Virtual Activities to Promote Multiculturalism and Sustainability of International Partnerships

Virtual Activities to Promote Multiculturalism and Sustainability of International Partnerships

Jiyoon Yoon, Insoon Han
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9634-1.ch028
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This paper is a report on the findings of a study to measure the effects of virtual activities for promoting diversity/multiculturalism and sustaining international partnerships in science teacher education between the America and Korea. Partnership program website and international workshop are the virtual activities in this study to ensure continued collaboration between two countries. Journal and survey with the science teacher candidates, assessment methods the teacher candidates developed for their students, and the number of international partnership programs between two countries are the data resources in this study. Findings indicate that 1) the American and Korean teacher candidates learn diverse knowledge for teaching science after the virtual international activities; 2) they show more consideration on multicultural/diversity aspects as future global science teachers; and 3) these activities continuously improve international relationships between two countries.
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International collaboration becomes more critically required in American education system to improve teacher quality and student performance. In the field of science education, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has reported that the American students are less proficient than those of other OECD countries in science performance; in specific, American science achievement in PISA 2012 is about the average of the OECD member countries, and 29th of 65 countries included (NCES, 2012). In addition, recent research conducted by National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP, 2012) shows that only about one third of eighth graders are at or above the science proficiency level. The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (Martin, Mullis, & Foy, 2008) found that American fourth-graders are achieving low, middle school students not so good in science, and high school students struggle with science. These international test results reveal that the U.S. needs to improve student performance in science.

Key Terms in this Chapter

NCES: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.

Sustainability: The ability to continue a defined condition indefinitely.

Multiculturalism: Multiculturalism is the phenomenon of multiple groups of cultures existing within one society, largely due to the arrival of immigrant communities, or accepting and advocating this phenomenon.

Partnership: An association of two or more people or groups as partners.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT): An umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications.

NAEP: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. Paper-and-pencil assessments are conducted periodically in mathematics, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, and geography, U.S. history and in Technology and Engineering Literacy? (TEL). Beginning in 2017, NAEP will begin administering technology-based assessments (TBA) for mathematics, reading, and writing, with additional subjects added in 2018 and 2019.

Association of International Educators (NAFSA): NAFSA was founded in 1948 as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA) to promote the professional development of US college and university officials responsible for assisting and advising the 25,000 foreign students who had come to study in the United States after World War II. To reflect the now well-established role of NAFSA members in all aspects of international education and exchange, the name of the association was changed once more: In May 1990, the membership formally renamed the organization NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The acronym was retained to reflect NAFSA's proud past and broad name recognition.

Collaboration: The act or process of working one with another.

PISA: The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students' reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years. First conducted in 2000, the major domain of study rotates between mathematics, science, and reading in each cycle. PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem solving. By design, PISA emphasizes functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of compulsory schooling. PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and is conducted in the United States by NCES. The next assessment is in 2015.

Internship: Any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession.

Virtual Activities: The virtual activities are online activities to ensure continued collaboration between countries; for example, online conferences, websites, and electronic research newspapers between countries. The international partnership program website and international online workshop are specific virtual activities used in this study.

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