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Digital exchange studies put the University of Gävle on the map


In Gävle, Swedish and Belgian student teachers get together to share their experiences of the teaching profession, even though they are not in the same room. At the University of Gävle, digital aids for internationalisation are on the rise.

“The best thing is that the students come in contact with people in another country. There’s a lot of talk about internationalisation and the importance of incorporating culture into the curriculum. For students studying to become English teachers, this becomes natural when they communicate in English with the Belgian students,” says Lisa Johansson, a university lecturer and one of the people working with digital aids in the teaching programmes at the University of Gävle.

Now at the end of October, she and Therese Florentin, international coordinator, are visiting Belgium to discuss the cooperation with the university there. In addition, the university has been chosen as a good example of digital development and the University and Higher Education Council (UHR) has heard and asked Lisa Johansson and Therese Florentin to present a presentation about their cooperation with Belgium at the Erasmus Responsible Meeting in Stockholm on 21 November.

Lisa Johansson, universitetsadjunkt och en av dem som jobbar med digitala hjälpmedel i lärarutbildningarna på Högskolan i Gävle.

Lisa Johansson, lärare vid Högskolan i Gävle.

Last year, the government initiated an investigation aimed at developing a national strategy to strengthen internationalisation within Swedish higher education institutions.

“The focus is on the obstacles that need to be removed to get more students to come from other countries and for more students here to go on an exchange. Sweden is a small country that relies on exports, so we really need to establish ourselves in third countries to a larger degree and collaborate more with the Nordic countries and in Europe. It’s also a question of sustainability. We only have one Earth, so we need collaboration and communication between all countries if we’re going to be able to come together and take care of what we have,” says Therese Florentin, international coordinator at the University of Gävle.

Shorter exchanges

She also sees the need for new kinds of internationalisation.

“You have to be able to go on shorter exchanges, for example a one-week intensive exchange somewhere, and include international perspectives in the curriculum in different ways here at home. If we change what is considered as internationalisation, students can gain broader knowledge without going on physical exchanges,” says Therese Florentin.

Therese Florentin, internationell koordinator, Högskolan i Gävle.

Therese Florentin, internationell koordinator, Högskolan i Gävle.

Students studying remotely to become English teachers at the University of Gävle have had a few online meetings with students at a higher education institute in Belgium which the University has been cooperating with for several years. They connect through the online tool Adobe Connect, and then they can see and talk to each other via their computer screens.

“The students find it interesting and they’ve discussed topics like Brexit, what European identity means, and differences and commonalities between different countries when it comes to the field of teaching. For example, what salaries are like, teachers’ status, workloads and how you work with students needing special support,” says Lisa Johansson.

She also sees advantages in using this type of online exchange studies for students studying remotely.

“There are various reasons for why students studying remotely are perhaps unable to leave home and go out into the world. This is a way for them to still have contact with people in other countries. In the long-term, we hope that it will promote their interest in working with internationalisation in their future teaching careers.”

Text and photo: Anna Sällberg

Published by: Anna Sällberg Page responsible: Anders Munck Updated: 2019-10-23
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)