sexta-feira, 10 de abril de 2009

Interculturalidade na educação a distância

Realizou-se em Lisboa no ano de 2008 entre os dias 11 e 14 de junho a EDEN Annual Conferences, organizada pela EDEN - the European Distance and E-Learning Network e subordinada ao tema: "Novas culturas de Aprendizagem"

Na apresentação do evento pode-se ler:

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Valuing learning cultures – a step towards shrinking the digital divide

Among the primary factors influencing the development and implementation of e-learning, those that look beyond just the aspects of technology and management are fast gaining importance. Information and knowledge moves in cyberspace through very different learning environments. Exploratory learning has recently developed into a widely-used term. More and more educational activities are supported on the Internet and interaction can largely be managed virtually. The understanding of cultural features in communication processes and their impact on e-learning, together with the most effective positioning and interpretation of intercultural issues pose today highly relevant questions.

Introducing and embedding learning into every human activity is high on the agenda. A holistic approach in distance and e-learning requires a deep understanding: the ability to compare, understand and integrate. Understanding the relevance of the ‘cultural dimension’requires intense efforts, if we are to go beyond its abstract meaning, beyond slogans.

The year 2008 will be the year of intercultural dialogue, offering the opportunity to put the issue of learning cultures and their impact as the focus of the EDEN Annual Conference. Intercultural issues are becoming even more relevant in the light of emerging policy initiatives – like the ‘Riga Declaration’; the proposed 2008 e-inclusion initiative, and i2010 – that link ‘culture’and ‘learning’within the context of e-government, active citizenship and social cohesion. Learning to be a good citizen and learning to be a good European require a new orientation for e-learning, that can help to bring together different cultural backgrounds.

We are witnessing the emergence and manifestation of different ‘digital learning patrimonies’, which have in the recent period become key terms and have been instrumental in understanding the contemporary e-learning phenomenon. The extension of this understanding is highly relevant to the closely linked ‘cultural patrimonies’.

Cultural understanding, efficiency and quality go hand in hand

Bridging professional cultures is not only important for the development of human understanding but also from the e-learning perspective for adopting and facilitating the integration of tools and solutions and developing synergies.There is a challenging variability in the cultural adaptation of ICTs. A well-understood intercultural approach is instrumental in re-structuring the educational enterprise and exploring new development scenarios. The effectiveness of technology may be reduced or improved by factors such as the values and learning styles of users. The emotional and motivation aspects for learning also emerge as highly relevant.

Open thinking and building on well integrated cultural diversity can also promote help in creating a reflective learning space. Cultural understanding in learning also means gaining knowledge from other training cultures and learning design solutions,cultural understanding also supports diversity, releasing aspirations for achievement, the desire for self-sufficiency and independence – essential factors of 21st century knowledge and competence development. which have developed in different professional sectors or geographical regions, where the settings necessitate the application of different approaches. Importantly,

Learning culture how does it work in the '2.0' environment?

Learning is becoming an increasingly personalised experience. We can learn practically everywhere and it is more and more the student who finds the ways to learning. The social web has also largely extended the scope of collaboration in learning. The new generation technology solutions and Web 2.0 tools are necessarily cultural matters. Cultural understanding may help to raise and exploit fully the new e-learning concepts based on social web.

Collaboration and partnerships in distance and e-learning reduce fragmentation, promote integration and cohesion, improving not only the pooling of knowledge but also engagement. The intercultural approach helps to understand and better support the much quoted inclusion and access aspects of ICTs and learning. On the other hand, if we use intercultural learning as an operational concept, for understanding and exploiting different learning styles and learning methods, this may well help both to increase learning efficiency and to implement new learning systems.

Cultural aspects certainly make part of the social change and inclusion scenario in e-learning, raising the 'solidarity'; 'individuality' and 'communality' questions. Broadening of the idea of the 'civilised society' can also evidently be promoted through learning. The increased mobility of both individuals and groups, but also within communities and nations, has stressed the great importance of learning to cope and to understand cultural diversity. People are communicating more than ever, but being as physically apart from each other as never before. This phenomenon is changing the very nature of our way of learning, working and living.

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A preocupação da organização em focar que a educação a distância tem de deixar o foco da tecnologia e passar a refletir crescentemente sobre as novas culturas de aprendizagem, está expressa na intervenção de
Lani Gunawardena, subordinada ao tema: "Cultural Aspects of Communication Processes Online - Identity, Gender, and Language in Synchronous Cybercultures"


Abaixo apresentamos o slideshow que guiou a apresentacao do pesquisador e também um resumo da sua intervenção.



Fonte: 2008 - EDEN Annual Conferences


O resumo da apresentação, refere que:


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The name Gunawardena is one I have often quoted so it was a great pleasure to be able to hear Lani Gunwardena give a keynote yesterday at Eden 2008. The title of her talk was “Cultural aspects of communication processes online – identity, gender and languages in synchronous cybercultures”. She focused on the findings from a sabbatical study she did in 2004/2005 through fieldwork in Morocco and Sri Lanka. Some of the key questions she was trying to address in the study were:
  • How do diverse sociocultural contexts shape communication processes online?
  • What are the communication conventions naturally developed by internet users when they use the medium informally?
  • How is identity expressed in such settings?
  • Are there gender differences?
  • How is language used to express identity?

The aim was to generate a conceptual framework of the socio-cultural factors that are important for users communicating in an informal context using anonymous, synchronous chat. She adopted a qualitative, ethnographic perspective; using grounded theory to develop the conceptual framework. Data was collected via interviews and focus groups in the field. The study took place in Morocco and Sri Lankan and involved around 100 adults. She described some of the key characteristics of each study group – age, gender, language, religion, cultural context, etc. The study groups were the general public, using Internet cafes communicating via chat with people they didn’t know. She then described some of the overarching themes which emerged from the study.

  • The nature of identity in these settings – how trust is built, the role of self disclosure, cultural and gender differences
  • Innovative use of language to express identity and generate immediacy
  • Tokens of identity – age, sex and location, are all used in different ways, depending on context, to either reveal true identity, create a different identity or adopt a blended identity
  • Differences in the concepts of identity across different cultural settings, for example that the Moroccan concept of identity is collective
  • The use and importance of identity play – for example anonymity gave them more freedom to express themselves, age and sex appeared to be more important than location, identity can be changed to appeal to different audiences, stereotyping takes place more easily in text only environment. She described how a participant ‘Mohammed’ changed his name in the online chat to ‘green python’ because he experienced racial prejudice when he used his real name.
  • Evidence of boundary crossing – the use of role play, for example Moroccans posing as Europeans in order to generate discussion or users adopting different gender identities
  • Construction of cybernetic identities enabled disenfranchised individuals to participate and communities to deal with exclusion and marginalisation; in societies which are male dominated the online environment provides a safe haven for women to communicate with members of the opposite sex in a way that would not be possible face to face.
  • Trust building is closely linked to identity – she gave examples of how many of the users will begin a chat session by asking a series of questions initially and then ask the same questions later to check the validity of the other person, also that use of extensive exaggeration usually is a strong indicator that the other person is faking their gender identity. Similarly many will combine chat with mobile phones to verify authenticity
  • Trust building and use of media – hierarchized methods of communication: chatting - low risk, easy to dismiss, email - more personal and presents larger risk than chat and more serious, mobile phones – highest level of intimacy
  • Self disclosure also related to trust building
  • Gender differences – She cited Graiouid’s (2004) work on virtual identities; breaching the dichotomy of public and private space in Moroccan society and females enjoy anonymity which allows them to build relationships without compromising themselves, in contrast Sri Lankan women were less comfortable with self disclosure online
  • She found evidence that women will take extra effort to resolve misunderstanding even if relationship is not that strong
  • She gave a number of examples of how language is adapted and used in these chat sessions – use of numbers, issues with representation of a primarily oral language in textual format, use of different idioms to express realness and the ‘feel’ of the conversation, use of French for polite conversation cf. Moroccan Arabic to deal with conflict, use of emoticons
  • Combination of chat with other media – phones, webcams, email

She concluded by reflecting on the implications of this work for learning cultures:

  • Expression of identity is important for relationship building, but self disclosure is not easy especially for women
  • Creation of identity enables one to experience the world in a new way, will lend itself well to role play and simulations
  • Anonymity is important to facilitate honest dialogue on controversial issue
  • Posting photos can lead to stereotyping, so other means of self disclosure is recommended
  • Context is key to understanding messages

She now plans to build on this work by looking at how is identity, gender and language is expressed in virtual worlds such as second life, and how experimentation in cross cultural communication can occur in such contexts.

Fonte: e4innovation.com (Gráinne Conole - blog)


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A reflexão sobre esta temática, ganha particular realce, num momento em que se inicia no Brasil o processo de implantação da Universidade Federal de Integração Luso Afro-Brasileira. Para saber mais sobre o acompanhamento que temos feito da implantacao da Unilab. clique aqui.

Publicado por João José Saraiva da Fonseca em 10 de abril de 2009

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