Keynote speakers

Robert O’Dowd University of León, Spain Robert O’Dowd University of León, Spain

Dr. Robert O'Dowd comes from Ireland. He is associate professor in English as a Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics at the University of León, Spain. He has taught at universities in Ireland, Germany and Spain and has published widely on the application of telecollaborative networks in university   education. His most recent publication is the co-edited volume Online Intercultural Exchange Policy, Pedagogy, Practice for Routledge. He has participated in many international projects and recently coordinated INTENT -  a project financed by the European Commission aimed at promoting online  intercultural exchange in European Higher Education. The project was  recently named an Erasmus Success Story. His publications are available here.

Telecollaborative Exchange and its Role in Intercultural Education

Telecollaboration, or ‘Virtual Exchange’ refers to the application of online communication tools to bring together classes of language learners in geographically distant locations with the aim of developing their foreign language skills and intercultural competence through collaborative tasks and project work. Many recent studies have explored the potential of this activity for supporting collaborative language learning and developing intercultural competence in learners (Dooly & O’Dowd, 2012, Guth & Helm, 2010; O’Dowd, 2011, 2013). This presentation presents a brief historical overview of telecollaboration and reviews what telecollaboration has contributed to intercultural education to date. It then goes on to focus on the challenges for educators and outlines the skills, attitudes and knowledge which are required to establish and carry out successfully an online intercultural exchange between university classes. Critical incidents from recent exchanges are used to illustrate how these competences come into play during telecollaboration. The presentation will also look briefly at the platform which aims to support university lecturers interested in establishing and running telecollaborative exchanges.