What are ‘Virtual Innovation and Support Networks’?

Virtual Exchange refers to the different educational approaches to connecting people from different cultural backgrounds in online collaborative learning.

Virtual Innovation and Support Networks are defined as Virtual Exchange programmes which bring together teachers, student teachers and experts in facilitated online collaboration around real-world educational issues.

What will ‘Virtual Innovation and Support Networks’ look like?

The VALIANT networks will bring together teachers, student teachers and educational experts in different ways. For example:

  • In-service teachers from different countries will compare experiences on a common problem or challenge (e.g. students’ digital literacy) and collaborate to create teaching materials on the subject.
  • In-service teachers from different countries will be interviewed by groups of student teachers on their experiences of good practice in teaching.
  • In-service teachers will receive training from an invited expert on different areas, for example, how to prepare a proposal for an Erasmus schools project (KA229) and collaborate together to develop a proposal.

Who can participate in Virtual Innovation and Support Networks?

VALIANT is being specifically designed for school teachers and classes of student teachers who are working or studying in rural areas or contexts where they have:

-Limited access to specialised experts and trainers.
-Difficulties attending workshops due to, for example, long driving distances.
-Difficulties to participate in in-house professional development activities

So if you are a school teacher, an administrator at a school or a teacher at a faculty of education (i.e. a teacher trainer) we encourage you to become involved by making contact with us here.

The guiding research question for our project:

Will participation in Virtual Exchange programmes contribute to teachers’ and student teachers’ positive attitudes towards their profession and also to developing their ability to operate effectively in online international networks of professional collaboration?

VALIANT aims to establish whether participation in Virtual Exchange programmes will…

  • overcome teachers’ sense of isolation and improve levels of motivation.
  • develop teachers’ intercultural collaboration skills as well as their ability to participate in online collaborative projects and networks (i.e. eTwinning, Erasmus+ KA2 proposals).
  • develop teachers’ ability to use digital technologies for elements of digital professional.
    raise awareness of students of Initial Teacher Education of the realities of the teaching profession.

More background information on the project can be found in this document: VALIANT Project summary