We are living in the globalization era, and the vast diversity of digital media available to us entails that we can interact with each other regardless of what part of the world we call home. This requires more of us than simply being able to connect; we must develop what UNESCO terms intercultural competences – including the ability to “decipher other cultures in fair and meaningful ways” (UNESCO, 2013, p. 4). Developing digital competence constitutes an essential part of developing intercultural competences, which everyone needs in a continuously shrinking world.
Schools serve as an important arena in this respect, and teaching methods can benefit greatly from all the media and online spaces available for intercultural encounters. UNESCO highlights virtual meetings as important steps in developing intercultural competences, i.e. interaction “with cultural “others” with a view to bridging differences, defusing conflicts and setting the foundations for peaceful coexistence” (op. cit., p. 6). Thus, the importance of facilitating authentic meetings with young people from other cultures cannot be underestimated in the classroom. Language skills and communicative competence are also essential, particularly English, the lingua franca on the internet.
With such a well-kitted digital toolbox available to teachers and students today, it would be interesting to learn more about what kind of intercultural projects other master’s students have implemented in their classrooms? How have you and your students connected with other parts of the world with the purpose of developing digital, intercultural and language competences? In other words, how have you contributed to internationalization of schooling?
Carmody, Courtney. He’s got the whole world in his hands. Downloaded 29 February 2016. Online image. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/calamity_photography/4745146362/
UNESCO. (2013). Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002197/219768e.pdf