Travelling the Digital Highways: Creating a Student Wiki for a Year Abroad in Germany

Devilly, Doris (2011) Travelling the Digital Highways: Creating a Student Wiki for a Year Abroad in Germany. [Conference Proceedings]


Recent years have seen a trend towards the increasing use of Web 2.0 technologies in language learning and teaching. Unlike traditional Web 1.0 technologies, these so-called web applications, e.g. social networks, podcasts, blogs and wikis offer more extensive, outcome-oriented possibilities for communicative language learning. Due to their participatory and interactive potential, they not only foster the students' receptive language skills, but also their productive language skills as well as offering new opportunities for intercultural learning. This presentation will showcase a German language project Das Auslandsjahr in Deutschland by final year Commerce/German students in NUIG as part of a 12 week module on Creative and collaborative language learning with Web 2.0. The rationale behind this project was to create a wiki platform for second year students in NUIG who are preparing for their Erasmus year in Germany. The wiki should act as a medium to inform students on many aspects of living and studying in Germany, give some insights into the cultural and social aspects of the German- speaking world and pass on personal stories and experiences as well as useful tips and advice. The aim of the project was/is to enhance the students' language learning experience, nurture the four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and promote the use of Web 2.0 technologies for autonomous learning. It should also facilitate students' engagement with the subject and other learners as it encourages active collaboration and interaction between both groups of students as they set up focus groups and met virtually in social networks. In addition, final year students published their own German texts, uploaded pictures and web applications and conducted interviews which they edited and published as podcasts. The year abroad wiki,, is an on-going project in its second year, managed presently by a new cohort of final year students.

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