Recently we presented the project with a Poster at the NERA Conference that took place on Iceland on June 1st through June 3rd. The theme of the Conference was “Education and involvement in precarious times.”
On the Conference website they ellaborate on the theme: The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the precarious nature of human lives/existence, lacking in predictability, security, material, and psychological welfare. In terms of education, the Covid-19 pandemic has, among other things, drawn attention to the precarious life of students and children around the world.
Our project shows that it’s possible to provide good opportunities for internationalization for student teachers by using technology, and thereby also contribute in developing their professional digital competence, without going abroad.
We are presenting the International@home project in a parallel session at this year’s International Conference on Interactive Collaborative learning, taking place on 22-24 September. The conference is a hybrid version, with both physical and digital attendance. In the paper we submitted we discuss some of the challenges COVID-19 has brought to student and staff mobility, and how there’s a need to focus more on internationalization at home (IaH).
In the paper we conclude that there is much potential in the digital technology for providing the opportunities for Internationalization at home. However multiple aspects must be carefully planned for the IaH activitities to be successful, such as close integration of the iaH assignments with the pedagogy course at home university, providing students with an easy access to the iaH assignments online, and taking consideration to the different academic calendars of international partner universities.
Through International@home we aim to give our Student Teachers the opportunity to collaborate with peer students in other countries on important topics such as; adapted learning, critical thinking, intercultural communication, self-regulated learning and school and society. We want to do this by using digital tools like Padlet and digital platforms like eTwinning. We may also try more tools and platforms during the project period. By using digital tools and platforms we hope to make international collaboration easier and more accessible.
Internationalization and ensuring international perspectives in Teacher Education has been an important focus area at the University of Agder for several years, as it has been for all Norwegian Teacher Education institutions. Teacher Educators work continuously to ensure international perspectives “at home” and there are great opportunities for students to go abroad.
This past year the Covid 19-situation has made travelling very challenging, and the need to find alternative ways to ensure the international experience has become increasingly more important. The project idea for International@home actually started developing before Covid 19 became a part of all our lives, but the latter has perhaps forced us and our colleagues to look at internationalization in a different perspective.
The fact that all Teachers across the world now find themselves facing the same challenge of how to ensure good learning for students through home schooling and digital teaching, makes it perhaps even more valuable than ever to share experiences and ideas across borders. And we think it’s important to give our Student Teachers this experience. We hope that they’ll gain new perspectives, see the Norwegian school system and Teacher Education in a different light, and also to give them an opportunity to expand their own professional network.
You can read more about the project team in “about us”. If you find the project activities interesting and would like to collaborate with us, please contact us. Collaboration can happen on a variety of levels. For example the shared Padlets will be an easy way to give your students international perspectives by having them reflect on the same questions as students from other countries. It’s anonymous and it doesn’t have to be synchronized. However, it is possible to also synchronize Padlet collaboration if you want and schedules allow.
As for eTwinning projects, we encourage you to either join one of our projects or invite us to collaborate on an idea that you may have for a project.