Burnapp, D. and Feng, Y. (2007) Digital third space: the use of internet resources for study and living by students from China in UK universities. Paper presented to: 5th International Conference on ELT (English Language Teaching) in China & the 1st Congress of Chinese Applied Linguistics, Beijing, People's Republic of China, 16-21 May 2007.
Students moving between cultures of learning take with them established approaches to knowledge, so any new approaches may be blended with these to create a third space, a fertile and generative opportunity rather than just an overlapping of systems. Information technologies may enable digital third spaces: virtual communities of learners who share experiences and resources. This paper describes exploratory research involving Chinese students at an English university, and examines their use of IT to link them to other students. The focus is on informal forums initiated by students rather than official course-related virtual learning environments.