ECSCW 2011: Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 24-28 September 2011, Aarhus Denmark

pp 273-292


VideoPal: Exploring Asynchronous Video-Messaging to Enable Cross-Cultural Friendships

  • Honglu DuAffiliated withPennsylvania State University Email author 
  • , Kori InkpenAffiliated withMicrosoft Research
  • , Konstantinos ChorianopoulosAffiliated withIonian University
  • , Mary CzerwinskiAffiliated withMicrosoft Research
  • , Paul JohnsAffiliated withMicrosoft Research
  • , Aaron HoffAffiliated withMicrosoft Research
  • , Asta RosewayAffiliated withMicrosoft Research
  • , Sarah MorlidgeAffiliated withChestnut Hill Academy
  • , John TangAffiliated withMicrosoft Research
    • , Tom GrossAffiliated withUniversity of Bamberg

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Pen pal programs for connecting students from around the world through letter writing have been popular for generations. However, traditional technologies have several limitations in supporting pen pal activities. In this study, we explored the potential of video-based asynchronous messaging in supporting the development of children’s cross-cultural friendships. This paper presents the results of a 2-month study of 30 children from the USA and Greece, exploring their uses of, and experiences with, email and an asynchronous video-based messaging tool we developed called VideoPal. The results from this work highlight the important benefits video provides compared to its text counterpart - email. We conclude with a discussion of the key factors that video enables to benefit the development of children’s long-distance friendships.