This article seeks to address three points. First, we explain the significant increase in school use of collaborative software resulting from four key drivers: the speed at which social software has been embraced by young people outside school and its adoption by educators in more formal school settings; the push to develop “knowledge construction skills” that are relevant to a knowledge-based economy; exposure of more pupils to access a wider curriculum; and, the promotion of intercultural education through citizenship. It is the fourth issue (i.e., the promotion of intercultural education through citizenship) that serves as the focus of this article and its examination in a critical way of the evidence that young people, communicating online, may achieve worthwhile learning outcomes and on what it takes for teachers to develop effective learning experiences. Second, the paper considers the research that sustains the importance of basing inter-school work on theoretical models of learning and contact; the most frequently used learning models derive from the application of “communities of practice” and “knowledge-building networks.” In the case of intercultural education through citizenship, use has been made in some projects of the “contact hypothesis” to identify the conditions under which contact between groups might have the best chance of success. This paper offers a critique of evidence from Hartley (2007), Ligorio (2005), Ligorio and Van Keen (2006) Grant (2006) Shonfeld (2006) and Austin (2006) and concludes that successful work derives from a new paradigm which draws on theoretical models in both education and social psychology. Third, and finally, the paper discusses the implications of collaborative software and the theoretical models of learning presented in terms of pedagogy and learning outcomes and offers comments on the potentially disruptive impact of this approach on learning.
|Journal||International Journal of Information Communication and Technology Education (IJICTE),|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2008|