Networked Knowledge Communities in the 21st Century Classroom Practices: The Internationalization of Nursing Education through a Technology-Enabled Curriculum

Networked Knowledge Communities in the 21st Century Classroom Practices: The Internationalization of Nursing Education through a Technology-Enabled Curriculum

Heather Wharrad, Derek Chambers, Catrin Evans, Jackie Goode
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4757-2.ch002
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This chapter explores the emergence and current status of Networked Knowledge Communities (NKCs) in Higher Education in the United Kingdom and, specifically, in the field of nurse and healthcare education. In particular, the chapter focuses on how new technologies can enhance learning and provide opportunities to create online communities at a global level, thereby contributing to the internationalization of curricula and the development of cross-cultural awareness within these communities. The chapter provides a brief overview of what we understand as “internationalization” and “cultural awareness” followed by a critical review of the recent literature debating the pedagogical possibilities and implications of using digital technologies to develop NKCs. The chapter concludes with an evaluation of the evidence for the existence of “primitive” NKCs within the curriculum at this point in time and expectations for their emergence in the future, along with recommendations and suggestions for future research.
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Networked knowledge communities (NKCs) emerging in this pervasive digital era of Web 2.0 and cloud technologies will soon be impacting profoundly on how we teach and how we learn. NKCs have the potential to transform pedagogical practices and how we design and deliver our curriculum moving us towards complex and interweaving, formal and informal, dynamic learning spaces where knowledge is created and shared. As a consequence of these emerging NKCs, the promise of borderless education at a global level is coming into view. NKCs offer healthcare education and practice a range of promises, challenges and new opportunities to harness these non-traditional epistemic spaces (Boulos & Wheeler, 2007) to address current agendas around internationalization and cultural competence.

The focus of this chapter is to explore the findings from a literature review (search strategy can be found in the Additional Reading for this Chapter) on the ways in which new technologies, in what might be described as rudimentary NKCs, have been used to engender curriculum internationalization and cultural awareness in a nurse education context. This will provide evidence to establish the extent to which NKCs exist within Higher Education in the UK, understand the underlying pedagogical principles linked to their success and lessons learned along the way. Although the context for the discussion is mainly within nursing, the debates are relevant to health care and other discipline areas especially those courses leading to a professional as well as an academic award. We begin by stepping back briefly to explain what internationalization and cultural competence might mean and how they can be achieved, before going on to discuss the parts that technology and NKCs might play in facilitating these processes.

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