Title: “Connecting teachers and students of Education around Europe in Virtual Exchange: The VALIANT project”

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Informació de la proposta:

This month the new Erasmus+ project VALIANT (Virtual Innovation and Support Networks for Teachers) will be launched. The project aims to help primary and secondary teachers overcome feelings of isolation by offering them and students of education the chance to take part in virtual collaboration projects with colleagues from all over Europe. The project is led by the University of León and brings together ten universities as well as ministries of education from Castilla y León and Galicia, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The project has received financing of 800,000€ from the European Commission and will run until March 2024.

The project addresses the need in Europe for teachers in rural areas of Europe and in other contexts of isolation (such as that being experienced currently by many teachers due to the pandemic) to have access to opportunities for professional development, to learn from experts, to collaborate with colleagues in different countries and to act as mentors for future teachers. Now more than ever, teachers require the skills and the opportunities to use virtual environments to overcome isolation and to engage in training, mentoring and collaboration, thereby improving their motivation and their sense of satisfaction with their profession.

VALIANT will focus on bringing together teachers and students of education around Europe who are working or studying in rural or isolated contexts to take part in projects of Virtual Exchange. Teachers will have the opportunity to share their experiences of teaching with students of education and they will be able to collaborate with other teachers working in similar contexts in other countries.

The project coordinator Dr. Robert O’Dowd explains: “By participating in Virtual Innovation and Support Networks, teachers in rural areas and student teachers will have opportunities for innovation, collaboration, digital and intercultural competence development and career planning which would otherwise be difficult to access in rural areas or in times of enforced isolation. Virtual Exchanges will also make the teaching profession more attractive to student teachers by engaging them in authentic learning and teaching scenarios.”

The first round of Virtual Exchanges will take place between September and December 2021 and the project team is currently taking registrations from teachers at both primary and secondary level who are interested in taking part in the Virtual Exchange programme.