Building Knowledge without Borders: Using ICT to Develop a Binational Education Research Community

Building Knowledge without Borders: Using ICT to Develop a Binational Education Research Community

Elsie M. Szecsy
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-046-4.ch004
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The purpose of this chapter is to report on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) as a “leveling device” between colleagues dispersed across the United States and México, who shared similar education research interests but came from different research traditions. The author reports on the use of various ICT tools in a process that began in 2006 with a small planning group distributed across México and the United States; grew to include additional participants who met face-to-face in Monterrey, México, in 2007; and continued afterward into 2008 through ICT-mediated mechanisms that were structured to maintain purposeful linkages among colleagues dispersed across two countries. Through this slow, deliberate process, the participants increased their capacity for achieving a broader focus on a shared problem as a research community by learning each other’s perspectives. The strategic use of ICT to support collaboration across borders—in real time and asynchronously—assisted in building a binational education research community.
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This report represents one person’s impressions about a professional development process among education researchers, practitioners, and policymakers around shared interests and concerns in an environment rich with institutional, organizational, political, cultural, instructional, and other asymmetries related to teaching and learning English in México and Spanish in the United States. I served as a participant observer in this process and introduced various information and communication technology to serve particular purposes throughout the process. For instance, when the planning group outgrew a telephone conference call from one of the participants’ phone numbers, I arranged for a free conference calling service where everyone called an outside number to meet. Also, I developed and reorganized the website from a planning tool at the beginning of the project, to a publicity tool, to an archive of symposium activities, culminating in its use to organize binational collaborators around the development of a multimedia resource book. For the face-to-face meeting in Monterrey, I advised on information and communication technology used to facilitate communication across two languages—Spanish and English. We multi-tasked the simultaneous translation services to serve two purposes: first, to facilitate communication between monolingual speakers, and second, to record and archive on the project website for future reference.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Justice: Acknowledgment of equal human rights among all people.

Development Communication: The practice of applying processes, strategies and principles of communication to achieve positive social change.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT): An ensemble of devices that provides for the exchange of messages. Includes but is not limited to print and electronic media, telephony, video, and multimedia.

Social Equality: Achievement of the same status among all people.

Globalization: The transnational exchange of ideas, languages, popular culture, and goods and services.

Binational Education Research: Collaborative investigation of shared problems in education by participants in two nations.

Education Equity: Fair, impartial distribution of educational resources.

Professional Development: Increase in the capacity of adults in organizations to achieve goals.

Self-Determination: Free choice of one’s own volition, without compulsion by others.

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