This photo was taken in Wagamama, Leamington Spa in January 2015. The students are from Warwick and Clermont Ferrand, France. They met through the Clavier virtual exchange, an opportunity that was available because of a connection, now in it's 6th year, between teachers researching in the use of computer-mediated communication for language learning.
The Clavier project is described here and has provided tools and connections which can help learners extend their networks, try out their language skills and meet new people. We use social media, telecollaboration and instant messenger systems to meet up. The network of connections that have emerged have resulted in many new opportunities, including travel and visits for staff and students.
This sort of learning opportunity is growing in our courses, and other languages are also getting involved. In German virtual exchange has taken place using Google + to provide advanced language learning practice. Listen to this student's reflections on the experience. In both cases the tasks provided facilitate activity which helps you develop global graduate skills.
We believe that such virtual connections can offer real opportunities to:
- enhance practical language and intercultural experiences
- acquire useful skills for future employment contexts
- increase your confidence and autonomy in language acquisition
We now have several staff members in the new Unicollaboration network, building capacity for international virtual exchange in Spanish and Chinese too. You can find out more by following @unicollaboration on Twitter.