Each Thursday this summer, the Stevens Initiative will share reading recommendations for educators and virtual exchange practitioners preparing to engage youth over the next academic year. Check back each week for our latest additions.
1. 2022 Virtual Exchange Impact and Learning Report | Read
Why we recommend it: As many educators and virtual exchange practitioners know, the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will persist for years to come, making virtual exchange critically important in the years ahead. Building on the 2019 and 2020 reports, our 2022 Virtual Exchange Impact and Learning Report shares updated data, lessons learned, and effective practices that can be applied in schools, universities, and extracurricular programs. Whether you’re back to in-person learning but want to enhance your classroom with virtual elements, or curious about what the latest data on the impact of virtual exchange is, this report will be helpful to anyone interested in keeping young people connected through technology in a transformed world.
2. June 2022: Special Issue: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – International Educator, NAFSA | Read
Why we recommend it: In recent years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have risen as key considerations in education and professional spaces spanning many fields and sectors. The imperative to reach historically marginalized communities and find ways for meaningful inclusion in global learning opportunities resonates with many in our field. For education and exchange leaders interested in exploring DEI issues that impact their work, the June 2022 Special Issue of NAFSA’s International Educator is a great place to start. Featuring topics such as addressing DEI blind spots on global campuses to how international education can help advance social justice, this special issue shares articles relevant to international education at all age levels and settings.
3. Virtual Exchange Effectively Fosters Global Competence for High School Students – Interconnected (2022), Global Education Benchmark Group | Read
Why we recommend it: We know that educators and exchange leaders are always looking to bolster their knowledge about the field, but might be short on time. This two-page overview of AFS’ Global You Virtual Exchange Impact Study, sponsored by the Stevens Initiative, not only delivers promising findings about virtual exchange and global competence building in high schoolers, but also simple yet effective steps that can make programs more meaningful. This is a helpful piece for a variety of educators and exchange leaders’ goals: seeking institutional buy-in for virtual exchange, planning for implementation in the fall, or learning about some of the latest research on the impact of virtual exchange.
4. Leadership Lessons in International Education: Peggy Blumenthal – The EdUp World Wise Podcast | Listen
Why we recommend it: In order to understand the present state of international education and plan for its future, we must reflect on the past. This episode explores the history and evolution of the international education field, emphasizing the important role leaders have played in its development. Virtual exchange, in particular, is an area of the field that has been propelled forward by key leaders supporting its growth and constant evolution. Peggy Blumenthal, an international education expert who specializes in mentoring professionals in the field, shares key leadership skills in this podcast, hosted by Rajika Bhandari, Ph.D. If you’re leading an internationalization campaign at your institution, or just interested in how to become a better virtual exchange champion, this podcast is for you.
5. Transforming Perspectives Through Virtual Exchange: A U.S.-Egypt Partnership | Read
Why we recommend it: Evaluation is a critical part of virtual exchange implementation, but it can also be challenging for many practitioners. This study investigates the impact of a virtual exchange program that connects undergraduates in the United States with peers in Egypt. Following a detailed process of evaluation, this study found evidence that the virtual exchange program resulted in an increased awareness of others and a greater understanding of how to interact interculturally. We think implementers, researchers, and administrators exploring different evaluation methods for their programs will benefit from this strong example of virtual exchange research methodology and findings.
6. What Have We Learned About Online Learning? | Read
Why we recommend it: With the growing demand for digital learning, a crucial consideration in the minds of academic leaders, implementers, and educators is the digital divide. The lack of digital infrastructure has been a concern for those pushing for online education even before the coronavirus pandemic. Though these inequities were always there, the pandemic brought them to the surface and sparked conversations around how to combat them. This conversation between two passionate online education professionals sheds light on the lessons we can learn from the past two years dealing with the pandemic. They offer advice to anyone thinking of the digital divide and how it impacts their work in international education or online learning.
7. Study Abroad Sector Lags on Sustainability, Research Shows | Read
Why we recommend it: The study abroad industry is at a critical inflection point, writes World Learning’s Megan Zacher. This article, which is based on Zacher’s capstone research, examines the current state of study abroad and provides five recommendations for making the field more sustainable, including prioritizing virtual mobility over in-person travel. We think this article will be useful and timely for anyone who works in international education, has considered these issues, and is interested in improving a valuable form of global learning. For anyone especially interested in virtual exchange and climate change, we also recommend becoming familiar with the CANIE Accord, an effort that asks signatories in the international education sector to agree to a set of broad principles for sustainability and climate action.
8. 3 Ways Online Learning Can Narrow the Higher Education and Workforce Gender Gap | Read
Why we recommend it: There is a lot that needs to be done to address global gender gaps in higher education and the workforce. Progress has been made, and as mentioned in this resource, online education has been proven to narrow this gap. The flexible, online models of learning provide opportunities for women to pursue higher education and develop in-demand skills that allow them to enter the global workforce. As nations prioritize narrowing this gap even further, the possibility for the growth of online education models can be expected, as they’ve proven to be invaluable.
9. Reimagining Education in MENAP | Read
Why we recommend it: The pandemic has increased educational inequalities and created greater barriers for young people worldwide, with the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan bearing some of the greatest impacts. How do we tackle learning loss and help students reach grade level standards throughout the region? On many fronts, technology is the answer: for improving instruction quality, enabling personalized, mastery-based learning, and cultivating digital literacy. Other recommendations include prioritizing values and attitudes-based learning, as well as creating pathways for lifelong competency building. We’re encouraged by how closely these recommendations run parallel to the goals of virtual exchange. We think readers, particularly those interested in or who work in MENA, will find this a valuable read.
10. Implementing Project-Based Learning | Read
Why we recommend it: Looking to increase student engagement while also challenging students academically? Consider implementing project-based learning in your classroom. Developing a successful project-based learning program takes time and careful consideration of the needs of each student as well as learning content and objectives. But there are steps you can take to ensure that students will have an enjoyable and valuable experience. This resource is a guide for educators interested in trying this approach in their classrooms and provides an overview of project-based learning, its learning benefits for students, common misconceptions, and elements that make a high quality program. With these considerations in mind, educators can take steps to revolutionize their classrooms and empower their students to take ownership of their learning journey. Download the full guide here.
11. 7 Tips for Implementing Virtual Mobility | Read
Though much has evolved in the education space since the beginning of the pandemic, some early recommendations still hold true. This article is one such case. Published in April 2020 when virtual mobility was new to many educators and exchange leaders, it provides seven tips that are still helpful today, especially if you’re brand new to the world of virtual exchange. From getting started to improving programs, this is a short and helpful primer for those thinking about infusing classrooms and extracurricular settings with global learning experiences.
12. The State of Teaching and Learning in K-12 Education | Read
Why we recommend it: According to this study conducted by Instructure, student engagement and attendance are top priorities among administrators, educators, and parents in the K-12 space. There is a need for continued discussions around ways to rethink the learning process and the different approaches to learning in our school systems. To address these priorities, this study emphasizes the need for intentional efforts to support the growth of educators, which includes concerted time to reflect and identify areas for improvement. We hope this week’s pick will lend fresh ideas and innovative learning practices that will not only lead to more students showing up for school, but to higher levels of engagement because they are interested and motivated.
13. Trendspotting 2022: What’s Next for International Education? | Read
Why we recommend it: Our last selection for the 2022 Summer Reading List looks ahead to the future of international education. This resource compiles a list of trends from the perspective of eleven international educators on the progression of the international education field. They share their predictions for continued investments in international education and potential shifts in approaches to student engagement, as well as implications and challenges of these observed trends. We hope this valuable resource will spark engaging discussions and thoughtful reflections on the future of international education.