Online schooling: nurturing a new generation of internationally aware learners

“There is a rising trend in families travelling the world, educating their kids themselves while on the move”

Online schools are fostering children and young people’s international awareness by providing greater opportunities to connect and develop alongside peers from all over the world. 

Online and distance learning is already well-established in the context of post-secondary education. However, online education for school-age children is becoming increasingly popular as more families are seeking out alternative options to mainstream school.

Faster broadband speeds and ever-greater access to the internet, along with huge advances in technology over the past decade, have made online schools possible. Platforms such as My Online Schooling provide a full-time, curriculum-led education to serve as a complete alternative to a traditional school for those who need it.

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Bringing the world home to Missouri

“We want to expose students to the world to enhance their comfort with cultural differences and to prepare them for successful careers in a global economy”

Since its founding in 1996, Cenet, a nonprofit in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has provided affordable study abroad experiences for American and international students, and work-based exchange opportunities in the US for young adults around the world, the organisation’s executive director Robyn Walker writes.

Having grown up in nearby southern Illinois, I was Cenet’s first study abroad student (to the sunny island of Malta), and now have the privilege of serving as the organization’s executive director.  Cenet recently revised its mission – “to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration” – and with that in mind, I want us to have more impact in our local area.

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The uncertain future of Britain’s education sector

“When overseas European teachers can no longer settle… the likelihood that they will opt to choose the UK as their base will be diminished”

It is no secret that Britain’s teaching workforce is struggling. Last year, every single secondary subject – aside from Biology and English – fell short of recruitment targets.

This January, Tes estimated this shortfall to be close to a thousand. In some subjects, such as Physics, hundreds of teaching spaces are going unfilled; despite initiatives and marketing campaigns being introduced by the Department of Education, domestic talent is not enough to fill teaching positions in UK schools.

Meanwhile, Britain has been hurtling towards an ever-likelier no-deal Brexit. Despite parliament managing to push through a bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31st  last week, Boris Johnson is still hinting at the prospect of crashing out on this date without an agreement, in a move which would defy law, but is still very much a possibility.

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High school exchange: the transformation of an ever growing programme

“Exchange programmes have created extensive networks to support not only in-country exchange students but also host families”

With thousands of high school exchange students travelling abroad in 2018, it’s no surprise that such study abroad programmes are growing in popularity within the area of international study. Ivan Santos asks how did we get here, and what’s next for a programme in constant evolution?

The programme

High school exchange year programmes offer international students, aged 14-18, the unique opportunity to study a full academic year or semester abroad at a local high school. While English speaking countries rank at the very top of the list, wherever in the world that a student decides to go they experience a new culture, live as a member of a host family and improve their language skills.

Students—and their parents—see the programme as an opportunity to study abroad early on during their school life, benefiting from both language and cultural immersion at an earlier age. The programme has dramatically evolved in recent years, from a basic student enrollment and support process to the sophisticated operation it is today.

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Future of UK academia hangs on UK immigration policy

“For academic visitors, applying for a UK visitor visa is now akin to rolling a dice”

Immigration reform is critical if the UK is to retain standards and reputation for academic excellence, explains immigration lawyer Anne Morris.

The UK immigration system is failing UK academia. Visa processing is protracted, expensive and unpredictable, undermining the efforts of educational institutions to attract and retain global academic talent.

The challenges are affecting both short-term academic visitors and longer-term recruitment programmes. The sector is missing out on staff and speakers and is in danger of losing its standing as a leading global hub of academic excellence.

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Developing Effective International Strategies

“Strategy is about more so much more than glittering generalities or the constraining rigidity of fixed plans”

With the sector facing unprecedented challenges – and with internationalisation at the heart of many of these challenges – now is a critical time to think deeply about what constitutes an effective internationalisation strategy.

A recent review of some 52 university strategies undertaken by Goal Atlas found that nearly two-thirds of these ended in 2021.  When I spoke at the annual conference of the British Universities’ International Liaison Association (BUILA) in July, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my session on developing effective international strategies in uncertain times was the largest attended session of the conference.

Clearly, there is both a need and an appetite for strategy. But what makes a strategy a good strategy?

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The importance of community in international student accommodation

“Even in accommodation which is specifically for students, it is possible for young people to feel isolated”

Where you live is an extremely important aspect of international student education. Living arrangements do have an emotional impact on students, whether they realise it or not.

For international students who are coming to study in the UK for the first time, the experience of living abroad can feel overwhelming. Most will be far away from friends and family, embarking on an entirely new chapter in their lives.

Cultivating a sense of community within halls of residence and private accommodation is therefore extremely important, particularly for those which are marketed towards international students.

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What should universities do now a no-deal Brexit seems likely?

“Few academics believe a no-deal Brexit will be good for the education system”

Regardless of how you feel about Britain leaving the European Union, there was a time when not securing a deal seemed farcical. Yet, with the new deadline of October 31st now imminent, this unfortunately now looks almost certain.

This would have dramatic implications for the UK, but one of the greatest could be in the education sector. From universities to student accommodation, there are measures which should be considered – and planned for – in the event of a no-deal.

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How different will a UK Boarding school be in 10 years time?

“Classrooms will certainly look different with mobile chatbots offering support to individual students and more personalised learning plans”

With the technological advances in the last 10 years, it is a challenge to predict future changes in another 10 years.  However, there is so much scope for existing tech to be developed further, it is a fair guess that many of the ideas outlined below will make a tangible impact on the UK Boarding school sector.

Chatbots are already an established part of academic and admissions support teams at some UK and U.S. Universities. At Georgia Tech one online support worker ‘Jill Watson’ helped students on Professor Ashok Goel’s Knowledge-Based Artificial intelligence class, for a whole year, without students knowing she was a chatbot.

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Could transparency drive better deals for TNE?

“With the number of HEIs delivering UK education overseas growing, universities face a challenge”

To hear that a competitor is worse off than yourself is not always an unpleasant experience. But what if you don’t have a clue what colleagues are paying for a similar service? This is the issue faced by the majority of universities which are paying publishers to give transnational students and staff access to academic content. 

Currently, each of the UK higher education institutions (catering for transnational education (TNE) students, needs to negotiate contracts with a myriad of publishers to give those students the same access to journals, databases and e-books as they do to their registered students in the UK. There’s little transparency and consistency around the licencing content agreements between libraries and publishers which leads to confusion and inconsistency.

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