Virtual cultural collaboration

Technology has many implications for education particularly in scaffolding learning within and outside classrooms. This research focused on how digital technologies could provide avenues for schools and communities to collaborate to produce resources for cross-cultural learning purposes within classrooms.

My research interest within technology mediated cross-cultural learning sparked the curiosity to look at how video technology on mobile smartphones can: support the process of creating rich and authentic cultural resources for learning; support cross-cultural learning; and create new avenues for meaningful home-school and school-home communication.

In order to explore answers to the above questions I worked with three diverse cultural families in Newcastle who had at least one school-going child aged between 9-12 years. I asked the families to use two different video technologies on their smartphones and produce cultural content by recording cultural instances that occur in their everyday life. We held an initial workshop with the families to explore notions of culture and how to identify cultural instances in their everyday life. Following this activity, the families used the existing video application available on the phones to ensure familiarity and developed video content. In the next stage families used Bootlegger, an application designed to scaffold video capturing on mobile devices.

The content developed by the families were then taken to the teachers to understand how educators viewed such resources, and if such resource creation and curation could be included within school curricula. Findings from the study highlight the positive impact of the videos on both those who created them (parents and children) and those who viewed them (teachers) leading to cross-cultural and intra-cultural learning. The activity also showed how as a researcher, I often played the role of a broker, facilitating and mediating links between families and schools. This is important when working within cross-cultural domains where the presence of an actor (a human or a human-mediated-technology) with agency is key to not only forge relationships but also narrow the gaps between communities and classrooms to impact teaching and learning beyond school boundaries.

For more information contact Vidya Sarangapani.

Author: Vidya Sarangapani

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