Findings and Insights
Students commonly found that this learning
experience was fun, helpful, and/or conducive to improving their communication skills in Chinese, as illustrated in reflection data, a sample of their most frequent comments in their reflections and survey.
The results of survey and student's reflections support the following findings:
- With collaborations that involve the native speakers, students had real-life purpose and accelerated motivation to construct their knowledge and develop their language skills.
- The collaborative learning with the native Chinese students helped students learn the language more authentically and effectively.
- The hands-on learning activities in this project increased students' opportunities to use the language, induced a series of negotiations of meaning (Blake, 2000), and improved the quality of written and spoken language.
- Technologies in this project-based learning were used as engager and facilitators of thinking and knowledge construction:
- for representing students' ideas, understandings, and beliefs
for producing organized, multimedia knowledge bases by students.
- Technologies served as context to support learning by doing:
for representing and simulating meaningful real-world situations and contexts.
for representing perspectives and stories of students' peers in China.
- Technologies served as information vehicle for exploring knowledge to support learning by constructing:
- for accessing needed information from China
for comparing perspectives, beliefs, and world views.
- Technologies served as an intellectual partner to support learning by reflecting:
for helping students to articulate and represent what they knew
for reflecting on what they learned and how they came to know it
for supporting mindful thinking and students' internal meaning making.
- Technologies served as social medium to support learning by conversing:
- for collaborating with others
- for discussing and building consensus among the members of a team.