11  Mobile Collaboration for Language Learning and Cultural Learning



In an article on “The benefits of teaching languages outdoors,” Mandarin language teacher Jude McKerrecher (2016) describes how her students engaged in activities such as learning to describe a woodland area near their school; learning words to describe texture, feelings, smells, and sounds; making Chinese characters from twigs and stones; and creating banners to highlight the impact of pollution on their environment. The students also made a short video clip in Mandarin and English to share with a partner school in China. This example illustrates well how outdoor mobility might be combined with use of mobiles and other tools and resources in a broadly conceived social setting. As McKerrecher observes, “Human beings were not designed to spend hours each day surrounded by brick walls” (2016). She reports that her students enjoyed collaborating and having a real context for their language learning.

Perhaps these students will take something from this experience into their lives, seeking to relate their learning to real contexts, working together, and connecting with people from other cultures. The aims of a good education surely include developing learners to collaborate with others and explore new perspectives. In the twenty‐first century there is also growing recognition that the internet and social media give access to continuous informal learning in a multitude ...

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