Digging into YouTube Videos: Using Media Literacy and Participatory Culture to Promote Cross-Cultural Understanding

It has been said that Web 2.0 is changing the way students learn. The time of the teacher as the primary source of information is a relic of the past. The role of the educator, as a result of new media, has changed substantially from one that is focused on the one-way transfer of information to one that trains students how to participate in digital environments with intelligence, skill, and literacy. It is our contention that educators and learners can exploit this media to engage in cross-cultural exchange and ultimately greater crosscultural understanding. This paper will elaborate on the ways in which teachers and students can use YouTube as a site for cultivating cross-cultural exchange and understanding by establishing video-pal relationships with other students from outside their home culture. Digital exchanges can help students and teachers build connections with their colleagues abroad and to develop an international perspective.