The article presents various aspects of foreign language education informatization. It shows that the concept of using the latest technical means of foreign language teaching requires new approaches to solve vital educational issues. The principle of personalized training lies in the gradual transfer of the student to the position of self-learner. The authors emphasize that the technology ceases to be functional if it does not facilitate the transition from human-intensive to human-developing evolution of information and communications technologies (ICT), which play a key role in mastering diverse skills and generating universal educational actions, and that a modern teacher needs to build individual routes for students creating comfortable learning environment, education and socialization of the individual. Researchers prove that digital technologies are an effective source of enhancing the quality of teaching foreign languages due to the bright, expressive, informative, stimulating learning motivation tools in the context of multilevel differentiation. The key feature of the modern digital educational space is emphasized, determining that it allows making foreign language education effective, and requires building the activities of the subjects to the pedagogical process, not only describing it, but also designing its various options. Digital technologies streamline and facilitate educational process. Practically, psychological and pedagogical development help switch from rote knowledge acquisition to mastering a skill to acquire new knowledge independently.
Keywords: Digital technologieseducation informatizationintercultural interaction
Over the past 20 years the use of active and innovative teaching methods and the latest information technologies which have promoted better quality of education arrest the attention of the specialists (Pribylova, 2009). In recent years, problems related to the use of new interactive methods and technologies in teaching foreign languages have been increasingly considered (Shamanova & Vishnevskaya, 2019). One of the psychological and pedagogical factors affecting the success of implementing the goals and motives of educational process is the ability to live in the unpredictable space of the information world, i.e. tolerance for uncertainty. In this regard, the issues of personalization of language training and ensuring psychological stability in the digital educational environment, which includes single information and educational space that combines information both on traditional analogue media and modern electronic ones, remain relevant. In the study on Massive Open Online Courses Pavlovskaya and Perkins (2016) state that;
students establishing online communication with their peers from other countries often complain about sudden, unexpected communication breakdowns that they find difficult to explain and that are likely to occur due to the socio-cultural differences existing between communication partners in a multicultural learning community. (p. 16)
which proves the relevance of the research being conducted.
We believe that;
in the 21st century, when humanity enters the informational stage of its development, education should become an essential part of every person’s life, providing them with the opportunity to navigate the ocean of information, adapt to continuous innovation, be professionally mobile and competitive. (Sorokovykh, 2004, p. 80).
This work focuses on how to make cyberspace contribute to establishing conditions for the personal development of a prospective teacher.
As of today, foreign language learning is on the rise. However, students in various universities and schools are heterogeneous in their composition and abilities: some of them learn quite easily, and they are determined to improve their skills, others hardly reach the level of A2-B1 at the end of high school. The practice of teaching at a language university also showed that multilevel knowledge of the language is also characteristic of students from similar educational institutions. Hence, we face the most crucial task of personalization of foreign language education which is associated with a conscious choice of self-education, self-regulation and subsequent self-education in the framework of non-formal and informal education. The principle of personalized learning entails gradual transfer of a student to a self-learning position on the basis of the need for self-regulation developed in training, self-knowledge in educational processes, which is impossible to achieve today without an innovative system of training, education and development of undergraduates;
This study implies the research question to follow:
Do cutting edge cyberspace technologies meet the requirements of personalized foreign language teaching?
How can the efficiency of the cyberspace in terms of personalized intercultural interaction be enhanced?
Which methods and techniques are the most efficient at personalization of cyberspace in terms of intercultural students’ interaction?
Purpose of the Study
While enhancing personalization of cyberspace in terms of intercultural students' interaction in today's fast paced technological environments, it is essential to recognize the function of creating comfortable learning environment, education and socialization for the individual. To address this issue, we defined the following research objectives:
to evaluate the current involvement of the cyberspace in teaching foreign languages and facilitation intercultural interaction in particular;
to expand the awareness of existing tools of enhancing intercultural students' interaction within the cyberspace;
to highlight the key methods and techniques which enhance personalization of cyberspace in terms of intercultural students’ interaction.
The starting point in building conceptual foundations of personalized learning is a general scientific anthropocentric cognitive paradigm, which, when applied to education, is realized in a personality-oriented paradigm aimed at the comprehensive development of the personality, taking into account the concepts of humanization, identity, contrast and developmental teaching (A.N. Leontyev, S.A. Amonashvili, E.V. Bondarevskaya) (Yazykova, 2018). Most approaches to the personalized teaching of students of pedagogical majors are based on the concept of independence, which relies on the development of an individual educational plan for the student where the position of an accompanying person is considered as an aid in the development of particular skills.
However, we should consider the student’s position, their needs, problems, internal resources and the resources of self-learning, self-control, reflection of one’s own activity and self-determination in educational routes, modules, methods of obtaining information. We believe the greatest effect in the development of individual strategies for teaching language and culture is achieved by a variety of interactive ICT. Definitely, virtual reality and spatio-temporal unlimited educational space significantly push the boundaries of human cognition and consciousness. Concurrently, the teacher seeks to overcome the isolation of students (inherent in distance learning of foreign language), and have control over their free “swimming in the sea” of electronic texts.
The methodological framework of the following study relies on the subject-activity approach, which defines the key direction of self-education, its humanistic nature. The program-concept of teaching and educating students on the basis of the subject-activity approach involves implementation of a professional-competency model, as well as personal development and self-development of the student (Sorokovykh, 2004). When teaching foreign languages, the communicative orientation acts not only as a means, but also as a goal of self-learning, providing for the functional knowledge of the studied foreign language, which should make possible interpersonal and intercultural communication of graduates with native speakers of the language.
There is evidence to suggest that learning the language implies new socio-cultural conditions and could be closely entwined with even sort of cultural shock (Ivanova & Mnatsakanian, 2006). Thus, both short-term and long-term contacts with new socio-cultural environment should be provided with thorough and competent personalization of the whole process: both in person and via cyberspace applications as well. Analyzing the cognitive aspects of intercultural communication Kurbakova (2015) states that this way of mediation is possible while preserving national cultural identity and language diversity and together with every student’s personal socio-cultural background and already obtained knowledge personalization of all the aspects of educational process seems well-grounded.
The logical sequence of subjects’ actions is aimed at the object and leads to its modification, and requires the formation of new ways and strategies of activity (applying teaching aids). Within the activity, we can pick out such actions as processes that are subordinate to goals, and operations that indicate methods of implementing actions that are consistent with the context in which they function.
Thus, the subject-activity paradigm of foreign language education is an approach of education and upbringing, aimed at developing the personality of a student, at their self-determination, self-realization and social adaptation. The implementation of ICT should be based both on general didactic and specific principles, the main ones being:
the principle “from simple to complex”: the gradual complication of the use of information elements and communication technologies;
the principle of integration of age-appropriate terms of the students and their language skills;
the principle of individualization and differentiation of training and education. Functional factors are based on the goals, content of education and the requirements of future activities. These are factors such as support elements of pedagogical interaction (technology-based learning), which, when implemented, help comprehend content and language knowledge and obtain a diagnosed result of joint efforts of the subjects;
the principle of tolerance for uncertainty associated with decision-making situations, as well as with broader issues of individual-personal regulation of decisions and actions under uncertainty of cyberspace. The development of factors of tolerance for uncertainty in the Internet includes: environmental dynamics, the availability of new sources of information, interactivity, social networks functionality, relations between subjects on the Internet and new boundaries in the creation, organization, distribution, provision of information, services, etc.
The intercultural nature of teaching foreign languages for professional purposes forces a prospective teacher to think outside the box, as the speed of global changes, the avalanche of events in the global world and the unpredictable consequences for international relations resonate fully with the nature, content and meaning of intercultural communication (Tareva, 2018). Effective intercultural communication training is known to depend on its proper organization as well as on all the teaching tools. Researchers suggest that “a new wave in the development of mankind, coupled with the precepts of a post-industrial, information, post-information society, left no one behind: a digital economy is being formed, open administrative environments are being created via digital technologies (for example the ‟Open Government” Moscow service), digital technologies are being introduced into creative performances, and the digital path of education development is being outlined” (Tareva, 2018, p. 85). According to contemporary methodologists, information technologies are processes that use a combination of means and methods of collecting, processing and transmitting data (primary information) to obtain new quality information about the category of phenomenon, object or process (information product).
However, young people when searching for the necessary information online often face a situation of uncertainty, or the multiplicity of choices, which results in “information wandering”. Information as the basis for subsequent knowledge, images of other people and arbitrarily varying images of self (made possible by numerous “selfies”, real or imaginary biographical data, information about achievements or failures, true or imaginary) became a “screen” product. We conclude that within the modern educational environment the concept of using innovative technology as part of personalized instruction in a foreign language requires new approaches. Any technology ceases to be functional if it does not facilitate the transition from human-intensive to human-developing evolution. Internetization of linguistic education involves blended learning, which is based on the synthesis of online learning and full-time distance learning. It is typical that blended learning does not reject the useful features of the traditional language teaching methodology, but rather improves its capabilities with the help of ICT, on the condition that all its components are methodologically correctly organized and interact seamlessly with each other. Blended learning implies face-to-face interaction in class combined with opportunities of online interaction using media (general digital technologies and ICT) (Yulianti & Sulistiyawati, 2019).
According to teachers, mastering computer technology encourages the student’s proactive position, responds flexibly to student requests, and creates opportunities for designing individual trajectories for students to successfully internalize the curriculum. This highlights the significance of the innovative environment for the open communication with colleagues, students, parents through electronic educational resources. It is crucial to emphasize the importance for a teacher to be open and receptive to the teaching community, to innovation through reflection of the personal and the peers’ experience, the interpenetration of personal and social, the rapid feedback, and the formation of universal educational actions (UEA). (Podymova, 2019, p. 27)
Universal educational action is one of the basic principles of the new educational standard. The application of ICT as well as multimedia and cyberspace has been investigated by researchers of different spheres. All these up-to-date tools proved to be effective not only in the foreign language and culture acquisition but in physics and mathematics as well as it results in significant increase of quantum and quality of students’ knowledge. Besides it has been shown that the intention to use computers is directly predicted by dominant technological pedagogical content knowledge which seems beneficial for advancing the education (Čubril et al., 2014; Milutinović, 2016).
Apart from this, experience and expertise show that the goal of electronic learning is mainly to make education more open and dynamic, rather than replace education that is based on real human interaction between teachers and students. The term “electronic learning” (usually referred to as E-Learning) reflects the integrative nature of linguo-educational process structure more precisely, as well as its virtual trend and personalization. Within the framework of personalized learning, ICT plays a key role in a step-by-step development of various skills and such universal educational actions as:
laying out the groundwork for designing various customized programs of multi-level foreign language learning for children with special educational needs, and original development of an education route for each student;
information registering and structuring relying on a number of technical tools for its organization and presenting information in a diagram form;
innovation interpreting which, for instance, in the context of online discussions allows to form an opinion on a particular pedagogical innovation, recognize the original intent, incorporate the idea or the whole technology into your practice, broaden your understanding of the issue, and work out your own strategy to embrace the innovation.
ICT poses as a crucial tool that helps form an individual communication style and communication perspectives.
At present, many universities and teachers have recognized the superior teaching and guiding effects of the e-learning mode in cultivating students’ independent learning and boosting development and improvement of education (Duan, 2020). Besides, as of today, applying cyberspace technologies to the foreign language and culture learning a teacher can guide students to search for the relevant content and develop students’ cultural awareness (Gu, 2020; Wang & Wu, 2020).
Digital technologies streamline and help the educational process. Practically, we rely on psychological and pedagogical study aids that help switch from rote knowledge acquisition to mastering a skill that allows students to acquire new knowledge independently, which, definitely, is crucial within the framework of individualization and differentiation in language and culture learning, while bringing out, preserving and developing students’ personality traits.
Computers ensure control over educational process. It is common knowledge that such control provides feedback between students and teachers. Monitoring students’ level of knowledge via computer allows for more objective assessment. Besides, computer monitoring significantly saves study time which enables teachers to focus more on creative aspects of engagement with students.
When relying on multimedia, we are able to generate various methods for its application. Personalized cyberspace enriches educational process with new teaching ways, methods and techniques which boosts self-cognition of a prospective teacher.
When working on research projects, students gain experience in using technical means, on the one hand, and the skill of working in a group or individually, on the other. While building individual learning routes, it is important to use mixed and remote methods, for example, “menu cards”, which offer various options for improving intercultural communicative competence in various proportions of preference: reading, speaking, writing, depending on students’ interests, needs and abilities. We have to note that digital technologies are an effective source of improving quality of teaching foreign languages due to the brightness, expressiveness, informational richness, stimulating motivation for learning and studying. It makes it possible to rectify or make up for the lack of a language environment for real intercultural communication.
In conclusion, we note that new ICT should contribute to creating a better world in which everyone will benefit from the accomplishments education, science, culture and communication provide, making a huge impact on quality of education and the ability to apply new knowledge to practice. Digital technologies in teaching intercultural interaction opens up a wide range of opportunities for active work in developing speaking skills of students and makes the learning process and techniques of intercultural communication more attractive at all stages of training:
The personalization of language and culture teaching will be much more effective if they use digital technologies that develop many aspects of speech activity, as well as enable creative manifestation of personality; they bring a significant amount of material studied into an extracurricular form of work, which seems relevant when reducing hours of teaching foreign languages.
A personalized cyberspace provides necessary information about the studied phenomena and processes, enhances the role of linguistic visibility in the educational process, satisfies the student’s interests, facilitates teacher’s technical work related to the control and testing of acquired knowledge and skills, etc.; sustains adequate and efficient control and self-control, objective performance assessment and sets compelling feedback.
Designing a personalized information space for students’ intercultural interaction shows that there is a wide range of ICTs that facilitate the learning process, make classes effective, modern, informative, rich, motivate students, and contribute to self-education and self-development.
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20 November 2020
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Sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, bilingualism, multilingualism
Cite this article as:
Sorokovykh, G. V., & Vishnevskaya, E. M. (2020). Personalization Of Cyberspace In Terms Of Intercultural Students’ Interaction. In Е. Tareva, & T. N. Bokova (Eds.), Dialogue of Cultures - Culture of Dialogue: from Conflicting to Understanding, vol 95. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 935-942). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.11.03.98