What is virtual exchange?
Virtual exchange uses technology to connect people for education and exchange. Virtual exchange programs typically serve young people. Many virtual exchange programs are international, connecting participants in different countries in order to help them gain global competencies, among other knowledge, skills, and abilities. Many practitioners feel facilitation by prepared, responsible adults – often, but not always, educators – is an important component of successful virtual exchange.
How does virtual exchange help?
Virtual exchange can make possible a cross-cultural experience that builds marketable global competencies – including communication, collaboration, empathy, language, and problem-solving skills – and deepens understanding of, and ability to engage with, people from other backgrounds. Virtual exchange is cost-effective, scalable, and uniquely capable of reaching populations that might otherwise be left out by in-person exchange programs.
How do we know virtual exchange works?
Experts have found that virtual exchange can increase the extent to which young people perceive people from other backgrounds to be similar to themselves. The Stevens Initiative has developed tools to measure the effectiveness of virtual exchange programs and uses these tools across the programs it supports. The Initiative supports the diverse virtual exchange community by establishing a common understanding of key terms, effective practices, and shared priorities for further research and exploration.