This chapter is based on the assumption that studies on English as a lingua franca (ELF) and telecollaboration can be pulled into a common framework whenever research is focused on the dynamic process that combines web-mediated communication and second language learning. The purpose of this paper is to examine a similar issue and present a European telecollaboration project that is being carried out in the 2014-2015 academic year, whereby a community of Italian and Finnish high-school students interact online to improve their intercultural and communicative competencies. Results from a previous research (Grazzi, forthcoming) show that whenever the English classroom is connected to the Internet to let students practice network-based language teaching (NBLT), the authentic environment in which participants interact transforms the closed context of schooling into an open virtual space, which consequently turns English from a foreign language (EFL) and a school subject into a lingua franca that is socially constructed by its users. In this view, the distinction between EFL and ELF is contextually defined and conceived of as a continuum rather than a dichotomy. My contention is that once the English classroom is turned into an open ecosystem (van Lier, 2004) that is connected to the world outside through hypermedia technology, EFL and ELF tend to converge and become complementary in the L2-user's performance. Finally, the kind of e-partnering that has been activated through the current telecollaboration project is expected to provide examples of cooperative negotiation of forms and meanings between interlocutors, which enhance their language awareness in a Vygotskian zone of proximal development (ZPD) (Lantolf and Thorne, 2006).
Grazzi, E. (2016). Network-based language teaching and ELF. In J.M. Natasha Tsantila (a cura di), ELF: pedagogical and interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 16-24). Atene : Deree-The American college of Greece.