technology-enabled, sustained, people-to-people education programme

Virtual Exchange

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:

Technology-enabled:
Using new media, digital or mobile technology.

Sustained:
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.  

People-to-people:
A virtual exchange is an inclusive and accessible means of facilitating intercultural communication and collaboration, which focuses on dialogue that bridges difference.

Education:
Virtual exchanges are integrated in educational programmes and curricula and enable students to develop measurable skills, knowledge and attitudes that foster pro-social behavior.

 

Our Format

Providing expert content

Together with participating universities and partners we construct one curriculum with online content. This curriculum is divided into phases that focus on different sub-topics related to the overall theme of the programme. The curriculum is interdisciplinary and addresses expert views from academics and practitioners. The short videos are intended to stimulate critical thinking and trigger students to reflect on their own perspectives.

Enabling online dialogue

Students come together in small subgroups on a web-based video-conference platform: the Exchange Portal. Here they discuss the topics of that week with the support of facilitators. During the online dialogue participants reflect upon the content of the week from personal experiences and perspectives. The participants are the main drivers of the exchange. It is their diversity that enriches the reflection process which is the main source for learning in the virtual exchange process.

Interactive assignments

The interactive assignment during the programme aims to bring the online exchange to the offline reality of the student. Using a video interview format, students engage their offline community and facilitate interaction between their different communities online. Students hereby discuss the theme of the virtual exchange with their peers encouraging them to jointly reflect on, and challenge, their perspectives on the programme’s theme.

Transversal skills

Through participation in the virtual exchange students develop transversal skills that foster their academic success and employability, such as cross-cultural communication skills, confidence, curiosity, self-efficacy and tolerance of ambiguity. In a rapidly internationalising world, these skills are highly sought after by employers, and our research, based on pre- and post-programme measurements, has shown significant increase in these skills as a direct result of our programme.

Our Virtual Exchange Services

For universities

Through participation in the virtual exchange students develop transversal skills that foster their academic success and employability, such as cross-cultural communication skills, confidence, curiosity, self-efficacy and tolerance of ambiguity. In a rapidly internationalising world, these skills are highly sought after by employers, and our research, based on pre- and post-programme measurements, has shown significant increase in these skills as a direct result of our programme.

For public & private organisations/businesses

We support organisations in offering virtual exchanges or virtual trainings to their clients, employees, or partners. These virtual exchanges or trainings are tailored to the needs of the organisation and can take any format or timeframe. We provide virtual expert panels to physical conferences or trainings, virtual preparation or follow-up exchanges to physical trainings, conferences or business meetings, or we transform a phyical training, business meeting or conference into a virtual interaction. The main recognized adventages of virtual over physical are the facts that participants can remain ‘at home’ or ‘at work’ during the virtual interaction and that virtual exchanges are offered at a much lower cost than physical exchanges. Interested? Please, send us an email.

For secondary schools

The Sharing Perspectives Foundation is exploring the possibility to bring virtual exchanges to secondary schools across Europe. We believe that virtual exchanges can contribute to several educative domains at secondary schools, among which English language practice and Sociology are the most prominent. We aim to facilitate virtual exchange between secondary school students offering them the opportunity to practice their English language speaking and listening skills, while at the same time develop 21st century skills, such as cross-cultural competences and critical thinking. For more information, please send us an email.

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