Colloque EUROCALL 2018

Nicolas Guichon représentait l’équipe 3MA au colloque EUROCALL de 
Jyväskylä (Finlande). Sa conférence s’intulait International students’ geographies of learning during their study abroad.

This study focuses on international students’ usage of digital tools in order to understand what role such tools play in students’ transition to their new academic environments, in this case French post-secondary education, and what learning opportunities they provide. Transition relates to the period of adjustment following international students’ departure from their home countries and their installation abroad and involves different aspects: linguistic and cultural (how students use digital tools to develop their language skills and further their knowledge of French culture), academic (whether and in what ways they modify their digital use to match academic expectations at the university) and social (e.g., how students develop – or not – a new network of acquaintances with local and other international students). Digital devices are not only vehicles that accompany international students’ transitions but can also reveal the adjustments they face when they arrive in a new academic and social context. Among these mobile devices, smartphones hold a special place since the numerous applications that are now available have transformed “the once dedicated mobile phones into powerful, mobile personal computers”. (Chan, Walker & Gleaves, 2015, p. 96). Besides, smartphones can be used to document events as they occur, which makes them powerful tools “for capturing immediacy, mass events, or unexpected scenes of everyday life” (Godwin-Jones, 2016, p. 9).The current study provided a group of international students (n=16) with an app installed on their smartphone with which they could track what they identified as learning opportunities by taking pictures and writing texts over a five-week period. The data are thus comprised of their resulting publications which participants shared with the researchers as well as an end-of-project debriefing conducted to shed further light on the international students’ digital habits and their attitudes towards self-tracking. The aim of this exploratory study is twofold: (1) to examine what international students identify as digital learning opportunities outside the classroom and (2) to determine the potential of a digital and mobile self-tracking application as a means to better understand international students’ transitions to their new environment.