Virtual International Exchange as a High-Impact Learning Tool for More Inclusive, Equitable and Diverse Classrooms

Galina Siergiejczyk 1
  • 1 GRAP, University of Colorado at Boulder, , N 201, Arnett Residence Hall 406 UCB, Boulder, United States of America

Abstract

While technology-assisted learning has become commonplace in education, its applications are rarely examined along geopolitical and cultural perspectives that reveal certain shared and vastly distinct localized practices in evolving pedagogy and cultural dynamics. For developing countries such as Uzbekistan, collaborating virtually with a university in the U.S. may represent both a technological and socio-cultural challenge. Conducting a virtual international project, nonetheless, offers a unique chance to experience another culture in real time through its people, exposing reductionist perceptions of other cultures and humanizing that other through community-generated dialogue. Virtual intercultural exchanges advance intercultural communicative competency and constitute an effective format for high-impact learning practices that advance students’ understanding and appreciation of diversity, equity and inclusion in traditional and online classrooms. This surveys student evaluations of a pilot Virtual International Exchange (VIE) completed between U.S. and Uzbek students in 2018, and underpins a theoretical framework for the benefits of concurring cognitive dissonance for the benefit of open, equitable and inclusive pedagogical models.

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