A Webinar on "Critical Digital Literacy" by Mirjam Hauck (W4)

Oct
22
October 22, 9:30 pm
Where

Adobe Connect Webinar (Online)

Where

Adobe Connect Webinar (Online)

Title: Virtual Exchange for (critical) digital literacy skills development
 
Presenter: Mirjam Hauck
 
Abstract: 

The ‘transnational’, ‘value-added’ graduate has been described as being equipped with a global mindset and the transcultural and digital literacy skills needed for cross-cultural communication. These skills, as Wyburd (2017) reminds us, are implicitly developed in higher education languages students, or, can be explicitly enhanced by educators. Such explicit enhancement is the remit of telecollaboration or online intercultural exchange, more recently also referred to as virtual exchange (VE). It offers students the opportunity to improve not only their foreign language and intercultural communication skills, but also their digital literacy skills through the use of asynchronous and synchronous tools and applications which facilitate engagement and collaboration at a distance (O’Dowd & Lewis, 2016).
The challenge with regard for VE lies in addressing not only issues of language and culture in such a way as to avoid linguistic and cultural hegemonies, but also in addressing issues of digital literacy so as to overcome technological determinism and to tackle some of the bigger issues confronting the future of humanity. I will show how VE participants can be guided to take a first step in this direction, namely, to becoming aware of how power operates in digital spaces, shaping ways of thinking and doing that are implicated in social and cultural reproduction (Darvin, 2017). Key are VE tasks designed to develop a critical lens through which they examine linguistic and non-linguistic features of digital media, their biases and assumptions, in order to verify information and access the truth (Darvin, 2017).

To illustrate the suggested approach for critical digital literacy skills development through VE, I will be drawing on data collected from faculty training and subsequent VEs with students carried out in the context of the EU ERASMUS Plus-funded Evidence Validated Online Learning through Virtual Exchange (EVOLVE) project: https://evolve-erasmus.eu. EVOLVE aims to mainstream VE as an innovative form of collaborative international learning across disciplines in Higher Education institutions in Europe and beyond. EVOLVE organises training, research and policy making activities to bring Virtual Exchange to the attention of stakeholders in HE institutions in the European Coimbra Group and Santander Group university networks and VE partners around the world.

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