A Virtual Environment for Cultural and Linguistic Inclusivity: Teaching in a Global Environment

Dr Richard Johnson,
Dr Paul Nicholson
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The Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia) operational policy on 'International and Culturally Inclusive Curricula' states that Deakin will incorporate international/intercultural perspectives and inclusive pedagogies into its courses in order to prepare all students to perform capably, ethically and sensitively in international, multicultural, professional and social contexts.

This paper is about a specific project to internationalise the teacher education curriculum through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). This project is scoped in the context of the UNESCO thrust of 'Education for All' in agreeing that inclusive societies begin with inclusive education practices. In our view current strategies have been insufficient to ensure that marginalized and excluded children receive access to their right to education.

The project aims to operationalise part of the UNESCO Dakar Framework for high quality learning environments by responding to ‘…the diverse needs and circumstances of learners and giving appropriate weight to the abilities, skills and knowledge they bring to the teaching and learning process’ by minimising language acquisition barriers that can otherwise impede effective communication and learning.

In addition, we need to be mindful of the marginalisation of people from non-English speaking backgrounds and therefore, in this initiative we use ICT to bridge the 'tyranny of distance' and offer a curriculum that values cultural and linguistic diversity.

In this paper we will discuss how we intend to develop these project principles. In particular we will indicate our plans to use relatively low cost, accessible software to develop a virtual environment where students can enter text in their native language, view foreign language text in their native language, hear text in their own language and automatically encode text into MP3 files and attach the files to messages.

Keywords: Cultural and Linguistic Inclusivity, Internationalising the Curriculum, Computers in Education, ICT in Teacher Education
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Virtual Environment for Cultural and Linguistic Inclusivity, A

Dr Richard Johnson

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Deakin University

Dr Richard Johnson has taught in primary and secondary schools in India and Australia and currently teaches undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the Faculty of Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. He is actively involved in promoting classroom-based research. He coordinated the collaborative school based research study ‘Computers and Learning in Primary Schools’ (CLIPS) in which university and school teachers investigated the use of computers to promote better learning. Richard’s Ph.D. study was on teacher professional development and using computers to promote metacognition. Online learning and teaching and teacher professional development have been the focus of his recent work. Richard’s curriculum interests include preparing teacher education undergraduates to make the transition to entering the profession and using ICT in the context of internationalising the curriculum.

Dr Paul Nicholson

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Deakin University

Dr Paul Nicholson lectures in the Education Studies Major program Unit, Creating Effective Learning Environments which are safe, supportive, challenging, engaging and inclusive. Paul also lectures in the use of Information Technology in Education. This is not about technology, but rather, about how technology can be used to support and enhance effective pedagogical practices, create specific types of learning environments, act as catalysts of curriculum change, and facilitate transformative curricula and pedagogy. Paul also coordinates the Masters program in ICT in Education which is fully online. Paul’s research interests have recently focused largely on the pedagogical use of ICT in facilitating quality learning by supporting and enhancing pedagogical practices, particularly in online environments. Paul's current research foci are 'at the intersection of theory and practice' : the development of online
collaborative learning environment models, agent-based cognitive scaffolding of online learning, development of models of expert pedagogy in online environments, and evaluating the efficacy of Western curriculum and pedagogical models in online-learning in non-western cultures. He is actively engaged in the international scholarly community and has recently been appointed to the chair of an international expert group focusing on educational research on ICT in Education.

Ref: T06P0329