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Please let me tell you about an intercultural project Sept 15-21, 2013 where I was involved in (There is one project day in anticipation)! It was realized by a team of teachers in Finland, Estonia and Russia. The initiator was Martin Herold, the leader of activities of Deutsche Auslandsgesellschaft in Lübeck, and I cooperated with him and with other colleagues in preparation and implementation.
Deutsch 2.0 is an educational project where students from Finland and Russia work in teams in Lübeck. They make intercultural street interviews in Lübeck and communicate live online with their peers in Kaliningrad Russia, Kose Estonia and Tampere Finland. Also students in Russia, Estonia and Finland carry out similar interviews in the streets in their own cities. The students had plenary live online sessions on Monday and Tuesday and on Thursday they are going to work in sub groups in 5 videoconference rooms where they report about the results of their interviews to each other orally, and then they write a report together and publish it in a WordPress blog. Students use WP commentary areas for that, whereas teachers use blog pages in their assessment etc.
Here comes the most interesting part of the project now. We worked together with Leif Bonorden, a math student of Berlin Technical University, and he helped Laura Pihkala-Posti, the German teacher and chair lady of Dafnord Association, to put up Minecraft.edu game on the student laptops in Lübeck. Laura Pihkala-Posti and Mikael Uusi-Mäkelä carry out scientific research on the topic. One Finnish and one Russian student cooperated in minecraft.edu to build up different buildings, stadiums, halls, flat houses, house in a tree etc. The pedagogical advantage of it was always to make a Russian and a Finnish student to communicate in German to be able to construct the same building together. It was amazing to see what the groups of 2 students with different cultural and language backgrounds were able to make in a short time and how their communication worked. We will put up some video clips on web later to give examples. And, you can imagine how many new ideas there were how to develop gamification for learning purposes in future. For example, using Teamspeak students can communicate live online while staying in different parts of the world and playing together.
Well, there will be more about the project Deutsch 2.0 in the blog http://luebeckstrassenlive.wordpress.com/