A SOCIO-CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH TO ENHANCING STUDENTS’ LEARNING AND PARTICIPATION IN THE GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING PROJECT

A. Nazarenko, L. Sizykh, V. Fandei

Moscow State University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
Global Understanding Course is a world-wide cross-cultural university project via videoconferencing involving about 40 universities from 28 nations. It is aimed at students’ meeting their partners from different countries to learn from them about their native cultures. This sort of socio-cultural knowledge is extremely important for successful communication in a global world community.
To enhance students’ preparation for their participation in video links with their partners from various universities of the world (Global Understanding Project) the attempt was made at Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia) to introduce the principles of social constructivism in the learning process. The modified didactic approach presupposed active and collaborative learning of students, which was achieved by introducing students’ group work on cultural projects. To stimulate student’s interest and improve their performance in the course a “voice forum” ( a Web 2.0 tool Voxopop) was incorporated. A specially created supporting site to be used as a resource for preparation also served this purpose.
The results achieved showed noticeably improved students’ performance and positive changes in attitudes.