I am a researcher at the Department of Politics, Law and International Studies at the University of Padova. I teach English to students on second-level degree courses in International Politics and Diplomacy, European Studies and European Project Management.
My research is in the areas of intercultural communication, online education, virtual exchange, computer-mediated communication (CMC) and the socio-cultural context of Web 2.0 for language and intercultural learning, new online literacies, critical discourse analysis, and English in global communication. I have recently become interested in internationalization of higher education, and the complexities and controversies surrounding the increasing adoption of English for teaching in higher education institutions.
Since 2008 I have been coordinator in Padova for the Soliya Connect Program, an online cross-cultural education program that has been implemented in over 100 universities in 27 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Europe and North America since 2003. I have also been a facilitator of 2 online dialogue groups and am now a coach. I have also been collaborating with Soliya and the Exchange 2.0 coalition in their advocacy work on the large-scale implementation of virtual exchange in education.
I am currently involved in the EU project INTENT, (Integrating Telecollaborative Networks into Foreign Language Higher Education) which was funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme. The aim of the project is to raise greater awareness among students, educators and decision makers of Online Intercultural Exchange (telecollaboration) as a tool for virtual mobility in foreign language education at the Higher Education level.
Since 2011 I have been a member of the Executive Committee of EUROCALL (European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning). I am also representative for Padova University in the Coimbra Group E-Learning Task Force.
I have given presentations and held workshops mainly on using technology in language education, across Europe and in Mexico at the Centro de Enseñanza de Lenguas Extranjeras at ‘Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and about Critical Discourse Analysis at Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala where I spent a month on an Erasmus Mundus Exchange. Most recent workshop was on technology enhanced language learning at Adama University, in Ethiopia.
I have recently co-edited a book with Sarah Guth called Telecollaboration 2.0: Language, Literacies and Intercultural Learning in the 21st Century for Peter Lang, Telecollaboration 2.0 and I have published research articles in international journals and chapters in books on issues related to language teaching and technology. Recent articles include the following:
Helm F., Guth S, and Farrah, M. (2012), Promoting Dialogue or Hegemonic Practice? Power issues in telecollaboration, Language Learning & Technology 16(2): 103-127
Guth, S. and Helm F. (2011), Developing multiliteracies in ELT through telecollaboration, ELT Journal 66(1): 42-52.