Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 365-372
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Students who avail of an Erasmus mobility gain invaluable experience in an international environment. The period abroad is a unique opportunity for personal, linguistic and cultural development. However, studying in a partner institution comes with its many challenges. As well as dealing with academic matters and day to day living, students need to make a new circle of friends. Preparation prior to departure undoubtedly contributes to the success of the study abroad period. Nevertheless, the language they learn in an academic setting only partly equips them to communicate with their peers in the foreign country. Slang expressions and colloquialism are widely used among young adults. A lack of familiarity with this register of language can hamper the development of new relationships.

This project was developed with a group of students in the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. The Erasmus mobility is a compulsory element of their programme of study. The project aims to support students prior to their departure by helping them to gain an insight into the colloquialisms used by their French counterparts. The approach is innovative on two accounts. Firstly, it harnesses the potential of peer learning by drawing on the cohort of French Erasmus students who are on an exchange with the Institute. These students are an invaluable resource for full-time students on the programme who often find it intimidating to approach and engage in conversation with their foreign peers. Secondly, the project is innovative in that it requires students to produce their own learning resources by creating a digital story. Digital storytelling is increasingly popular. Among other advantages, it has the power to engage students in their learning and it equips them with a valuable set of digital literacy skills. Digital storytelling in this project is also a vehicle to encourage students to meet their French peers, establish a dialogue with them, provide them with a topic of conversation and learn new terminology. The project is an exploration of how the integration of digital storytelling with peer learning can lead to language learning and contribute to student engagement.
Digital storytelling, Erasmus mobility, peer learning, language learning, French, student engagement.