When learning a new language it’s important to learn about the culture as well. High school students in Taiwan who are learning to speak Spanish were matched in a cultural exchange with students in Mexico. They spent six weeks getting to know each other and sharing cultural information through videos, pictures and comments. Taiwanese students practiced speaking and writing the Spanish language using Facebook and video diaries. Mexican students used the English Language to share thoughts and questions, while educating their new friends about the rich culture of Mexico. Both groups creatively expressed a multidimensional portrayal of their own cultures. Reflected in the dialogue, students were able to question and support one another through cultural exploration.
Students began by creating video’s in small groups to share their own personal highlights of their culture. Here, two Taiwanese students take their audience on a tour of Taiwan favorites:
Mexican students also filmed video’s that explore their own culture. Here are a few screen shots from their videos:
This visual journey inspired students to get to know one another and post comments.The students find they have some things in common.
Students and teachers expressed the benefits of engaging in a digital cross-cultural exchange:
“Hi guys there in Taiwan, we all want you to come and visit us, to be your friends and know a little bit more about your lives, tell us what you like to do the most, what did you like the most about Mexico, what differences you find between you and us? I just want you to know that I loved your videos, all the information you gave us is really interesting” -Student in Mexico
“The things we know now, and the things we will know, are all about how we interact with other people and experiences like this one. The whole world has millions of cultures and maybe we will not get to know all of them but if we try it will be possible.” -Student in Taiwan
“My students really benefited from this KMW experience because most have never left Taiwan and none really know anything about Mexico. They enjoyed making videos with each other as well and liked watching the videos put together by our new Mexican friends. I think the experience helped make the world seem both larger and smaller to my students as well as fomenting a desire to explore and learn more.” -Mr. Kensinger, Taiwan Teacher