Snapshots of a Culture: How Do American and Turkish Elementary Students Represent Their Cultural Identities Using Technology as a Means of Expression and Communication?
The purpose of this study was to investigate how elementary students can learn about the culture of another country and how technology can play a role in this process. The sample of the study included 135 fifth grade students from the United States and Turkey. Initial knowledge and information sources of students were assessed at the beginning of the study. Then, they exchanged multimedia presentations which they prepared to make their peers more knowledgeable about their own country. After studying the presentation about the other country, the students responded to a post-survey assessing their knowledge gains. Results showed that the Turkish students had much more initial knowledge about the American culture compared to knowledge of the American students about Turkey. Both groups had certain prejudices or misperceptions about each other. Media, school, and family were main sources of information, while books and friends played a small role. Studying multimedia-based presentations and discussing its content as a group was highly effective to learn about the culture of another country. By exchanging intercultural information through technology, students became less prejudiced and more understanding of each others’ respective cultures.