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Computer-assisted Video Communication in the Primary EFL Classroom: A German-French Exchange
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Computer-assisted Video Communication in the Primary EFL Classroom: A German-French Exchange


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Computer-assisted Video Communication in the Primary EFL Classroom: A German-French Exchange ...

Computer-assisted Video Communication in the Primary EFL Classroom: A German-French Exchange

Euline Cutrim Schmid & Shona Whyte

Paper presented at the 2. Bundeskongress Englisch & Mehrsprachigkeit

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main 22.03.2014

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  • 1. Computer-assisted Video Communication in the Primary EFL Classroom: A German- French Exchange Euline Cutrim Schmid University of Education Schwäbisch- Gmünd Shona Whyte Université Nice Sophia Antipolis 2. Bundeskongress Englisch & Mehrsprachigkeit Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main 22.03.2014
  • 2. Outline 1. Research Background 2. Research Context 3. Data Collection 4. Research Data • description of classroom activities • two short video clips • teacher interview data • pupil interview data 5. Conclusion
  • 3. • live video communication • young learners of English as a lingua franca • IWB for interactional support Whyte & Cutrim Schmid (forthcoming) Computer-assisted Video Communication in the Primary EFL Classroom: A German-French Exchange
  • 4. • SMART board • Notebook software • Bridgit Conferencing Software • Video/audio link + screensharing Video communication
  • 5.
  • 6. 7 countries 6 languages website with video examples of IWB- supported classroom practice with additional materials Dutch English French Spanish Turkish Welsh Belgium France Germany Netherlands Spain Turkey UK primary secondary university vocational 4 sectors 44 teachers, 81 films, 267 video clips
  • 7. IWB: Limited Interactional Opportunities • one learner at IWB in front of whole class • technical rather than pedagogical interactivity • pedagogical exercises rather than tasks (Cutrim Schmid & Whyte, 2012)
  • 8. New Research Question How can we support teachers in exploiting IWB affordances with more impact on classroom interaction? • authentic communicative situation • synchronous oral communication • task-based approach • visual support for listening and speaking • pair/small group learner-learner interaction
  • 9. VC = video communication 1. videoconferencing: special equipment for video link (e.g., PolyCom) 2. video calling or video chat: desktop software or internet browser (e.g., Skype, Google hangout) 3. web conferencing (e.g., Adobe Connect)
  • 10. VC research • Technical problems with sound/image quality (e.g. Favaro, 2011; Gruson, 2011) • Practical difficulties establishing collaborative exchanges (Favaro, 2012, O’Dowd, 2010) • Familiarization sessions less effective than integrated enhancement programs (Comber et al., 2004, Pritchard, Hunt & Barnes, 2010; Macrory, Chrétien, & Ortega-Martín, 2012) • Predominance of “practiced routines” and “teacher mediation” (Gruson & Barnes, 2012, Whyte, 2011)
  • 11. present study Extreme test of IWB and VC affordances ● young beginner EFL learners ● English as a lingua franca ● whole-class sessions
  • 12. action research design
  • 13. Participants: Teachers French teacher German Teacher Generalist primary school teacher Generalist primary school teacher Twenty years of classroom experience Five years of classroom experience Technologically fluent (experienced IWB user) Level of IWB technology expertise relatively low Previous experience with VC First experience with VC Bilingual (French-Spanish) with special motivation for FL teaching Recent pre-service training in FL teaching (communicative and task based approaches)
  • 14. Participants: Learners French learners German Learners 25 pupils - aged 8-9 – third of five years of formal primary schooling 25 pupils - aged 7-8 – second of four years of formal primary schooling. One single 90 minute-session of English per week (first year of EFL) Two 45-minute sessions of English per week (second year of EFL) General pattern of EFL activities: whole class ● teacher-led presentation, ● carousel activities, individual listening exercises, worksheets, ● short closing plenary session Varied EFL activities: ● lessons taught in English ● storytelling, ● singing, ● role plays, games, ● arts and crafts. Used IWB regularly in all classes Beginner users of IWBs Previous experience with VC exchange (one Skype session) No previous experience with VC
  • 15. VC Sessions: Classroom Organization German set up: In the German class the VC sessions were run as a whole-class activity with rotating individual activity at the IWB or camera observed by the other learners. French set up: In France the VC activity was one of three separate carousel activities, observed only by the small group at the interactive display.
  • 16. Identity Card: First Session Aim: Learners introduce themselves. Their interaction is supported by a prepared IWB file with learners’ names and photos. 90-minute VC activity: Each set of learners introduced themselves in turn while a learner in the remote class dragged and dropped image and text elements on the IWB page to construct and identity card for each speaker. Follow-up session: learners pooled their knowledge to identify the pupils in a large photograph of the whole exchange class.
  • 17. Identity Card
  • 18. ID Card Session: First Exchange Isabelle (FR) talks to Sophia (DE)
  • 19. Analysis of Interaction • Identity Card Exchange Strong teacher mediation: pupils’ participation is largely structured by the teachers, pupils are guided throughout the exchanges by gesture and verbally, teachers repeat pupils’ utterances and ratify their actions (very good, super) and supply the missing opening and closing routines. Limited learner-learner interaction: Pupils perform with some level of confidence and show understanding of the interactional nature of the activity. However, they are still very dependent on teachers’ cues and support. Direct learner-learner interaction was sometimes prevented by the teachers themselves.
  • 20. Funny Animal: Second Session Aim: Learners describe the “funny animals” they had drawn in a previous lesson. Their interaction is supported by a prepared IWB file with body parts (head, body and legs) of ten different animals. 90-minute VC activity Learners described their “funny animals”, while a learner in the remote class dragged and dropped the correct body/animal combinations to the IWB page to construct the correct funny animal. Learners then showed their drawings via the Webcam so that the remote class could check if their IWB picture was correct. Follow-up session in Germany: learners carried out the same activity with their peers.
  • 21. Funny Animal
  • 22. Funny Animal Session: 8th Exchange Silvester (DE) talks to Louise (FR)
  • 23. Analysis of Interaction • Funny Animal Exchange Less Teacher Mediation: German pupil Silvester interacts confidently and independently with the remote class. The French pupils are less independent, but take initiatives to help each other. Enhanced learner-learner interaction: French pupils interact directly with German pupil by using confirmation checks (e.g. Is this correct?), to which he replies: “yes” or “no”. French pupils are pleased to check their result against Silvester’s drawing.
  • 24. Shopping: Third Session Aim: Learners practice food vocabulary in an “authentic” shopping situation in the form of a role play. French learners buy German products at REWE supermarket and German learners buy French products at E. LECLERC. 90-minute VC activity One pupil plays the shop assistant and two learners play the customers. They act a dialogue at the cashier (hello, can I help you, I’d like…, is that all?, how much is it?, it’s….., and so on.) and communicate via the Webcam. The products are then dragged and dropped to the shopping cart by the shop assistant and the payment (Euro bills or coins) is dropped into the cash register drawer by the customers. Follow-up session: learners described the products that were purchased by the French pupils and also carried out the same activity with their peers.
  • 25. Shopping
  • 26. Aim: Learners practice food vocabulary in an “authentic” situation, as they prepare a breakfast table for a learner in the remote class. 90-minute VC activity Two learners should imagine they have a guest from the partner school and need to prepare breakfast for him/her. They initiate the dialogue by asking: “what would you like for breakfast”? The pupil in the remote class then makes his/her choices (I’d like….) and the learners drag and drop the items onto the breakfast table. Pupils can also ask additional questions, such as: would you like some butter on your bread? or how many slices of bread? And so on. Follow-up session: learners describe what the pupils in the remote class are having for breakfast. They also compare their breakfast eating habits with the ones from the remote class. Breakfast Time: Fourth Session
  • 27. Teacher Feedback: Main Pedagogical Benefits 1. Enhanced motivation to use the target language “They made a real effort to bring together everything that they had learned […] to mobilize everything they had learned, and we could really see that.“ (French teacher) “They enjoyed that they were able to interact with the French kids, since they wouldn't be able to speak with them in their mother tongue. They understood why they learn English”. (German teacher) “They sometimes in class they don't really listen to the others. Here they had to be listening because they had to do something afterwards, and that's important.“ (French teacher)
  • 28. Teacher Feedback: Main Pedagogical Benefits 2. Enhanced self-confidence in the ability to comprehend and use the target language “Instead of just introducing themselves in a dumb way and the others responding by introducing themselves, the IWB was the element that showed that they had understood. In other words it was an evaluation in a way. “I have understood what you told me.”’ (interview - French teacher) “They won self-assuredness in their own possibilities and skills though the visible feedback on the IWB”. (interview - German teacher)
  • 29. Teacher Feedback: Main Challenges 1. Minimizing teacher mediation “ I almost had to check myself, did you notice? If they didn't understand I didn't want to tell them because I wanted that if they make a mistake, that it would be the others - When we heard them go "oooh" or when they clapped, I wanted them to have that reaction to show whether it's right or wrong. But I had to force myself because it's true you want to [intervene]“ (interview – French teacher) “ My aim was to give as much responsibility to the kids as possible. It depended on how the kid managed the situation”. (interview – German teacher)
  • 30. Teacher Feedback: Main Challenges 2. Creating opportunities for spontaneous interaction “What I would like to do, but I don't know how to implement it, is this spontaneous thing. In other words for there to be a spontaneous discussion. For example two children who meet and who want to get to know each other, go further.” (interview - French teacher) “I will think about how we could encourage and support more spontaneous/independent learner-learner interaction” (interview – German teacher)
  • 31. Pupil Feedback (Germany): Main Advantages 1. Enthusiasm and self-confidence „I found it great that we could talk to the French kids in English“ „We are better (….) We learn a lot of English. They are French and maybe they don‘t learn English every day. We‘ve learned English since the first grade“. Increased interest in intercultural aspects „ They talked English a litttle bit different from us.“ Enhanced motivation to learn the target language to be able to say more „We could talk about our grandparents, or if we have cousins or not. And the country where we take vacation.“ „or find out if someone has a telephone number or we could talk about our pets.“
  • 32. Pupil Feedback (Germany): Main Challenges 1. Little room for spontaneous speaking „It would be great if we could (also) say: I like video games, I like cars, or I like helicopter games“. 2. Anxiety during VC interaction „ When I was at the camera (….) I felt like I was on French TV“ „I found it difficult to talk into the camera because I was so anxious, and when I‘m anxious I always forget the words.“
  • 33. Conclusion • It is both possible and worthwhile for young beginners to engage in live peer communication, and IWB-supported VC interaction offers a promising platform for this type of exchange. • Both teachers and learners found the exchange motivating and useful, with both groups also providing ideas and goals for future sessions. • Both teachers expressed special interest in developing resources/activities that allow more room for “independent actions and spontaneous speaking" and "independent learner-learner exchanges”. • We speculate that more frequent, and less structured exchanges between small groups of learners over a longer period would permit more spontaneous interaction and help foster the development of greater interactional competence.
  • 34. •Comber, C., Lawson, T., Gage, J., Cullum-Hanshaw A. and Allen, T. (2004), Report for Schools of the DfES Videoconferencing in the Classroom Project, University of Leicester and University of Cambridge. •Cutrim Schmid, E. & Whyte, S. (2012). Interactive Whiteboards in School Settings: Teacher Responses to Socio- constructivist Hegemonies. Language Learning and Technology 16 (2), 65-86. •Favaro L. (2011), ‘Videoconferencing as a tool to provide an authentic foreign language environment for primary school children: Are we ready for It?’, in G. Rata (ed.), Academic Days in Timisoara: Language Education Today, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. •Favaro, L. (2012), ‘Web-Videoconferencing, a Tool to Motivate Primary School Children Learning a Foreign Language: Two Case Studies’, Language education, 1, (2). •Gruson, B. (2011), ‘Analyse comparative d'une situation de communication orale en classe ordinaire et lors d'une séance en visioconférence’, Distances et Savoirs, 8, (3), 395-423. •O’Dowd, R. (2010), ‘Online foreign language interaction: Moving from the periphery to the core of foreign language education?’, Language Teaching, 44(3), 368-380. •Macrory, G., Chrétien, L. and Ortega, J. (2012b), ‘Technology-enhanced language learning pedagogy (TELLP): a project report and handbook for teachers’. Available online at: •Pritchard, A., Hunt, M., and Barnes, A. (2010), ‘Case study investigation of a videoconferencing experiment in primary schools, teaching modern foreign languages’, Language Learning Journal, 38(2), 209-220. •Whyte, S. (2011). Learning to teach with videoconferencing in primary foreign language classrooms. ReCALL 23(3): 271–293. •Whyte, S., & Cutrim Schmid, E. (in press). A task-based approach to video communication with the IWB: a French- German primary EFL class exchange. In Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.). Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. Advances in Digital Language Learning and Teaching (Series editors: Michael Thomas, Mark Warschauer & Mark Peterson). Bloomsbury. References