Intercultural Learning in the Online World

In a world as interconnected as the one we live in today, the importance of the online world for Intercultural Learning (ICL) cannot not be underlined enough. So many interactions occur online for students and professionals who are involved in education and we need to know how the connections in the online world affect those we work with and those we care about. By its own nature, the online world is a place for the interaction of cultures.

Global Education Conference 2012

The Global Education Conference 2012 will occur during International Education Week (November 12-16, 2012) and will take place entirely online. It is an event for students, educators and organizations that aims to build education-related connections, support cultural awareness and recognize diversity. While the conference does not focus on the use of information and communication technologies in education, it is interesting to see how it will take advantage of the new technologies to offer presentations and discussions on video conference calls and film screenings that promote global education. The mission of the conference revolves around the sharing of:

ideas, examples, and projects related to connecting organizations, educators and classrooms, with a strong emphasis on promoting global awareness, fostering global competency, and inspiring action towards solving real–world problems

The Global Education Conference 2012 is free and online. Session topics include using social networking to improve quality of education, how to teach with internet resources, and how to apply principles from the United Nations Earth Charter. Other topics related to ICL address university partnerships in crosscultural programming, leadership in organizations and more. The conference will also include keynote speakers and some film screenings online. If you would like to propose a topic for a session, you may do so until October 15.

At AFS we too are increasing our presence in the virtual world through the use of social networking media and by connecting those interested in ICL through our online Intercultural Link Newsletter, this blog, our Digital ICL Library, and some aspects of the Learning Program. As an international organization, much of our interaction occurs by way of conference calls, email, online publication sharing, etc. As we improve our own virtual intercultural communications, we can better foster global competencies that strengthen the intercultural experiences of young people studying abroad and of those who volunteer and dedicate their lives to AFS. For those of us connected to the online world, Intercultural Learning is key to accomplishing this, and the online Global Education Conference is a great place to start.

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