L2DL Symposium: Critical Transnational Dialogue and Virtual Exchange

a hybrid symposium on research and practice

October 19th - 24th, 2020


All Virtual Presentations had asynchronous discussion during the symposium week, October 15-20, 2018, and in addition, live interactions with authors of some presentations were scheduled. Virtual presentations with an asterisk in the list below had one of these livechat sessions. Download the abstracts (annotated with livechat times) here [PDF], or see them below.

You will find the presentations themselves in a playlist on CERCLL’s Youtube channel.

Virtual Presentation Abstracts

Click on the presentation titles to read the abstracts.


Akiyama, Yuka (University of Tokyo)

The Role of Multimodality in Performing Social Interactions: Longitudinal Case Studies of ETandem Dyads

Although the quality of personal relationships greatly impacts the success of telecollaborative activities, few studies have examined the role of multimodality in the development of social interactions. Since videoconferencing is not an innate ability but a skill that develops over time (Kern, 2014), we need to examine how telecollaborative participants develop the skill and use it for socialization. Using interactional sociolinguistics and multimodal discourse analysis concepts, the study examined how eTandem dyads utilized technological affordances, their bodies, and the surrounding environment, inside and outside the designated curricular modality of Google Hangouts.

Out of 30 dyads that participated in the eTandem project between Japan and the U.S., the study selected three dyads that demonstrated contrasting behaviors and perceptions about the project. Analysis of their discourse data revealed that, while the most successful dyad utilized screen sharing to create what I call virtual joint attention and resorted to various multimodal resources to increase social presence (Short et al., 1976), the least successful dyad suffered from the limited sense of social presence due to the way they used the material surround (e.g., electronic dictionary). The other dyad, whose interactional behavior changed after a critical incident of “coming out,” started to communicate “in the wild” by utilizing Facebook Messenger. Consequently, their shared repertoire (i.e., intertextuality) increased, allowing them to establish a community of practice.

Based on the findings, I argue that we need to take into account the impact of medium on interactional processes and emphasize the digital side of eTandem by placing digital literacy learning as one of the primary goals and benefits of engaging in telecollaboration. The findings of the study also call for a holistic approach to the study of online social interactions through which we investigate interactions that naturally emerge outside the official, curricular sphere of telecollaborative learning, so we can understand how language learners expand the use of various technological platforms to maintain their personal relationships.

* Campbell, Harrison (University of Calgary)

Literacy in the Green Room: A Phenomenological Inquiry into what it is Like to Experience Literacy within a Theatrical Space

Literacy, according to Lindquist and Seitz (2009), “is one of those words, like love, that people use commonly and confidently, as if its meaning were transparent and stable” (p. 8). In this interactive virtual presentation, I will showcase a current study, including research design and literature review, examining how literacy comes to be defined within schools and how dramatic inquiry and digital media can be used to recognize student agency, authorship, and identity within literacies definition.

This study draws upon the work of the New London Group (NLG), which spoke to a growing multiplicity of communication techniques around cultural and linguistic diversities (New London Group, 1994). Moving beyond monolingual and monocultural approaches and expanding the scope of literacy pedagogy, the group proposed a framework of multiliteracies embracing multimodality and contextual responsiveness to the learning environment.

Students, especially those who are English Language Learners (ELL), need to have inclusive and equitable spaces in which they can play the role of code breakers, text users and text analysts while developing literacy. Artistic inquiry and theatrical spaces in addition to teaching the aforementioned roles, also strengthen students social and cultural wellbeing (Wells & Sandretto, 2017). Theatrical spaces, are applicable not only to traditional performance halls, they are also possible within digital formats. For example, process drama which relies upon improvising original texts, interpreting texts of others, and investigating the social and cultural contexts that shape text creation are suitable modes of exploring artistic literacy representation (Pascoe, 2002, p. 70).

In this study, students use a theatrical space to collectively communicate their experience of literacy and develop their own literacy practices. In my study, I argue for a shift in policy from “literacy” to “multiliteracies” through demonstrating that students’ actual practices of interaction, identification, and embodiment of literacy experiences can refine educational policy (Macro, 2015). Rather than being perceived as an endpoint, it is hoped that literacy will come to be recognized an ongoing learning process integrating student agency, authorship, and identity.       


Lindquist, J., & Seitz, D. (2009). The elements of literacy. New York: Pearson

Longman. Macro, K. (2015). Drama as literacy: Perceptions of an interactive pedagogy. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 20(3), 337-339. doi:10.1080/13569783.2015.1059270

New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60.

Pascoe, R. (2002). Stretching the envelope for arts literacy: Arguing for multiple literacies through drama and the other arts. Melbourne Studies in Education, 43(2), 64. doi:10.1080/17508480209556403

Wells, T., & Sandretto, S. (2017). “I’m on a journey I never thought I’d be on”: Using process drama pedagogy for the literacy programme. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 12(2), 180. doi:10.1080/1554480X.2016.1245147

* Bonine, Kevin; Jill Castek, Gloria Jacobs, Jennifer Nichols, Blaine E. Smith, Leslie Sult, and Wen Wen (University of Arizona)

Designing Learning Spaces that Promote Equity and Inclusion

In today’s educational climate, organizations are creating learning spaces for hands-on activities, often called makerspaces, co-working spaces, innovation labs, or fablabs. These spaces have evolved to be interdisciplinary centers that personalize learning for individual, diverse learners in collaborative settings. When designed well, these physical spaces create communities that contextualize learning around participants’ goals.

Despite their potential, makerspaces still struggle to create a sense of inclusivity for women (Hynes, 2017) and other diverse language and cultural groups. Sustainable programs for diversifying access to physical learning spaces, require researchers to identify and address existing barriers to participation. The Invention Studio (Noel, Murphy, Jariwala, 2016) observed four main barriers: anxiety due to lack of experience, a lack of information regarding equipment and usage, a fear of alienation, and a pre-existing notion that makerspaces are only for engineering.

Bridging from an NSF funded initiative, this presentation aims to bring together a community of collaborators from multiple stakeholder groups including academia, public libraries, museums, community based organizations, non-profits, media makers and educators within and beyond K-12 schools. The presenters aim to identify issues, discuss possible solutions, and facilitate discussions about technology-focused learning that invite experimentation with distributed learning technologies among organizations, researchers, and practitioners who serve diverse learners. Five focus areas include:

  1. inclusivity of learning spaces that invite multiple perspectives and full participation
  2. documenting learning in ways that are linked to outcomes and impacts for all learners
  3. implementing the use of new technologies in diverse settings, such as the workforce
  4. interpersonal interactions and peer-to-peer learning
  5. methods for collecting and analyzing data at intersection of people, the learning environment, and new technologies.

This session will examine a synthesis of design principles, assessment approaches, and tools that can be used widely by those in the field.  During this discussion, the researchers aim to: (1) exchange innovative ideas, (2) share challenges and opportunities, (3) connect practical and research-based expertise and (4) form cross-institutional and cross-community partnerships that envision, propose, and implement opportunities that support our collective understanding. Outcomes will address equity and inclusion of all learners across digitally distributed learning environments.


Hynes, M. & Hynes, W. (2017). If you build it, will they come? Student preferences for Makerspace environments in higher education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education. 1-17. 10.1007/s10798-017-9412-5.

Noel, A. Murphy, L., Jariwala, A. (2016). Sustaining a diverse and inclusive culture in a student run makerspace. Proceedings of the ISAM conference. Retrieved from


Castek, Jill, and Gloria Jacobs (University of Arizona)

Dialogic Interactions and Collaboration: Exploring Cultural Competence, Power, and Positionality during Digital Problem Solving

The digital world is constantly changing, but a constant and persistent trend is that the digital world is a collaborative world. Digital problem solving involves the nimble use of skills, strategies, and mindsets to navigate online in everyday contexts and use novel resources, tools, and interfaces in efficient and flexible ways to accomplish personal and professional goals (Authors, 2017).  A savvy digital problem solver relies not only on their own expertise, but on the collective insights of individuals working together toward a common goal. However, collaboration can take different forms depending on the languages and cultural and backgrounds of the digital problem solvers and the cultural context in which digital problem solving occurs.  This is especially evident when collaborating in a face-to-face setting to solve problems using digital resources.

Building learning opportunities for digital problem solving requires an awareness of nuanced forms of cultural competence that take into consideration equity and participation among individuals with different experiences and knowledge bases.  Understanding nuances in collaboration creates powerful opportunities to design learning opportunities where individuals can learn digital literacies along with, and from, one another.

Patterns of collaboration were analyzed from pairs of adults as they solved digital problems across the domains of work, consumer, library, and personal interests (e.g. attending events, participating in clubs, and organizing music collections).  Using screen capture software, each groups’ dialogue and online navigation were observed, archived and later transcribed, coded, and analyzed. Discourse analysis (Blommaert, 2005; Fairclough, 1989; Gee, 1990), revealed variations in dialogic patterns of communication. Findings indicate that collaboration involves power relationships, and these relationships and power dynamics position each person in different ways depending on their assertiveness, cultural awareness, and communication style.  Furthermore, shared values and perspectives play out in the way collaboration occurs and learning opportunities arise.

This presentation will examine findings related to three themes that address: 1) cultural competence, 2) power, and 3) positionality.  These themes offer a nuanced understanding of collaborative interactions and suggest ways to maximize their impact. Implications for educators such as how to design collaborative experiences for digital problem solving for both formal and informal adult learning will be addressed.

* Collin, Luiza (Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas)and Sarah Dietrich (Southeast Missouri State University)

Participants as designers of product(s) and process(es): An online collaboration between multilingual future teachers and students in the US and Mexico

Digital technologies allow teachers and learners to reach beyond the traditional classroom through interactions with others who are geographically distant.  For students, participation in online exchanges has been linked to increased technological skills (Hempel & Stickler, 2005; Salmon, 2003), pragmatic competence in a second or foreign language (Belz & Kinginger, 2003), and intercultural competence (O’Dowd, 2003, 2006). For language teachers, O’Dowd (2013) argues, the ability to use technology to integrate collaborative tasks and project work into their classes has become essential.

This presentation explores the planning, implementation, and outcomes of an online collaboration between Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) students in the US and a class of undergraduates studying Applied Linguistics in Mexico. Over the course of a semester, participants planned, produced, and exchanged presentations, videos, and audio files on a variety of topics related to semantics and pragmatics including commonly held beliefs about their home countries and cultures. While the project was largely asynchronous, it culminated in a video conference which brought the groups together.

Informed by research on Project-based Learning (PBL) (Thomas, 2000), throughout this project, the presenters sought to create an environment in which the participants, from China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Ukraine and the US, could learn with, about, and from each other. It was the participants who determined the topics of and digital media for each of the “texts” they shared with their counterparts. For example, one group of women from Saudi Arabia, China, and the US wrote and filmed a video exploring stereotypes about Muslim women.

The presenters draw on their field notes, participant reflections, and digital artifacts produced as part of this project to share lessons learned. They offer a model for designing digital media projects in which future teachers and language students take authorship of both product and process. Finally, as friends who interact with each other in a combination of English, French and Spanish, they offer insights regarding how to encourage students to recognize their own diverse strengths and see language as means of learning about themselves and about the world.

Corcoran, James (Renison University College / University of Waterloo); Allison Rose Yealdon (Lester B. Pearson & L Commission Scolaire des Trois Lacs School Boards), Christina Tijandra (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education / University of Toronto), Mary Alicia Welsh (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education / University of Toronto; Edmonton Public School Board)and Maria Gennuso (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education / University of Toronto)

Teacher Reflections on Digital Autobiographical Identity Texts in (Critical) Language Teacher Education

This duoethnographic project explores emergent tropes from conversations between a language teacher educator and four language teachers on the impact of a digital autobiographical identity text (D-AIT) assignment in an online, graduate-level teacher education course entitled, “Critical Academic Literacies: Supporting Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in our Schools”. In attempting to better understand the complex potential and limitations of digital technologies in the language teacher education classroom, we discuss at length several themes: the immediate and enduring impact of this assignment on teachers’ conceptions of language, language teachers, and language teaching; the inextricable links between language, identity, power, and (digital) pedagogies; the potential of this type of activity on both teachers’ and their students’ language learning outcomes and perceptions of themselves as legitimate users of additional languages; and the limitations of using digital technologies with teachers and students who have different digital access and literacies. Our presentation forefronts teacher voices while grounding these conversations in the extant literature from Educational Linguistics. Following a brief presentation of teacher D-AITs, we conclude with recommendations for adapting this pedagogical tool in different contexts in order to effectively and equitably support our increasingly diverse populations of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Our presentation may be of acute interest to both language teachers, language teacher educators, and those interested in duoethnographic research in teacher education.


Barkhuizen, G. (Ed.). (2016). Reflections on language teacher identity research. New York: Taylor & Francis. Corcoran, J. N. (2017). The potential of autobiographical identity texts in English for academic purposes classrooms. College ESL Quarterly, Winter 2017, 1-7.

Cummins, J. (2007). Rethinking monolingual instructional strategies in multilingual classrooms. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée, 10(2), 221-240.

Morgan, B. (2009). Fostering transformative practitioners for critical EAP: Possibilities and challenges. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 8(2), 86-99.

Norris, J. & Sawyer, R. D. (2017). (Eds.) Theorizing curriculum studies, teacher education, and research through duoethnographic pedagogy. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Norton, B., & Toohey, K. (2011). Identity, language learning, and social change. Language Teaching, 44(4), 412-446.

Domaz, Silvana (Arizona State University)

Race to Proficiency: Augmented Reality Mobile Game in the Foreign Language Classroom

Two of the major issues facing second or foreign language instruction are the implementation of digital technology in the classroom and the importance of students learning in the target language rather than just learning about the target language. For this shift to happen, educators must move beyond reproduction of current practices in digitally-mediated settings to learning environments capable of building knowledge rather than simply transmitting knowledge (Holden & Sykes, 2011). One possible direction to solve this issue is offered by the combination of digital technology with Task-Based-Language-Teaching (TBLT) in which students learn by doing tasks related to everyday situations.

In an effort to build knowledge through tasks, this project proposes the use of an augmented reality (AR) mobile application to foster language learning beyond the language classroom in novel and interesting ways. The theoretical background for this project is the Cognition Hypothesis and the use of TBLT in an ARE as an approach to improve complexity towards the target language.

The concept of the reality competition TV show Amazing Race is the basis for the task-base design of the AR game. For this experiment, participants in an intermediate foreign language class are placed in groups of two and complete weekly challenges by using the AR application in their mobile phones to trigger an action, which presents them with a task to be completed in the target language. The action could be a text, an image, a video, or a clue (QR codes) placed in different areas on the campus. Students must interact and collaborate with each other, with fictional characters, and with real people in the university, and in the community to master authentic tasks in a contextualized-learning with meaningful connections to the real world. Participants must complete a challenge to advance to their next challenge.

All in game data will be recorded and oral pre- and post-tests will be analyzed. It is expected that the authentic situated environment provided by the AR, will be the factor that aid in the development of complexity towards the target language.


Holden, C., & Sykes, J. (2011). Leveraging mobile games for place-based language learning. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 1(2), 1–18.

Elturki, Eman (Washington State University)

Language in Action: Interactive Corpus-Based Platforms for Language Development

Evidence from recent empirical research has demonstrated the effectiveness of corpus data in enhancing students’ lexicogrammatical knowledge and critical thinking (e.g. Luo, 2016; Nurmukhamedov, 2016; Yoon & Jo, 2014). Such linguistic resources provide students with access to words and their “associated lexical and grammatical patterns in different contexts [which as a result] allows learners to develop a greater sense of […] form, meaning and use” (Wu, Li, Witten, & Yu, 2016, p. 18). In this Practice-Oriented Presentation, teachers will learn about FLAX (Flexible Language Acquisition) which is a powerful corpus-based resource designed specifically for English language learners. FLAX is a virtual library containing various authentic language collections from corpus data. It is open source with built-in tools for exploring language patterns. It has user-friendly interfaces and is designed for learners and teachers. This session will shed light on three valuable collections in FLAX: (1) The “FLAX Resource Collections” which consists of four resources for learning collocations and common phrases in English. (2) “British Academic Written English Collections” which offer rich resources for developing academic English. (3) The “FLAX Distributed Collections” which are designed for beginner and intermediate ESL learners in which students can read and listen to reading passages at their level, learn about parts of speech, expand their vocabulary including collocations. Learners can also practice what they have learned in the collection through interactive games. The presenter will share these resources, illustrate how they can be used by students and teachers, and discuss pedagogical implications.


Luo, Q. (2016). The effects of data-driven learning activities on EFL learners’ writing development. SpringerPlus5(1), 1255.

Nurmukhamedov, U. (2016). The contribution of collocation tools to collocation correction in second language writing. International Journal of Lexicography30(4), 454-482.

Wu, S., Li, L., Witten, I. H., & Yu, A. (2016). Constructing a collocation learning system from the Wikipedia corpus. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (IJCALLT)6(3), 18-35.

Yoon, H. and Jo, J. (2014) Direct and indirect access to corpora: An exploratory case study comparing students’ error correction and learning strategy use in L2 writing. Language Learning and Technology, 18(1): 96–117.

Gaspar, Borbala (University of Arizona)

The Effects of Multimodal Communication on the Development of New Types of Learner Imagination

Although the concept of imagination has been addressed in theories of identity construction by many scholars (Kanno & Norton, 2003; Norton, 2000, 2001, Pavlenko & Norton, 2007), and these works have provided us with many examples of how futures are imagined by learners, and how these imagined futures affect the investment and identity of the learner in language learning (Norton, 1997, 2000), we still know very little about how language learners use their imagination (Ryan & Irie, 2014). Furthermore, most previous studies on learner identity that include imagination focus primarily on the analysis of verbal communication in a physical space, but few are concerned with communication in virtual spaces. Most of these studies limit their focus primarily on the imagined and planned future of the language learner withdrawing the way the possible effects it may have on the present, claiming that imagination presupposes new identities (Pavlenko and Norton, 2007), placing imagination purely related to the self, as the processes of the individual (Erikson, 2007; Pizzalato, 2006), leaving out the other forms of imagination, in particular how can imagination be co-constructed using digital literacies, in a form of online multimodal translanguaging. The rise in the ubiquity of digital communication technologies provides an invaluable opportunity for foreign language learners to not only connect to the target language speakers within the use of a broader spectrum of communication such as images, videos, and other forms of semiotic elements that are imbedded and incorporated into their imaginations, and consequently into their lives. There are still gaps in the research on how multimodal communication affects the development of new types of (co-constructed) learner imagination, and in what ways the new forms of imagination can contribute to different (self)positioning (Davies & Harrè, 1990; Harrè & Moghaddam, 2009).

This longitudinal study focuses on an examination of how the use of the mobile application Hellotalk as a multimodal way of communication can trigger the imagination of the participants as they interact with their partners, and consequently how this contributes to new (self)positionings. In this qualitative study, I collected artifacts that demonstrate the digital discourses of learners, examined student portfolios, and conducted semi-structured interviews with three focal participants.

Findings reveal that multimodal elements and discourses provide a space for imagination, through which learners co-constructively transcend their space and time, and create a homogeneous space where their lives and sense of time become interwoven with their imagined presence. The new form of imagination described in this paper is socially mediated and co-constructed, do not necessary point to the future, triggers emotions and feelings, evokes different positioning, can contribute to greater learner motivation, and should be considered as an alternative to the theories of investment and imagination.

Key words: imagination, (self)positioning, foreign language learners, translanguaging, telecollaboration, digital literacies


Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1990). Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Journal for the theory of social behaviour20(1), 43-63.

Erikson, M. G. (2007). The meaning of the future: Toward a more specific definition of possible selves. Review of General Psychology11(4), 348.

Harré, R., Moghaddam, F. M., Cairnie, T. P., Rothbart, D., & Sabat, S. R. (2009). Recent advances in positioning theory. Theory & Psychology19(1), 5-31.

Kano, Y., & Norton, B. (2003). Imagined communities and educational possibilities. Journal of Language, Identity and Education2(4), 43-58.

Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change. Editorial Dunken.

Pavlenko, A., & Norton, B. (2007). Imagined communities, identity, and English language learning. In International handbook of English language teaching (pp. 669-680). Springer, Boston, MA.

Pizzolato, J. E. (2006). Achieving college student possible selves: Navigating the space between commitment and achievement of long-term identity goals. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology12(1), 57.

Ryan, S., & Irie, K. (2014). Imagined and possible selves: Stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Multiple perspectives on the self in SLA, 109-126.

Guskaroska, Agata, and Thomas Elliott (Iowa State University)

Digital tools for diaspora language maintenance for young children in English-speaking

Language maintenance is an increasingly important issue as migration and intercultural contact put less privileged or less powerful languages at a risk of disappearance.  Diaspora communities worldwide face challenges in passing on linguistic and cultural practices to their children due in part to the influence of technologies largely shaped by English speaking countries. What does that mean for minority languages? Is technology an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to minority languages?

The recent explosion in the quantity, quality, and accessibility of educational software has yet to be explored in the context of minority language learning and maintenance. In that context, this study provides an overview of the existing CALL tools for preserving the Macedonian language, identifying unexplored avenues for development, and suggesting possible solutions for minority language maintenance. With new developments in diversity and accessibility of educational applications and media, new opportunities are arising. In order to best make use of these affordances and establish best practices for further development of these tools, we conducted a study on language backgrounds, ideologies, and attitudes among the Macedonian diaspora community in several English-majority countries through surveys and interviews.

Findings show strong motivation toward language maintenance and efforts by parents, but a lack of available CALL resources despite interest in new technological resources to aid in this process. Based on these findings, we recommend further development of language maintenance technology and media for the diaspora community. Some suggestions for development include: mobile games/apps; an eBook for learning the Macedonian language and culture; a YouTube channel with songs and chants for alphabet/vocabulary learning; a website gathering all the resources in one publicly accessible place; a Facebook page/group for facilitating sharing, bringing communities together and introducing users to the resources.

This study is relevant not only to the Macedonian diaspora, but also to the broader field of language maintenance. Many immigrants, regardless of their origin, encounter similar problems in preserving their native language. The use of digital technology has increasingly expanded in the last few decades, and its growth could potentially help address these issues.

* Hauck, Mirjam (The Open University)

Virtual Exchange for critical digital literacy skills development

The ‘transnational’, ‘value-added’ graduate is described as being equipped with a global mindset and the transcultural and digital literacy skills needed for cross-cultural communication. These skills, as Wyburd (2017) reminds us, are implicitly developed in higher education languages students, or, can be explicitly enhanced by educators. Such explicit enhancement is the remit of telecollaboration or online intercultural exchange, more recently also referred to as virtual exchange (VE). It offers students the opportunity to improve not only their foreign language and intercultural communication skills, but also their e-literacy skills through the use of asynchronous and synchronous tools and applications which facilitate engagement and collaboration at a distance (O’Dowd & Lewis, 2016).

However, most VE-related research consists of small-scale, qualitative studies of interactions and/or experiences from one bespoke exchange. The Evaluating and Upscaling Telecollaborative Teacher Education (EVALUATE) project, a European Policy Experimentation, launched at the beginning of 2017, is a first attempt to provide large-scale empirical evidence of effectiveness in terms of developing trainee teachers’ digital-pedagogical, intercultural, and linguistic competences. A mix of quantitative and qualitative data were collected from students – language teacher trainees – and language teacher educators engaged in the encounters. The data is currently being analysed by the research team in terms of learning gains over time in the aforementioned skills sets.

This contribution reports on the participants’ digital-pedagogical competence development with a focus on evidence of emerging critical digital literacy understood as the critical and practical understanding of digital technologies in different socio-cultural settings (Alexander, Adams Becker & Cummins, 2016). Our qualitative content analysis of learner diary entries collected at 4 data points during each exchange is guided by Brown (2017) who sees the goal of developing critical digital literacies as inextricably linked to enabling a greater sense of personal and collective agency among learners, both with and without new technologies to disrupt ‘a world where 1% of humanity controls as much wealth as the bottom 99%’ of the population (Oxfam, 2017). Hence, the challenge with regard for VE lies in addressing not only issues of language in such a way as to avoid linguistic hegemonies, but also in addressing issues of digital literacy in such a way as to overcome technological determinism and to tackle some of the bigger issues confronting the future of humanity.


Alexander, B., Adams Becker, S. & Cummins, M. (2016). Digital Literacy: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief (Vol. 3.3). Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2016-nmc-horizon-strategic-brief-digital-literacy.pdf

Brown, M. (2017). Exploring the Underbelly of Digital Literacies. Retrieved from https://oeb-insights.com/exploring-the-underbelly-of-digital-literacies

O’Dowd, R. & Lewis, T.  (Eds.) (2016). Online Intercultural Exchange: Policy, Pedagogy, Practice. London: Routledge.

Wyburd, J. (2017). Transnational graduates and employability: challenges for HE language departments. In C. Álvarez-Mayo, A. Gallagher-Brett & F. Michel (Eds), Innovative language teaching and learning at university: enhancing employability (pp. 11-19). Retrieved from Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2017.innoconf2016.650

* Hugues Santa Cruz, Esther, and Nolvia Ana Cortez Román (Universidad de Sonora)

Mexican university youth’s identity in social networking sites through English as a Foreign language

In past years, educational policies in Mexico have made both English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and Information Technology (IT) training compulsory at the basic education level, despite the social inequities in both its quality and access. Despite these inequities, young adults in urban settings arrive to the higher education level with higher exposure and knowledge of both English and IT than previous generations, creating a new scenario in which Mexican youth engage in computer mediated communication (CMC) through social networking sites (SNS) using both EFL and their mother tongue. Engaging in new forms of CMC due to their participation in and access to EFL forges new language identities (Norton, 2008; Norton & Toohey, 2011; Block, 2013) as Mexican youth English-Spanish bilingual participants in digital culture.

This research proposal seeks to find answers to the following research questions:

  • How do Mexican university youth construct their identities when participating in SNS through interactions in EFL?
  • What forms of interaction do these students use in SNS?
  • How do these students use EFL in their interactions in SNS?
  • What meanings do these students give to EFL in SNS interactions?

The proposed conceptual framework includes Activity Theory to analyze participation through different forms of interaction in CMC. Within this approach, participants’ identity will be analyzed and conceived as fluid and constructed in linguistic and social interaction-namely EFL use in SNS, viewed as a sociocultural practice (Norton and McKinney, 2011; Lantolf, 2011; Norton, 2013; Lantolf, Thorne & Poehner, 2015).

The proposed research design has two stages: a) Survey to describe the use of SNS through interactions in EFL with the purpose of finding participants for the case study; b) In-depth case study (Stake, 1998; Denzin y Lincoln, 2005) to explore Mexican youth’s identity construction in SNS participation using EFL in their interactions. Online observations and interviews will be carried out.

Preliminary findings point to Mexican youth perceiving SNS as spaces to develop different language competences; and using EFL in different SNS to communicate with other English users around the world.

Key words: Mexican higher education students/ SNS/ English as a foreign language/ identity/ activity theory


Block, D. (2014). Second language identities. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Lantolf, J. P., Thorne, S. L., & Poehner, M. E. (2015). Sociocultural theory and second language development. In VanPatten, B., & Williams, J. (Eds.). Theories in second language acquisition: An introduction, 207-226.

Ibrahim, Karim (Gulf University for Science and Technology)

Equitable Access to L2 Learning and Literacy: A Pedagogical Framework of Digital Game-based Learning

The fast-growing literature on digital game-basedL2 learning suggests that video/digital games hold a great potential for L2 learning and literacy (e.g. Apperley, 2010; Apperley & Beavis, 2011; Allen, Crossley, Snow, & McNamara, 2014; Sundqvist & Wikström, 2015; Scholz & Schulze, 2017; Ryu, 2013; Chik, 2014). The literature demonstrates that the detail-rich 3D virtual worlds, compelling narratives, and immersive special effects of commercial video games can engage L2 learners in active, immersive, and purposeful L2 use (e.g. Vosburg, 2017; Newgarden & Zheng, 2016; Reinders & Wattana, 2015), and that the online gaming communities of practice (Gee, 2004)involve active socialization in new and traditional literacy practices (e.g. Gee, 2008, 2010, 2011; Steinkuehler, 2006, 2008; Steinkuehler & Duncan, 2008; Alexander, 2009; Benson & Chik, 2010). In addition to the L2 learning and literacy potentials that video games afford learners, the equity of access that characterize online gaming affinity spaces (Gee, 2004) renders video gaming a promising platform for equitable and inclusive L2 learning and literacy (e.g. Scholz, 2017; Jensen, 2017; Chik, 2014; Sylvén & Sundqvist, 2012). However, to-date the integration of digital games in L2 learning and teaching contexts remains rather limited (Alyaz & Genc, 2016). A potential cause of this limitation is a lack of a pedagogical framework for utilizing and integrating commercial video games in formal and informal L2 learning and teaching contexts.

To address this gap, the present study will propose a pedagogical framework that addresses the use of commercial video games to promote L2 learning and literacy development in formal and informal contexts. The purpose of the framework is to provide clear and specific guidance to educators in utilizing commercial video games for L2 learning and literacy in ways that maintain the engagement and immersion of the video gaming experience while promoting effective L2 learning and literacy. The framework emphasizes the (a) selection of commercial digital games that are appropriate for L2 learning and literacy; (b) adaptation of commercial video games and/or gaming materials for L2 learning and literacy; and (c) integration of game-based L2 learning and literacy in formal and informal L2 learning and teaching contexts. The study will frame the framework in the existing literature on digital game-based L2 learning and literacy, and discuss the implications of the framework for L2 learning and teaching.


Apperley, T., & Beavis, C. (2011). Literacy into action: Digital games as action and text in the English and literacy classroom. Pedagogies: An International Journal6(2), 130-143.

Alyaz, Y. & Genc, Z. S. (2016). Digital Game-based Language Learning in Foreign Language Teacher Education. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 17(4), 130-146.

Allen, L. K., Crossley, S. A., Snow, E. L., & McNamara, D. S. (2014). L2 writing practice: Game enjoyment as a key to engagement. Language Learning & Technology18(2), 124-150.

Apperley, T. (2010). What games studies can teach us about videogames in the English and Literacy classroom. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy33(1), 12-23.

Alexander, J. (2009). Gaming, student literacies, and the composition classroom: Some possibilities for transformation. College Composition and Communication, 35-63.

Benson, P., & Chik, A. (2010). New literacies and autonomy in foreign language learning. In M. J. Luzón, M. N. Ruiz-Madrid, & M. L. Villanueva (Eds.), Digital genres, new literacies and autonomy in language learning (pp. 63-80). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

Chik, A. (2014). Digital Gaming and Language Learning: Autonomy and Community. Language Learning & Technology, 18(2), 85–100.

Gee, J. P. (2004). Situated Language and Learning: A critique of traditional schooling. New York, NY: Routledge.

Gee, J. P. (2008). Game-like Learning: An example of situated learning and implications for opportunity to learn. In P. Moss, D. Pullin, J. P. Gee, & E. Haertel (Eds.), Assessment and opportunity to learn: New voices, new views. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gee, J. P. (2010). A situated-sociocultural approach to literacy and technology. In E. A. Baker (Ed.), The new literacies: Multiple perspectives on research and practice, 165-193. New York: Guilford Press.

Gee, J. P., Hayes, E., & Hayes, E. R. (2011). Language and learning in the digital age.

Jensen, S. H. (2017). Gaming as an English Language learning resource among young children in Denmark. CALICO Journal34(1), 1-19.

Newgarden, K., & Zheng, D. (2016). Recurrent languaging activities in World of Warcraft: Skilled linguistic action meets the common European framework of reference. ReCALL, 28(3), 274-304.

Reinders, H., & Wattana, S. (2015). Affect and willingness to communicate in digital game-based learning. ReCALL27(1), 38-57.

Ryu, D. (2013). Play to learn, learn to play: Language learning through gaming culture. ReCALL25(2), 286-301.

Sundqvist, P., & Wikström, P. (2015). Out-of-school digital gameplay and in-school L2 English vocabulary outcomes. System51, 65-76.

Scholz, K. (2017). Encouraging Free Play: Extramural Digital Game-based Language Learning as a Complex Adaptive System. CALICO Journal34(1), 39-57.

Scholz, K., & Schulze, M (2017). Digital-gaming Trajectories and Second Language Development. Language Learning and Technology, 21(1), 99-119.

Steinkuehler, C. A. (2006). Massively multiplayer online video gaming as participation in a discourse. Mind, Culture, and Activity13(1), 38-52.

Steinkuehler, C. A. (2008). Cognition and literacy in massively multiplayer online games. In J. Coiro, M. Knobel, C. Lankshear, & D. Leu (Eds.), Handbook of research on new literacies (pp. 611–634). Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum.

Steinkuehler, C., & Duncan, S. (2008). Scientific habits of mind in virtual worlds. Journal of Science Education and Technology17(6), 530-543.

Vosburg, D. (2017). The effect of group dynamics on language learning and use in an MMOG. CALICO Journal, 34(1), 58-74.

Jenkins, Jennifer, and Amy Fatzinger (University of Arizona)

Tribesourcing Midcentury Southwestern U.S. Educational Films

Our project seeks to “tribesource” 60 educational films about the Native peoples of the Southwestern U.S. works from the American Indian Film Gallery, a collection awarded to the University of Arizona in 2011. Most of the films were made in the mid-20th century and reflect mainstream cultural attitudes of the day. Often the narration pronounces meaning that is inaccurate or disrespectful, but the visual narratives are for the most part quite remarkable. At this historical distance, many of these films have come to be understood by both cultural insiders and outside scholars as documentation of cultural practices and lifeways—and, indeed, languages—that are receding as practitioners and speakers pass on. This project seeks to rebalance the historical record, intentionally shifting emphasis from external perceptions of Native peoples to the voices, knowledge, and languages of the peoples represented in the films by participatory recording of new narrations for the films.

Tribesourcing places historical materials with the peoples they represent in order to tell the untold or suppressed story. Each film in this project will be streamed in a Mukurtu-based website with alternate narrations from within the culture in English and in Native languages. This method allows for identification of people, places, practices, vocabulary and stories that might otherwise be lost, as well as providing a rich, community-based metadata record for each film. Taking a small step toward cultural repatriation of content, tribesourcing as a methodology is guided by the Protocols for American Indian Archival Materials (2006).

The project of positioning the American Indian Film Gallery as an interactive, multimedia, multiethnic, and polyvocal resource raises both workaday and theoretical issues, among them the need for Native language presence in the archive as a whole. Informed, intentional practice is essential. Thus, every stage of the project requires consultation and collaboration with our partners in Native Nations. This project seeks to contribute to ongoing efforts to decolonize the archive and restore voice and narrative sovereignty to the people who appear in these films—as agents of their own information rather than subjects of a governmental or corporate agenda. Participation, Equity, and Inclusion are central to this project.

Maggin, Sherry A (United States Military Academy)

Enhancing Regional and Cultural Knowledge through Social Media Collaboration

Through Facebook groups, the social media platform offers the opportunity for students and educators to form a classroom community in the digital world. These digital communities also offer the opportunity to enrich the experience by extending it to include university students participating in study abroad programs. The discussion thread format offered by Facebook groups, the ability to post a variety of media as well as the frequency with which students utilize Facebook in their daily lives make the platform an effective digital tool for this type of collaboration. The study abroad learners, in particular, may act as digital ambassadors and informal mentors for the language students at the home university. A common research project based on the target culture and executed in the Facebook group offers a unique opportunity for all participants. Projects that address cultural and regional dynamics leverage the developing cultural competence and knowledge on the part of the study abroad learners. The students abroad share reflections and observations on the project topic as well as on their overall immersion experience complemented by photos, videos, and links as well as other media. The at-home learners may enhance their own understanding of the project topic and course material through posing questions and making observations on the study abroad students’ posts. The students then continue their digital conversation to explore particular topics and the target culture overall at a deeper level.

This presentation will highlight the Facebook collaboration of study abroad and at-home learners in a university Spanish civilization and culture course where students explored the regional dynamics of Spain. It will discuss the structure and content of the collaboration and include examples of student discussion threads and posts. It will also address the benefits and challenges experienced by participants and the instructor. While the presentation will focus on an advanced-level Spanish course, it will also provide recommendations for using such a collaboration in language courses at a variety of levels.

Reinhardt, Jonathon (University of Arizona)

Gameful L2 learning: The wisdom of the wild

Estimates are that upwards of 2 billion people played vernacular (non-educational) digital games in 2017, with 800 million active players – numbers that increase by the thousands every month (Statista, 2018). Games are produced by thousands of designers in scores of countries in dozens of languages, albeit usually the top 25 or so. Avid gamers thus often play in languages not their own, leveraging their gaming literacies to play (e.g. Chik, 2014). Others whose language is available recognize that the language of many globally marketed titles can be switched into other top languages, perhaps an L2 they’d like to learn or practice. Unfortunately, when gamers ask their L2 instructors if there are games to learn the L2, they are sometimes confronted with blank stares or warnings to avoid exposure to the vernacular, non-academic language with which commercial digital games are rife. Because of the widespread availability of L2 learning resources in the wilds of the Internet, gamers then may turn to social media for advice.

The digital presentation will outline a descriptive study that surveys this online advice and compares it to findings and recommended practices in gameful CALL (Sykes & Reinhardt, 2012; Reinders, 2012; Reinhardt, in press). A preliminary analysis of 145 posts on Reddit and Quora from 2014-2016 showed that, based on their own experiences, users recommend a wide variety of vernacular game titles and genres for L2 learning – anything that affords casual and enjoyable language use. They recommend playing games at the right proficiency level whose rules are not too unfamiliar, and that include a lot of language use and features offering time to read, re-read, listen, and re-listen. They suggest using subtitles, mimicking voices, referring to dictionaries, creating vocabulary lists, leveraging related media, and interacting with other players. These findings are evidence that the “the wisdom of the wild” is remarkably sound and aligned with research, and that digital gaming literacies are participatory, multifarious, and everyday (Reinhardt & Thorne, in press). Broader implications are that, in contrast to many formal L2 pedagogical practices, extramural informal L2 learning practices are self-directed, non-standardized, and heterogeneous, even as they may be intentional and effective.


Chik, A. (2014). Digital gaming and language learning: Autonomy and community. Language Learning and Technology, 18(2), pp. 85-100.

Reinders, H. (2012). Digital games in language learning and teaching. Palgrave-Macmillan.

Reinhardt, J. (in press). Gameful L2TL: A guide to digital gaming in second and foreign language teaching and learning. Palgrave-Macmillan.

Reinhardt, J. & Thorne, S. (in press). Digital literacies as emergent multifarious repertoires. In Arnold, N. & Ducate, L. (eds.), Engaging Language Learners through CALL: From theory and research to informed practice. Equinox.

Statista (2018). Number of active video gamers worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in millions). Downloaded August 15, 2018 from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/748044/number-video-gamers-world/

Sykes, J. & Reinhardt, J. (2012). Language at Play: Digital Games in Second and Foreign Language Teaching and Learning. Pearson.

* Schaefer, Rodrigo (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)

Interculturality in Teletandem sessions

Recently, the development of an intercultural approach in language teaching and learning is associated with new fluid ways of understanding languages and cultures (Canagarajah, 2007). Among the many scholars who advocate the inclusion of an intercultural approach in foreign language learning, it should be mentioned Kramsch (1993; 1998; 2005; 2013), for whom the principal aim of this approach is to provide “[…] an awareness and a respect of difference, as well as the socio-affective capacity to see oneself through the eyes of others” (2005, p.553). The understanding of how interculturality is constructed in telecollaborative models has received much attention by scholars such as O’Dowd (2003; 2006) and Ware and Kramsch (2005). O’Dowd (2013) defines telecollaboration as “[…] the application of online communication tools to bring together classes of language learners in geographically distant locations to develop their foreign language skills and intercultural competence through collaborative tasks and project work” (2013, p.123). A model of telecollaboration is Teletandem, which is run in Brazil and defined by Vassalo (2009) as individual videoconferencing or interaction between a pair of interactants (language learners). They have the interest of learning, in an autonomous way, the mother tongue -or language of proficiency -of her/his respective partner.

The objective of this presentation is to discuss whether interculturality emerged in Teletandem sessions. With a view to achieving this objective, I will analyze a culture-related episode regarding a partnership between an interactant of an American university and an interactant of a Brazilian university. In addition to the Teletandem sessions, experience reports written by the interactant of the Brazilian university and intermediation sessions, which happened amongst the Brazilian interactants and the teacher-intermediator soon after the Teletandem sessions, will be taken into considering for interpretation purposes. The outcomes of this ongoing study have shown that the intermediation sessions were very relevant for the purpose of promoting further reflections on specific issues that had been addressed in a shallow way during the Teletandem sessions. The results have also pointed out that the presence of the teacher-intermediator has been of utmost importance for the deconstruction of solid cultural representations.


Canagarajah, A. (2007). Lingua franca English, multilingual communities, and language acquisition. The Modern Language Journal, 91, 923-939. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4781.2007.00678.x

Kramsch, C. (1993). Context and culture in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kramsch, C. (1998). Language and culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kramsch, C. (2005). Post 9/11: Foreign languages between knowledge and power. Applied Linguistics, 26(4), 545-567.

Kramsch, C. (2013). Culture in foreign language teaching. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 1(1), 57-78.

O’Dowd, R. (2003). Understanding “the other side”: Intercultural learning in a Spanish–English e-mail exchange. Language Learning &Technology, 7, 118–144.

O’Dowd, R. (2006). The Use of Videoconferencing and E-mail as Mediators of Intercultural Student Ethnography. In: J.A Blez and S. Thorne (eds). Internet-mediated intercultural Foreign Language Education. Boston MA: Heinle and Heinle. (pp. 86-120).

O’Dowd, R. (2013). Telecollaboration and CALL. In M. Thomas, H. Reindeers, & M. Warschauer (Eds.), Contemporary computer-assisted language learning (p.123–141). London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Vassallo, M. L. (2009). Teletandem ou tandem tele-presencial? In: João Telles. (Org.). Teletandem: Um contexto virtual, autônomo e colaborativo para a aprendizagem de línguas estrangeiras no século XXI. Campinas: Pontes, v. , p. 185-197.

Ware, P. D.; Kramsch, C. (2005). Toward an intercultural stance: Teaching German and English through telecollaboration. Modern Language Journal, 89(2), (190-205).

* Smith, Blaine E. (University of Arizona), Mark B. Pacheco (University of Florida), and Mariia Khorosheva (University of Arizona)

A Systematic Review of Multimodal Composing in Multilingual Secondary Classrooms: Main Themes and Future Areas for Exploration

With the growing linguistic diversity in today’s classrooms, recent scholarship has begun to explore how multilingual students can use the full range of their linguistic repertoires when composing. At the same time, conceptions of writing have expanded to include multiple modes (e.g., text, images, sound, and movement) and digital environments. Addressing these tandem needs, a growing field of scholarship examines multimodal composing in secondary multilingual classrooms. This presentation is a systematic literature review of research at the intersection of these fields, including a descriptive overview of the types of studies (e.g., contexts, methodology, multimodal products), main themes in findings across studies, ways multimodal composing is scaffolded in classrooms, and future areas for exploration.

The following questions guided our literature review: 1) What are the main themes across the empirical research on multimodal composing and bi/multilingual adolescents? 2) What are future areas of exploration for understanding and supporting bi/multilingual adolescents’ multimodal composing processes? To address these questions, studies were located using three search strategies. First, electronic searches were conducted in databases. Second, peer-reviewed literacy and technology journals were manually reviewed. Third, reference lists of collected studies on multimodal research were mined for other compatible studies. In total, 98 studies met the inclusion criteria and qualitatively coded to address the guiding questions.

We will present the main themes in findings across the 98 studies, including how multimodal composing in multilingual secondary classrooms is described to promote collaboration and identity expression. Numerous studies emphasize how multimodal projects offer students multiple points of entry for leveraging their cultural and linguistic backgrounds, as well as provide a platform for exploring relevant social and personal issues. A handful of studies explore the academic learning potential of infusing multimodal composing in the classroom and how bi/multilingual adolescents are able to compose across multiple modes and languages for different purposes. Building on these main themes, future directions for research and practice will be discussed.

* Staples, Shelley, and Jeroen Gevers (University of Arizona)

Multi-modality in the Corpus and Repository of Writing (Crow)

The New London Group (1996) emphasized the fact that meaning-making is multi-modal, including textual, linguistic, visual, audio, gestural, and spatial elements. While traditional second language (L2) academic writing courses and research on (L2) academic writing has focused primarily on the linguistic and textual elements of communication, multi-modal composing is an increasingly important part of all academic courses. There is also evidence that multimodal composition may have a positive impact on language development for L2 writers (see, e.g., Vandommele, Van den Branden, Van Gorp, and De Maeyer, 2017). First year writing courses in the U.S., which aim to prepare students for the writing and other modes of communication that they use in their later college years and beyond, have begun to integrate multimodal composing into the more traditional writing context. In this talk, we describe the use of multimodal texts in the Corpus and Repository of Writing (Crow), an inter-institutional, interdisciplinary project that collects texts from L2 writers of English in first year writing courses, including ways in which the L2 writers use multi-modality to understand how language changes across contexts (e.g., modes or registers), express their identities, and explore their multilingualism. We also discuss the ways in which we are documenting the multimodal elements of the student texts (e.g., images/videos/emojis) for use in corpus-based analyses. We invite discussion from participants as to alternative ways to represent multimodality and quantitatively and qualitatively analyze texts.


The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review66(1), 60-93.

Vandommele, G., Van den Branden, K., Van Gorp, K., De Maeyer, S. (2017). In-school and out-of-school multimodal writing as an L2 writing resource for beginner learners of Dutch. Journal of Second Language Writing, 36, 23-36

* Uzum, Baburhan (Sam Houston State University), Bedrettin Yazan (The University of Alabama), Sedat Akayoglu (Abant Izzet Baysal University), and Netta Avineri (Middlebury Institute of International Studies)

"What holidays do people celebrate there?”: Language of inclusion and exclusion in an intercultural virtual exchange project for preservice teachers

The present study aims to contribute to the knowledge-base of intercultural competence (IC) in teacher education by incorporating an intercultural virtual exchange (IVE) engagement between ESL teacher candidates at a US university and EFL teacher candidates at a Turkish university. The research question addressed is: How do preservice teachers (PTs) discursively negotiate their beliefs and ideas about multicultural and social justice issues in an IVE project?

Informed by the Intercultural Competence theoretical perspective by Byram (2008), the study explored how PTs develop IC through IVE, as an example of intercultural intervention (Jackson, 2018) that focuses on cultural and educational topics in the US and Turkish educational contexts. PTs in these universities engaged in weekly discussions in Fall 2015, exploring such topics as gender, socioeconomic status, religion, (in)equity in education, and other educational considerations in their contexts. Following their discussions, PTs interviewed each other to learn more about their partner’s cultural identity and reflected on this experience.

The findings indicated that the particular language PTs used had an impact on discussing multicultural and social justice issues in their contexts. In the synchronous and asynchronous conversations, PTs made discourse choices, capturing culture(s) and communities as generic, specific, multiple, or single, and engaged on critical topics in different ways based on the topic and platform. When culture was referred to as generic in framing questions (e.g., What holidays do people celebrate there?), marginalized/minority groups were lost in these representations. In addition, critical conversations were less likely to take place in the synchronous video conferences compared to the asynchronous discussions. Given the immediacy and language demand of the synchronous exchanges, PTs did not want to be misunderstood and leave a negative impression. The asynchronous discussions provided more room for critical conversations as PTs had more time to formulate their thoughts and edit their entries. The implications include a call for focusing on language in IVE projects. Teacher educators should promote and demonstrate language that captures culture(s) and communities as specific, multiple, and ever-changing, and should equip PTs with strategies to explore multicultural and social justice topics adopting such language.


Byram, M. (2008). From foreign language education to education for intercultural citizenship. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Jackson, J. (2018). Interculturality in international education. New York: Routledge.​

* Wilson, Hope (The Ohio State University)

Guiding students’ online cultural and language exploration

The Internet has transformed the ways that language learners can engage with target languages and target cultures. The boundless connectivity of the web means that foreign language learners are no longer restricted by geography from independently accessing languacultural (Agar, 1994) resources. This opens access to all individuals who want to learn foreign languages, but most notably those students who, for reasons of physical or financial hardship, are unable to physically travel to geographic locations where the target language is spoken.

Yet online interaction is distinct from face-to-face interaction in many ways. Online interactions are comparatively decontextualized, with cues such as prosody and facial expressions absent; interactions can be brief and sporadic; social information about interactants is limited. The barriers to establishing intersubjectivity between interlocutors are formidable. And if intercultural competence depends on empathy and recognition of others’ humanity (Byram, 1997; Deardorff, 2006) then how can intercultural understanding occur in an online environment? Furthermore, if sociolinguistic acquisition depends on being exposed to a variety of contexts, then can sociolinguistic forms be acquired online?

Authors such as Ware & Kramsch (2005) and O’Dowd & Ritter (2006) have argued that it is particularly important to provide robust support and guidance for students as they navigate the online environment in order to help them avoid regression in cultural attitudes and support the acquisition of sociolinguistic forms. The study discussed here explores a project-learning program designed to productively guide students through online exploration. Students in an intensive summer Russian language and culture program participate in a four-week online workshop training them in theories of culture, particularly post-modern theories of culture, in which they analyze their own cultural identities and performances. Following this workshop, the students carry out an online exploration of a Russian-language speech community, taking an ethnographic stance towards their data as they analyze and reflect on the speech community’s practices. They are asked to pay particular attention to sociolinguistic variables and their relationship to cultural performance. Longitudinal data are used to measure the students’ intercultural and sociolinguistic development to examine whether this intervention is effective for supporting their growth in languacultural awareness.


Agar, M. (1994). Language shock: understanding the culture of conversation. New York: William Morrow & Co.

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon;

Philadelphia; Toronto; Sydney; Johannesburg: Multilingual Matters.

Deardorff, D. K. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10(3), 241–266. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315306287002

O’Dowd, R., & Ritter, M. (2006). Understanding and working with “failed communication” in

telecollaborative exchanges. CALICO Journal, 23(3), 623–642.

Ware, P. D., & Kramsch, C. (2005). Toward an intercultural stance: teaching German and English through telecollaboration. The Modern Language Journal, 89(2), 190–205. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2005.00274.x

* Winans, Michael D. (Arizona State University)

Ensuring Polite Email Requests: Simplifying the Syntax

This study examines email requests students make of their instructor in first year composition (FYC) classrooms and compares two populations: the mainstream (MS) FYC classroom and the multilingual (ML) FYC classroom. Request Head Acts were analyzed for syntactic modifiers which serve to mitigate the directness of a request, affecting the perception of politeness, with Biesenbach-Lucas’s (2007) adaptation of the Cross-Cultural Study of Speech Act Realization Patterns Coding Manual (Blum-Kulka, House, & Kasper, 1989). 66 Head Acts were analyzed from 50 emails. The results were that syntactic modifiers were not used by the ML FYC students to make email requests. The MS FYC students did use each of the syntactic modifiers – Past Tense 39%, Grammatical Progressive Aspect 23%, Embeddedness 45%, and a composition of these modifiers 35% – while composing email requests. These results suggest the need for explicit instruction for multilingual English learners on the topic of how to compose a polite email request.

Bardovi-Harlig & Stringer (2017) promote the use of high-frequency expressions to drive the acquisition of syntactic structures, and this study presents a prominent lexical shell that was utilized often by MS FYC students when making requests of their professor. The request employed the three syntactic modifiers in concert and is a simple, easy-to-teach method that ensures politeness in email requests. Teaching this construction could help ML English learners use syntactic modifications for politeness and assist them in composing polite emails.

Email remains a primary mode of communication between students and their professors. This is not just important in the classroom, but is a transferable skill that becomes useful in a globalized world as this population accomplishes goals and solves problems. As social actors, itis important that they complete their tasks and reach their goals “appropriately by taking into account the sociocultural context” (emphasis in original; Economidou-Kogetsidis, 2015). Teaching the presented lexical shell to ML English learners is a quick and simple step that helps to ensure requests are made without added social detriment due to any perceived missteps.

Keywords: Politeness, e-politeness, syntactic modifiers, multilingual email, computer mediated communication (CMC)


Bardovi-Harlig, K., & Stringer, D. (2017). Unconventional expressions: Productive syntax in the L2 acquisition of formulaic language. Second Language Research, 33(1), 61-90.

Biesenbach-Lucas, S. (2006). Making requests in email: Do cyber-consultations entail directness? Toward conventions in a new medium. In K. Bardovi-Harlig, J. C. Félix-Brasdefer, & A. Omar (Eds.), Pragmatics and language learning (pp. 81-108). Honolulu, HI: Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center, University of Hawai’i.

Biesenbach-Lucas, S. (2007). Students writing emails to faculty: An examination of e-politeness among native and non-native speakers of English. Language Learning & Technology, 11(2), 59-81.

Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G. (1989). The CCSARP coding manual. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, & G. Kasper (Eds.), Cross-cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies (pp. 273-294). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Economidou-Kogetsidis, M. (2011). “Please answer me as soon as possible”: Pragmatic failure in non-native speakers’ e-mail requests to faculty. Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 3193-3215.

Economidou-Kogetsidis, M. (2015). Teaching email politeness in the EFL/ESL classroom. ELT Journal Advance Access, published May 26, 1-10.

Gelderen, E. van (2017). Syntax: An introduction to minimalism. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Shim, Y. (2013). International faculty perceptions of requestive emails by Korean university students. Multimedia-Assisted Language Learning, 16(47), 111-131.

Zhu, W. (2012). Polite requestive strategies in emails: An investigation of pragmatic competence of Chinese EFL learners. RELC Journal, 43(2), 217-238.

Withers, Elizabeth (Portland State University)

A Theoretical Approach to Understanding the Relationship between Digital Equity and Health Equity

Digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) are becoming more essential for accessing important resources such as employment, housing, social support, and health information and services. However, many experience barriers to accessing digital ICTs which can lead to total or partial digital exclusion. This may pose a significant problem as many of these resources which are increasingly accessed (in some cases exclusively) through the digital field are closely related to health outcomes. The proposed presentation for the Participation, Equity, and Inclusion L2 Digital Literacies (L2DL) Symposium would present a theoretical approach to understanding the relationship between access to digital ICTs and health outcomes. Patterns of digital access may impact patterns of health outcomes as both are shaped by existing patterns of social exclusion. The proposed presentation will employ Van Dijk’s (2005) multiple access model in order to consider the full range of digital access, as it exists in terms of motivation, physical and material, skills, and usage, access. Drawing on the works of Pierre Bourdieu (1986), I situate Van Dijk’s multiple access points in what can be understood as the “digital field” and construct a framework for understanding digital inequality as rooted in the disproportionate distribution of capital. Bourdieu’s theory of the social reproduction of class inequality is a useful framework for understanding how digital access is shaped by existing structural inequalities as well as how access to digital ICTs may impact one’s ability to access vital resources per the accumulation of capital within the digital field. Further, while the relationship between digital access and health outcomes has received quite a bit of attention from researchers, much of the existing literature focuses on proximal mechanisms. In contrast, this presentation will employ fundamental cause theory (Link and Phelan 1995) to highlight a range of possible (proximal and distal) pathways through which digital access may impact health outcomes.


Bourdieu, Pierre and Jean Claude Passeron. 1977. Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London; Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, Print.

Link, Bruce G., and Jo Phelan. 1995. “Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Disease.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 80-94.

Van Dijk, Jan A.G.M. 2005. The Deepening Divide: Inequality in the Information Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

This event is funded by a grant from the US Department of Education that supports the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL) and organized with the Technology-Enhanced Language Learning Initiative. It is sponsored by the College of HumanitiesCollege of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Program, and other units at the University of Arizona.

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