Developing international partnerships for teacher education through digital platforms: Possibilities for transformational partnership
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Burke, J., Redford, M., Coker, H. & McDonough, S. (2017) Developing international partnerships for teacher education through digital platforms: Possibilities for transformational partnership. Journal of the World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education. World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education, 2(1), pp. 8-22.
As a vital element of continuing teacher professional learning, the development of international and global competencies in teachers, and subsequently in their students, has drawn considerable interest worldwide. In an increasingly globalised world, digital technologies now provide the potential to connect teacher educators and their students across countries and contexts to collaborate in teaching and learning projects and research. As teacher educators from two universities at opposite ends of the globe the authors set out to establish an innovative collaboration between their two institutions in Teacher Education. The literature draws from three intersecting fields: First, internationalisation and globalisation in teacher education; second, the use of online learning platforms in continuing teacher education, and third, transformational partnerships in Teacher Education. In this paper a case study is examined to consider the possibilities, potential benefits and challenges in setting up the international partnership in Master’s level teacher professional development online programs. The case study is positioned within the context of the growing global push for internationalization and globalisation of teacher education in the professional learning and preparation of teachers. The concept of “dispersions” as dimensions of virtual teams, as well as the principles of transformational partnerships, are used to describe and explain some of the challenges the teacher educators confronted in establishing their partnership. The ways in which the online environment mediates the process of transformational change is a key theme. The authors reflect on and describe the initial phase of their attempts to establish a transformational collaborative partnership. They also outline the future plans for this partnership that emerge from their work as a virtual team. The knowledge generated in this research enables us to more deeply understand the complexities involved in such partnerships and provides insight into how teacher educators might approach international teaching collaborations.