Cross-Cultural Hypermedia Website Project

Project Coordinators:

Christer Morheden, HLK, Jonkoping, Sweden
Jamie Myers, Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania

Goals:

To increase participants' understanding of global cultures, to generate a more critical perspective on the language and media used to participate in one's own culture, to extend the interpretation of literature into life experience, and to increase knowledge of the English language through a purposeful communicative project.

Participants:

Four classes of students ranging from undergraduate to graduate students located in:

Jonkoping, Sweden
Teacher: Jamie Myers

State College, Pennsylvania
Teacher: Mauricio Molina

Norfolk, Virginia
Teacher: Larry Ferguson

Taejon, Korea
Teachers: Kiwan Sung and Rod Pederson

Curricular Plan:

The students will communicate using the web-based classroom tool Ping-Pong. This allows students to see pictures of all participants, email and instant message, upload and download project files, and view collaborative projects on-line. The number of face-to-face class meetings is flexible and can be determined at each site to facilitate the small groups' web authoring activities. Each small group inquires into a unique idea or theme from the novel, and represents their thinking about that idea as it is important in their own culture and lives. A final class web-site is created by the instructors as the opening page for the larger cross-cultural web site project.

Specific Activities:

1. Students read the novel In Country. Post introductory information to ping-pong website.

2. WHOLE CLASS MEETING: Students brainstorm ideas and themes of significance in the novel. (For example: family relationships, segregation and difference, value for education, loss of parent, crossing race and class boundaries, teen female identity, public memory of conflict, extended family, etc.)

3. Instructors compare class lists of ideas and formulate groups across sites on common themes. Students discuss their ideas using pingpong.

4. Individual students explore their theme in their own culture. They look for pictures, movies, music, magazines, texts, art, everyday activities and language that is popular or important in their culture. They digitize and explain a collection of these "multimedia texts" in their own individual webpage.

5. Students upload their webpage to PingPong for sharing.

6. Participants view partners' webpages and use electronic communication to co-author an introductory page for each theme idea. In this introductory page, the members for that theme compare the similarities and differences of the theme across their cultures, and make links to their individual webpages. This page includes their conversations from the discussion area of pingpong.

7. Upload the theme introductory pages.

8. Instructors upload the cross-cultural web-site introduction page that has links to the small group introductory pages and web sites.

9. WHOLE CLASS MEETING: Students share their website projects and discuss the ideas explored, language learned, and new understandings about their own and other cultures.

10. Small groups revise if desired and upload in pingpong any changes to their group web-site.

11. Cross-cultural web-site is published on the PSU education server.