Università del Salento (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 1967-1976
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Intercultural communication and education are important topics that are gaining prominence in many fields of study. Given the likely increase in intercultural interaction over global computer networks, intersection area between intercultural studies and new communication and information technologies merits study. How successful is intercultural communication in cyberspace? Intercultural education can take advantage of new technologies. In this article, an online Laboratorio of Interculture is presented that has demonstrated important successes in promoting intercultural education and an appreciation for pedagogical and student diversity. In the Italian tradition the word “Laboratorio” derives form the Latin "labor" that means work, and so laboratorio is seen as a place where the people learn by doing.
The Mediterranean area still suffers a high rate of conflicts, as in the last two millennia: the final aim of the e-midia lab Project is to provide to young people the opportunity to exploit the differences in order to find common roots, without deleting the different elements of the socio-cultural identities.
The specificity and the relevance of the e-midia lab lies in the creation of a network of Intercultural Laboratories in Mediterranean area, aiming to act as a permanent factor of growth and transnational development. In this context, it is not enough to carry on good – but temporally limited – experiences, because they become inefficient in other contexts: we have to act in order that good practices can be usable pathways for many people and in different contexts and periods.

The network of Intercultural laboratories uses strategies of e-learning and distance learning in order to achieve the above mentioned results. The advantages are:
- involving a large number of users;
- increasing the opportunities for contact among different cultures, even for those users who are unable to move away from their territory;
- covering different learning needs;
- offering personalized pathways in relation to the different study/work time;
- lowering the cost of training courses;
- promoting the dissemination of new information technologies and communication in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

Experimenting an integrated network of intercultural work in the Mediterranean area means in some way to accept the challenge that most characterizes the intercultural work, which surely does not stop the issues of facilitation of multilingual dialogue or the issues of political and economic confrontation: it involves the local customs, social norms, religious backgrounds, traditions, and that set of attitudes toward human development, history, and everyday life
Distance Education, Intercultural Education, Collaborative Learning.