University West (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 1820-1830
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The increased digitalisation and globalized exchange of information in society implies changes in learning and knowledge formation. Learning today is increasingly dependent on collaboration and sharing of information and ambitions to develop creativity, innovation, problem solving and risk taking (Cope et al, 2011; OECD, 2013). Digital technology offers opportunities for active, participatory and creative learning and especially contributes to the development of an increasingly multiliterate world.

In the GNU-project (Gränsöverskridande Nordisk Undervisning/Utdannelse) [Cross Border Nordic/Scandinavian Education] innovative cross-border teaching models are being developed by the means of user-driven and co-design approaches. This longitudinal EU-funded project initiated in August 2011 involves Danish, Norwegian and Swedish students, teachers and researchers in collaborative pedagogical approaches using digital technology in the school-subjects: native language, mathematics, natural and social science.

Focusing native language classes, this study explores the design and development of students’ meaning-making practices and communicative strategies with focus on semiotic shifts of modes and authentic learning. Engagement in digital and multimodal composing processes integrating images, sound, music, text and speech raises questions about the student´s awareness of translation of semiotic content across signs (i.e. transmediation; see Mills, 2011).

Applying action research and ethnographic methods of participatory video-recorded classroom observations, interviews and analysis of multimodal and shared-space products, this study examines:
1. What cross-border practices occur and how they develop over time?
2. What transmediation processes and semiotic shifts across modes are foregrounded in the comprehension and cultural awareness practices?
3. What learning can benefit from authenticity in cross-border practices?

The results show a development from practices of understanding the similarities and differences in languages, school culture and similar through writing, speaking, listening and classroom-talks towards close-talks and cross-group work with access to shared spaces and learning focusing on reading, translation and interpretation of neighbouring languages and communication in synchronous, real-time meetings. Students develop communicative, cultural, critical and digital competences through transmediation and informal media competences in multimodal productions, collaborative sharing of knowledge and synchronous meetings.

Furthermore, authenticity shows to be an important means for the development of inter-Scandinavian comprehension and cultural awareness. When students meet each other virtually and work synchronously with authentic texts and speech this positively affects the learning activities, as the students are more motivated and engaged in the cross-border tasks.

[1] Cope, B., Kalantzis, M., McCarthey, S., Vojak, C. & Kline, S. (2011) Technology-Mediated Writing Assessments: Principles and Processes. Computers and Composition 28, 79–96.
[2] Mills, K. A. (2011) 'I’m making it different to the book’: Transmediation in young children’s multimodal and digital texts. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36 (3), 56-65.
[3] OECD (2013) Innovative Learning Environments. Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, doi: 10.1787/9789264203488-en