Virtual exchange

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Virtual Exchange is a term used to describe "technology-enabled, sustained, people-to-people education programs"[1] in which sustained communication and interaction takes place between individuals or groups who are geographically separated, with the support of educators and/or facilitators. This type of activity is most often situated in educational programs (but is also found in some youth organizations) in order to increase mutual understanding,[2] global citizenship, digital literacies, and language learning.[3] This activity is also known as telecollaboration,[4] online intercultural exchange,[5] globally networked teaching[6] and learning,[7] collaborative online international learning (COIL).[8][9] In European school contexts, virtual exchange is part of eTwinning,[10] a European Commission initiative. In 2017 the European Commission published a feasibility study into virtual exchange [11] and in 2018 the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange[12] project was launched.

Groups such as Soliya[13] (Founder Lucas Welch) and the State University of New York's COIL Center use virtual exchange in higher education curricula to connect young people globally with a primary mission to help them grow in their understanding of each other's contexts (society, government, education, religion, environment, gender issues, etc.). Education which aims to integrate awareness and understanding of distant peoples, environmental issues that impact all planetary species, and geopolitical systems as part of the curriculum is sometimes referred to as Global Education.

A history of Virtual Exchange[edit]

The origins of Virtual Exchange have been linked to the work of iEARN and the New York/Moscow Schools Telecommunications Project[14] (NYS-MSTP) which was launched in 1988 by Peter Copen and the Copen Family Fund. This project stemmed from a perceived need to connect youth from the two countries during a time which was marked by tensions between the United States and the U.S.S.R. that had developed during the Cold War. With the institutional support of the Academy of Sciences in Moscow, and the New York State Board of Education, a pilot programme between 12 schools in each nation was established. Students worked in both English and Russian on projects based on their curricula, which had been designed by participating teachers. The program expanded in the early 1990s to include China, Israel, Australia, Spain, Canada, Argentina, and the Netherlands. The early 1990s saw the establishment of the organization iEARN which became officially established in 1994. One of the earliest projects, which is still running, was Margaret Riel's Learning Circles [15]. The organization has since expanded and is currently active in over 100 countries and promotes many different projects, also in collaboration with other organizations such as the My Hero project.This form of education which aims to integrate awareness of international communities as part of the curriculum is sometimes referred to as Global Education.

In foreign language education the practice of virtually connecting learners is often known as telecollaboration. It was first promoted as a form of network-based language learning in the 1990s through the work of educators such as Mark Warschauer[16][17]and Rick Kern. Several different models of telecollaboration have since been developed[18]. The Cultura model developed in 1997 at MIT in the United States[19], and the eTandem model[20]. The Cultura project was originally developed as a bilingual project for French and English, but has since been developed in several different languages.

In 2003 the organization Soliya was founded by Lucas Welch and Liza Chambers in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Soliya's Connect Program has become an important model of online facilitated dialogue and is based on principles of intergroup dialogue and peacebuilding. In this model of virtual exchange, students from universities across the globe are placed in diverse groups of 10-12 people, and they meet regularly for 2-hour sessions of dialogue through a over a period of 8 weeks. Each group is supported by one or two trained facilitators.

IN 2005 the European Commission established the eTwinning programme for schools. This programme promotes projects between schools in Europe which entail collaborations between classes. eTwinning has established a strong community of teachers and organizes training for them[21]. Pupils do not necessarily communicate directly with one another using technologies however, their contact may be mediated by the teachers.

In 2006 the SUNY Center for Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) was established at SUNY's Purchase College[22]. COIL developed from the work of faculty members who used technology to bring international students into their classrooms using technology. COIL’s Founding Director was Jon Rubin, a Film and New Media Professor at Purchase College. The COIL model is increasingly being recognized as a way for universities to internationalize their curricula[23][24]. In 2010 COIL joined the new SUNY Global Center in New York City and continued to expand its global network.

In 2011 the Virtual Exchange Coalition was established in the United States to further the field of Virtual Exchange, bringing together important virtual exchange providers[25].

In 2014 the UNICollaboration platform was launched in order to support university educators and mobility coordinators to find partner classes, and to organise and run online intercultural exchanges for their students[26]. This platform was one of the outputs of an EU-funded project and has over 1000 registered educators.

In 2016 the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics announced a future Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange initiative.

In March 2018 the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange pilot project was officially launched by Commissioner Navracsics[27]. It is hosted on the European Youth Portal and targets young people (aged 18-30) in EU and Southern Mediterranean countries. The pilot project aims to reach 8000 young people in 2018, its first year of implementation. Different models of virtual exchange are promoted on the platform as well as training for educators to develop their own virtual exchange projects and training for young people to become Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange facilitators.

Online intercultural exchange[edit]

Online intercultural exchange is an academic field of study connected to virtual exchange. It "involves instructionally mediated processes...for social interaction between internationally distributed partner classes".[28] This activity has its roots in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and computer-mediated communication. OIE is not restricted to language learning but happens across many educational disciplines where there is a desire to increase the internationalization of teaching and learning.

Developments in communication technologies and the relative ease with which forms of human communication can be technically afforded internationally since the existence of the internet resulted in language teaching experimentation.[29] Connecting individuals, classrooms or groups of students to work together on tasks online involves attempting to arrive at shared understanding through "negotiation of meaning"[30] There is a body of research in the failures and successes of the endeavour which have informed a guide to language teacher practice.[5] A consortium of researchers, the INTENT consortium supported by funding from the European Union promoted awareness of telecollaborative activities in Higher Education and the contribution made to internationalising the student experience, publishing a report[4] and a position paper. The history of the evolution of this field was described by researcher Robert O'Dowd in his keynote to the European Computer-Assisted Language Learning Conference EUROCALL in 2015. Publications reveal learner perceptions of such activity.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Virtual Exchange Coalition". virtualexchangecoalition.org. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  2. ^ "Studying abroad without leaving the classroom".
  3. ^ Kern, Richard; Ware, Paige; Warschauer, Mark (2004-03-01). "11. CROSSING FRONTIERS: NEW DIRECTIONS IN ONLINE PEDAGOGY AND RESEARCH". Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. 24: 243–260. doi:10.1017/S0267190504000091. ISSN 1471-6356.
  4. ^ a b Guth, Sarah; Helm, Francesca; O'Dowd, Robert (2014-12-16). "Telecollaborative Foreign Language Networks in European Universities: A Report on Current Attitudes and Practices". Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature. 7 (4): 1–14. doi:10.5565/rev/jtl3.609. ISSN 2013-6196.
  5. ^ a b "Online Intercultural Exchange by Robert O'Dowd - Multilingual Matters | Channel View Publications". www.multilingual-matters.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  6. ^ Globally networked teaching in the humanities : theories and practices. Moore, Alexandra Schultheis,, Simon, Sunka,. New York. ISBN 9781317625575. OCLC 907374313.
  7. ^ Starke-Meyerring, D., Duin, A. H., & Palvetzian, T. (2007). Global partnerships: Positioning technical communication programs in the context of globalization. Technical Communication Quarterly, 16(2), 139-174.
  8. ^ Guth, S. & Rubin, J. (2015). Collaborative online international learning: An emerging format for internationalizing curricula. In Schultheis Moore, A. (Ed.), Simon, S. (Ed.). (2015). Globally Networked Teaching in the Humanities. New York: Routledge. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781317625575.
  9. ^ de Wit, Hans (2013-06-20). "COIL – Virtual mobility without commercialisation". University World News.
  10. ^ European Commission (2016-07-28). "eTwinning".
  11. ^ "Study on the feasilbity of an Ersmus+ virtual exchange initiative. Final Report" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange | European Youth Portal". europa.eu. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  13. ^ "Soliya". Soliya. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  14. ^ "The New York State – Moscow Schools Telecommunications Project The Founding Project of iEARN. A Comparative Program Analysis of New York Schools and their Interactions with their Russian and Chinese Counterparts" (PDF).
  15. ^ Riel, Margaret (1993). "Global education through Learning Circles". In Harasim, Linda. Global Networks: Computer and International Communication. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 221–236.
  16. ^ Telecollaboration in foreign language learning : proceedings of the Hawaii Symposium. Warschauer, Mark., University of Hawaii at Manoa. Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center. [Manoa]: Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. 1996. ISBN 0824818679. OCLC 35690382.
  17. ^ Mark., Warschauer, (1995). Virtual connections : online activities & projects for networking language learners. University of Hawaii at Manoa. Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center. Mānoa, Hawai'i: Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center, Univ. of Hawai'i at Mānoa. ISBN 0824817931. OCLC 34174964.
  18. ^ O’Dowd, Robert (2017), "Online Intercultural Exchange and Language Education", Language, Education and Technology, Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Springer, Cham, pp. 207–218, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-02237-6_17, ISBN 9783319022369, retrieved 2018-12-07
  19. ^ Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., English, K., & Maillet, K. (2001). "Giving a voice to the silent culture of language: The CULTURA project". Language Learning & Technology, 5(1), 55–102. 5(1): 55–102.
  20. ^ O'Rourke, Breffni (2007). "Models of telecollaboration (1): eTandem.". In O'Dowd, Robert. Online intercultural exchange: An introduction for foreign language teachers. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. pp. 41–61.
  21. ^ "eTwinning Twelve Years On: Impact on teachers' practice, skills, and professional development opportunities, as reported by eTwinners " (PDF). www.etwinning.net. 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  22. ^ "A Brief History of the SUNY COIL Center | COIL". coil.suny.edu. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  23. ^ Rubin, Jon; Guth, Sarah (2016). "Collaborative Online International Learning: An emerging format for internationalizing curricula.". In A. Schultheis Moore & S. Simon. Globally Networked Teaching in the Humanities: Theories and Practices. London/New York: Routledge. pp. 15–27.
  24. ^ De Wit, Hans (2016). "Internationalisation and the Role of Online Intercultural Exchange". In O'Dowd, R. & T. Lewis. Online Intercultural Exchange: Policy, Pedagogy, Practice. London: Routledge. pp. 69–82.
  25. ^ Himelfarb, Sheldon. "The Real eHarmony". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  26. ^ Research-Publishing.net. "Research-Publishing.net". Research-Publishing.net. doi:10.14705/rpnet.2018.jve.1. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  27. ^ "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Erasmus+ goes virtual". europa.eu. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  28. ^ "Online Intercultural Exchange: Policy, Pedagogy, Practice (Hardback) - Routledge". Routledge.com. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  29. ^ "CALL (computer assisted language learning) | LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies". www.llas.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  30. ^ Long, M. H. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. Handbook of second language acquisition, 2(2), 413-468.
  31. ^ Lee, Lina; Markey, Alfred (2014-09-01). "A study of learners' perceptions of online intercultural exchange through Web 2.0 technologies". ReCALL. 26 (3): 281–297. doi:10.1017/S0958344014000111. ISSN 0958-3440.