INFLUENCE OF ROLE PRESCRIPTION AND PERCEPTION ON COLLABORATIVE TASKS IN SECOND LIFE

Abstract : The SLIC project (Second Life Interculturel) grew from the research objective of enlarging the investigation into the affordances of synthetic worlds, e.g. Second Life (SL), for language learning (Henderson et al, 2009; Molka-Danielsen et al, 2007; Roed, 2003) to incorporate the affordances such environments also offer for the development of intercultural communicative competences. Although some studies have addressed this problematic (Diehl & Prins, 2008; Corder & U, 2010), this research area remains largely unexplored with respect to synthetic worlds, despite detailed studies into other online environments (Audras & Chanier, 2008; Belz, 2002; Furstenberg, 2001). In this context, in Autumn 2011, 14 students from Université Blaise Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand, France) enrolled in a Master's programme in French language teaching using ICT were involved in collaborative tasks in SL with 21 advanced-level undergraduate students of French from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburg, United States). For all SLIC participants, the main objective was the development of intercultural communicative competences through collaborative tasks for which SL has previously been forwarded as an innovative environment (Lee, 2009). The learning design aimed to provide the undergraduate students with an opportunity to improve their French skills with native speakers. For the Master's students, SLIC also represented an opportunity to experience distance language teaching. Hence, one of the students was given the task to lead and moderate each collaborative session in SL. After a SL introductory session, five ninety-minute sessions took place in SL with small groups of students (two Master's students and three undergraduates). Each session consisted of a discussion on a cultural theme linked to the undergraduate course. Each group was asked to collaborate in order to produce a document in SL (text, slide shows, pictures…) that summarised the content of the exchange. Moodle was also used as a resource platform and for asynchronous exchanges. Based on the analysis of some of the data collected during the project (SL video recordings, questionnaires, chat logs, activity on Moodle, reflective reports…), our presentation will focus on the roles of the Master's degree students. We consider this aspect as pertinent since previous studies have suggested that the way participants consider their roles affects interactions and task completion (Dejean-Thircuir & Mangenot 2006; Hampel & Stickler, 2005). This research question is placed within a wider research context in which we investigate and try to measure the gap between prescription, perception and realization of a task, referring to Tricot (1998). Thus, we apply these three notions to the concept of role. Our hypothesis is, firstly, that there is a gap between the role given by the project coordinator, the students' perception of their role and the role they actually adopted during the sessions and, secondly, that this gap influences the collaborative nature, or not, of the exchanges. A wider objective of our research direction is to suggest some recommendations to teachers and coordinators concerning the design of collaborative tasks with an intercultural dimension in synthetic worlds and how to reduce the gaps related to roles and tasks between what is prescribed and what actually happens during the interactions
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Aurélie Bayle. INFLUENCE OF ROLE PRESCRIPTION AND PERCEPTION ON COLLABORATIVE TASKS IN SECOND LIFE. Eurocall, Sep 2013, Evora, Portugal. ⟨edutice-01122428⟩

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