About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1454-1463
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: ENGAGEMENT WITH OTHER CULTURES VIA REAL-TIME SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS

P. Peters, A. Katsaros, W. Howard, L. Kramer, D. Lowe

University of Central Florida (UNITED STATES)
Engaging students in an exploration of other cultures presents new challenges in this age of the internet, social media, and globalization. In both traditional and virtual classroom settings, films are the primary media through which we may gain visual insight into many cultures. While films are instructive and serve to engage student learners, their material is dated due to production time, and they provide one-dimensional, non-interactive experiences. Although study-abroad experiences offer immersive opportunities to engage with peoples of other cultures, these opportunities are not viable for many student learners due to work, family, or financial constraints. New technologies such as field-based, satellite-enabled media delivery, provides exciting interactive opportunities for student learners to cross borders virtually and engage directly in real time with distant cultures. A new technology platform, developed by Interactive Expeditions (INTX) at the University of Central Florida (UCF), delivers real-time instructional experiences from remote locations and has been used to bring learners in contact with field practices and artifacts in Utah, Bermuda, India, South Africa, and Swaziland.

INTX was founded in 2007 by UCF Professor Philip Peters to facilitate a prototype, small-scale, satellite-based webcast that provided a live experience to online learners on the university campus. In subsequent years, new features have been added to the INTX network’s browser-based media portal. During a 2010 South Africa expedition, INTX also tested a hand-held tablet computer version of the media portal software that enabled the in-field professor to trigger real-time instructional events on the students’ media portal and dynamically control the tele-presence of each participant as they entered the conversation queue. This network collaboration mimics face-to-face conversation when the student’s own webcam image becomes visible upon a prompt from the professor. The opportunity for online students to achieve real-time, personal interaction with the people, places, and artifacts that they were encountering remotely using an internet browser and webcast is innovative among distance-learning methods.

Some of the preliminary observations that we made include the fact that learner discussions using the interactive media platform tended to be less restrained and more motivated by genuine curiosity with events being webcasted. Students asked high quality questions and appeared more engaged with the ongoing discussion. Surveys of student interest and engagement revealed that students using the interactive media platform felt that their opinions and input mattered and that they were more likely to discuss topics outside of their formal class activities. In open-ended questions about the experience, several learners indicated that they felt a closer connection to the people and places being studied as a result of the technologies used. Evaluations revealed that live sessions significantly influenced student perceptions of educational value.

Our paper will discuss the applications and potential implications of this new distance learning and teaching platform, and share some findings from the evaluation studies comparing our interactive satellite webcasts with more traditional online distance learning and on-the-job vocational training platforms, e.g., text-based and threaded discussion forums.
@InProceedings{PETERS2013UPC,
author = {Peters, P. and Katsaros, A. and Howard, W. and Kramer, L. and Lowe, D.},
title = {UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: ENGAGEMENT WITH OTHER CULTURES VIA REAL-TIME SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS},
series = {7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-2661-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {4-5 March, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {1454-1463}}
TY - CONF
AU - P. Peters AU - A. Katsaros AU - W. Howard AU - L. Kramer AU - D. Lowe
TI - UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: ENGAGEMENT WITH OTHER CULTURES VIA REAL-TIME SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS
SN - 978-84-616-2661-8/2340-1079
PY - 2013
Y1 - 4-5 March, 2013
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2013 Proceedings
SP - 1454
EP - 1463
ER -
P. Peters, A. Katsaros, W. Howard, L. Kramer, D. Lowe (2013) UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: ENGAGEMENT WITH OTHER CULTURES VIA REAL-TIME SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS, INTED2013 Proceedings, pp. 1454-1463.
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