Virtual exchange is a rapidly growing practice and field which is connected to both formal and informal learning. Through virtual exchange programmes, meaningful encounters takes place between individuals or groups who are geographically or culturally separated with the support of educators and/or facilitators. Virtual exchange programmes combine the deep impact of intercultural exchange with the broad reach of new media technology with the aim to allow an increasing number of young people to have a meaningful intercultural experience as part of their education.
Virtual exchange is defined as a technology-enabled, sustained, people-to-people education programme:
Using new media, digital or mobile technology.
The programme is conducted through institutional partnerships and sustained over a certain period by a curriculum. This guides educators and or facilitators who apply a specific virtual exchange pedagogical model.
A virtual exchange is an inclusive and accessible means of facilitating intercultural communication and collaboration, which focuses on dialogue that bridges difference.
Virtual exchanges are integrated in educational programmes and curricula and enable students to develop measurable skills, knowledge and attitudes that foster pro-social behavior.