On 29 November 2021, it was time for more than 80+ staff members at VAMOS HEIS to meet and to discover the advantages that Virtual Exchange (VE) can offer the practitioners, their institutions, and students.
The Masterclass was developed to demonstrate what Virtual Exchange is and how Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) can benefit from integrating and implementing VE successfully, as an innovative educational pedagogy into ESD, as is the case within the Erasmus+ Capacity Building Project VAMOS. After the Project Leader for the VAMOS project, Fanny Jonsson (Uppsala University), opened the meeting giving the first thoughts and information about the Project and the integration of Virtual Exchange with Education for Sustainable Development, it was the moment to answer the question:
What is Virtual Exchange?
VAMOS lead-trainer in Virtual Exchange, Mirjam Hauck (UNICollaboration), started the Masterclass by creating an understanding of VE and how important it is to promote and foster the use of all languages used by the educators and students involved in the educational process. She addressed the aims of VE, its terminology, and the different models enrolled in it. Mirjam also considered the significance of using “Critical VE” aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to create action for change and public engagement, creating equity, inclusion, and social justice in short, mid, and long terms. Together with Mirjam, the educators present in the Masterclass could also count on the interpellation of Sara Pittarello (UNICollaboration) and Teresa Calderón (University of Valladolid), adding to the discussion.
The session had the active contribution of the participants coming from Brazil, Honduras, Italy and Sweden. They had a rich space to share their thoughts and experiences and provide each other with their learnings, aspirations, and expectations for the future. The participants shared their main takeaways from the training course and discussed different perspectives they had and could have developed during this time.
At the end of the meeting, there was a Q&A session to clarify any questions and doubts that could have arisen during the Masterclass. The aim is to raise awareness and also discover the advantages of Virtual Exchange for Education for Sustainable Development.
The meeting was a space for reflection and integration, where mutual collaboration and a hive mind approach have been built as part of VAMOS.