Raising intercultural awareness through voice-based telecollaboration: perceptions, uses, and recommendations
This article explores learners’ uses and opinions regarding the design and implementation of an approach for developing intercultural knowledge and skills via an online voice-based telecollaboration tool. The participants were 14 pre-service teachers taking an intercultural course for English teachers at a Russian university. For three weeks, they engaged in a multicultural out-of-class telecollaboration with 14 pre-service teachers pursuing an MA degree in foreign language education in the U.S. English was used as a means of interaction. The Russian participants’ uses and views regarding the telecollaboration project were gathered through a mixed-method analysis of their oral posts, online questionnaire responses, a whole-class discussion, and individual reflections. The results revealed that the pre-service teachers appreciated the format, timeframe, and facilitation of the project as well as the affordances mediated by the voice-based tool for enabling them to develop their intercultural skills with multicultural partners. The results also indicated that, to maximize student engagement, it is important to consider learners’ contextual variables, and their individual preferences and needs when choosing CMC tools and telecollaboration partners. The study concludes with a number of pedagogical suggestions for teachers interested in conducting projects that can raise their students’ intercultural awareness via telecollaboration tools.