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The International Virtual Exchange Project: Online opportunities for English communication and cultural acclimatization
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many educational institutions online, creating a greater need for online communication tools to aid the learning experience. Beginning in 2015, the International Virtual Exchange (IVE), spanning almost 20,000 students and 400 teachers from 20 countries, can fulfil this requirement. The IVE provides an international setting for students to communicate using English as the lingua franca and thus utilizing what they have learned in other language learning settings. Participants also become more culturally acclimatized through real interactions with the participants from other cultures. This poster presentation will show how easy it is for students to participate in the IVE and how they can be monitored and assessed by their teachers through the customized Moodle forum. The presenter will also display other devices (PC, tablet, smartphone) to show the student view and operability. Results showing improvement in students' understanding of their own culture and appreciation of other cultures will be outlined. The IVEProject, sponsored by a Japanese government grant-in-aid for scientific research, is free of charge to participants and easy to join. Finally, information on how teachers and their classes and institution can participate in the future will be detailed.
Matt Cotter, formerly a primary school teacher in NZ, currently lectures at Hokusei Gakuen University Junior College in Sapporo, Japan. He holds undergraduate degrees in Maori Studies and Psychology and a Diploma of Primary Teaching. After moving to Japan and making Sapporo his home, he completed a Master of Education specializing in TESOL. His research interests include CALL and CLIL based approaches to learning content in English, in particular, intercultural communication, sport and also indigenous language and culture. He has been a member of the International Virtual Exchange Project since its implementation and is part of the research team. He can be contacted at <email@example.com>.