J.W. Wilson

Kwansei Gakuin University (JAPAN)
How can students and educators acquire knowledge about another culture without visiting the country? The presenter will explain how two schools in different countries (one in Japan and one in the United States) designed, planned and implemented a virtual abroad Youth Culture course and helped develop an international community of learners.

According to Kahn and Kellner (2011), global youth culture emerged as a result of the proliferation of 20th century media such as film, television, popular music, the Internet and other forms of technologies in the everyday lives of youths. Using literature and everyday observations, students in the United States (San José State University -- SJSU) and Japan (Kwansei Gakuin University -- KGU) explored, identified, analyzed, and documented how global youth culture has promoted cultural identity in music, fashion, leisure, dance, rituals, and rites of passage.

The presenter will share how the course was created, some of the challenges faced by the students and instructors, research methods used by students, photos from technology-leading incubator classrooms, materials created for the course and also share ways in which interested teachers can create their own virtual abroad course.

In the course, students were expected to learn and examine: (1) how global youth culture has promoted cultural diversity in music, fashion, leisure, dance and rituals; (2) how youth participate in and are influenced by capitalist production and consumption patterns through their use of the internet and other technologies; (3) how online youth culture has become global and hybrid.

Student learning activities included making cultural observations through various cultural exchanges via video conferencing and Skype; capturing digital photographs and movie clips of cultural phenomena, sharing with their SJSU classmates and KGU counterparts and posting online their approved materials derived from presentations.