Bringing The World To Your English Classroom Easily Via Online Exchange
Virtual Exchange (VE) has many benefits for foreign language teachers and their students but it is still not easily accessible to the mainstream. Students in English as a foreign language classrooms often have few opportunities to physically interact with other users of English. VE gives them virtual mobility, enabling them to participate in a global community. In this presentation the author introduces a large scale VE which includes over 1500 students from 5 countries in a VE via a Moodle platform. Students interact online in English as a lingua franca. Exchanges are carried out over 8 week periods. Outcomes from the project, sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education, will be outlined using data gained from questionnaires, text analysis and student feedback. Details of how this method of VE could bring it into mainstream, ensuring VE can become a part of any English communication class throughout the world, if the teacher so wishes, will be outlined in addition to an outline of problems that can eventuate and ideas for incorporating the VE into classroom practice. Those attending will also be able to participate in a quick workshop so that if they want to join the exchange from April 2017, they will be able to.