Learning Mobility is evolving further thanks to the support of the EU policies and the Erasmus Plus program, which established qualitative standards as strategy and guideline to follow.
Scuola Centrale Formazione started working on this trend since 2015, with the launch of the Erasmus Mobility Charter and further thanks to innovative strategic partnerships aimed to develop new mobility options.
Substainability, Digitalization, Inclusion and Space for Cooperation are the key concepts. Under this perspective Scuola Centrale Formazione promoted the project “Virtual Mobility in the VET system”, a KA2 Erasmus cooperation project, based on an exchange of best practices about solutions for virtual internationalization of competences. Virtual Mobility is not an absolute and exclusive option, but blended and pedagogic alternance solutions can be a very good way to enrich internationalization programs.
VIMOINVET project identified in the Virtual Exchange, an innovative pedagogic solution to learn peer to peer through technologies and the help of a facilitation, the best way to do a blended mobility. That means a preparatory virtual cooperation among learners lasting a period of time (on average 3 – 5 weeks) before the physical mobility; a period of in presence mobility that could be a short one (2-3 weeks); a follow up virtual exchange to finalize the project; a possible reciprocal physical mobility (so that all learners travel and concretely visit and experience the “other” context).
Virtual Exchange in the VET context brings furthermore concrete and interesting results when the learners are engaged in “producing” something concrete, evidence of their international work.
A weather station was the final product Italian and French learners from the Mechanics (Fondazione Cavanis Chioggia) and IT sectors (Lyceè Newton Clichy) had to create within the project “Intensive Europe” (KA2 Erasmus Plus), where Scuola Centrale Formazione, as partner, promoted the blended mobility and the Virtual Exchange pedagogy, as a way to finalize a concrete product.
Nowadays 2 weather stations (in Chioggia and Clichy) have been created and planted in both schoolyards with the proud of learners and teachers.
More over Virtual Exchange was very helpful for Italian and Spanish learners from the sectors of graphics (CFP Stimmatini Verona) and IT (ITS Caparella in Leida), who worked at the creation of a video game starting a virtual cooperation (virtual exchange), and continuing the project with a physical mobility of Italian learners in Leida (Spain).
Blended mobility can be an added value when learners work using the international dimension as mean to create something together, a product, an evidence, a learning object which can be valorized and showed off. Furthermore, working collaboratively using the virtual dimension and creating a learning object should be part of a larger learning project, which include the mobility as well. That is, considering the whole blended mobility project as part of the more general learning project a learner can have at formal and informal level.
Virtual Exchange activities brought some relevant results as well, calculated on a range of more than 200 students:
- General Satisfaction of the Virtual mobility experience (90%)
- Usefulness of the Virtual Exchange to improve English competence (82%
- Learners have mostly appreciated the help (facilitation) of the teachers (87%) and the activities in the online sessions (79%)
- Activity mostly appreciated in the online sessions was the dialogue activity (65%).
Moreover Virtual Exchange impact shyness, 25% learners confirm to feel less shy after this experience as they had to stay in front of a webcam speaking sometimes in English and cooperating with a peer from another country.
Francesca Drago, SCF