six years. In spite of such limited time of studies, the learners produce language which has a linguistic complexity which may not be expected from Russian and Swedish 12-year-olds. The study gives evidence of using  cross-platform  techniques as a productive way of FLT, and as an effective means of developing communicative and cross-cultural competence abilities of young Russians and Swedes. Such communication  therefore seeks to foster cross-fertilization between the cross-cultural and special disciplines within the curriculum and a cross-cultural dialogue for a deeper understanding and empathy.

The project also involves regular Skype conferences organized with the teachers inspired by the tradition of so-called Participatory Action Research. Choosing this specific tradition within Participatory Action Research as a framework for the project, the participating teachers as well as the researchers are agents in the research process (see e. g. [3]), and they become reflective practitioners [1]. The potential value of the main project outcomes should be viewed as a new resulting quality of linguistic education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Voronezh: Voronezh Publishing House , 2014. 172-173 p.
Keyword [en]
young learners, communication, digital tools
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-225949ISBN: 978-5-9273-2122-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-225949DiVA: diva2:722976
20th Jubilee NATE-Russia International Conference, Voronezh April 23-26, 2014
Available from: 2014-06-10 Created: 2014-06-10 Last updated: 2014-06-10

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