Evaluating the impact of virtual exchange on initial teacher education: a European policy experiment

Baroni, Alice; Dooly, Melinda; Garcés García, Pilar; Guth, Sarah; Hauck, Mirjam; Helm, Francesca; Lewis, Tim; Mueller-Hartmann, Andreas; O’Dowd, Robert; Rienties, Bart and Rogaten, Jekaterina (2019). Evaluating the impact of virtual exchange on initial teacher education: a European policy experiment. Research-publishing.net.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2019.29.9782490057337


Virtual exchange refers to education programmes in which constructive communication and interaction takes place between individuals or groups from different cultural backgrounds with the support of educators or facilitators. Evaluating and Upscaling Telecollaborative Teacher Education (EVALUATE, http://www.evaluateproject.eu/) was a European policy experimentation financed by Erasmus+ which studied the impact of a telecollaborative model of virtual exchange on student teachers. Between 2017-2018, the project consortium trained teacher trainers and organised virtual exchanges which involved over 1,000 student teachers at initial teacher education institutions. This entailed students interacting and collaborating with partner classes from other countries as an integral part of one of their courses. The research team then analysed the learning gains from these exchanges using qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. They also worked with representatives from European ministries of education to understand how virtual exchange could be upscaled in teacher education across Europe. This publication presents the findings of the EVALUATE experimentation and its implications for the education of future teachers. The study found that engaging student teachers in structured online intercultural collaboration as part of their formal learning can contribute to the development of their digital-pedagogical, intercultural, and foreign language competences. It can also lead to innovation and international learning in the education of future teachers.

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