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Unformatted text preview: Cross- and Multi-cultural Contexts for E-learning –Challenges and Opportunities for the E-tutor Abstract: This paper will examine the opportunities and the challenges offered by cross- and multi-cultural e-learning. We explore the research on the potential cultural impact of the computer in the classroom, teaching within multicultural classrooms and across cultures. Part of the presentation will also focus on the recent experiences of the eTUTOR team as it has set up and is presently delivering synchronous e- learning across cultures. The project spans the following five European institutions in the following countries: Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; INSA de Lyon, France; UPM Madrid, Spain; University of Thessaloniki, Greece; and University of York, in the UK. Each partner is in the process of exploring a range of e-learning environments and delivery styles specifically in relation to multicultural, synchronous and collaborative situations. Introduction In 2000 the OECD found that a teacher’s knowledge base is very rich in personal, hands-on know- how but much less so in terms of a shared, codified knowledge (OECD, 2000). We would argue that the emerging role of e-tutor in recent years will move teaching beyond being a rich and deep profession and into a wider more connected community. The benefits of this process are clear but at the same time e- tutoring will challenge us to find optimal ways to teach globally. E-tutoring will merge traditionally separate areas of teaching across cultures and within classrooms of one culture which in turn are increasingly multicultural. In this paper we examine the literature and the experiences of the eTUTOR team and make recommendations for using technology for students from a variety of backgrounds in one class and also for teaching across cultures. Does the computer have a culture? UNESCO, through its Educational Sector Programme, seeks to take into account the organisations concern to both protect and enhance cultural diversity world wide especially in the face of the increasingly global digital economy. While the new technology brings us closer together and creates better possibilities for understanding and exchange, at the same time we risk losing the richness and uniqueness of our cultural identities (2001, p.3). Is the use of ICT in education culturally neutral or is there a 'culture of the computer' which affects both teachers and learners? Logan and Sachs (1992) argue that the nature of the relationship is interactive. On one hand, technicist practice can be reinforced by imposing on all students dominant educational beliefs to the extent that cultural and personal differences are denied. On the other, social and cultural reflexivity can be initiated by ICT, thus allowing the background and experience of students to underlying the creation and delivery of computer programs. Logan (1998) later proposed that present day students (in Australia) are so familiar with ICTs and popular culture that their society is a global and pluralistic one rather than one...
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- Spring '10
- The Land, Educational technology, eTUTOR team