This project was one of the winners of the 2015 State Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund created by State Department in 2011 to support alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges. A team of alumni from Moldova, all experts in international education led by Daniela Munca-Aftenev (Muskie) and Olga Morozan (Access Microscholarship) elaborated a project which was selected from among 800 applications received from worldwide alumni.
The project aims to inform, train, involve and empower 35 English Language teachers from various regions of Moldova and 12 teacher-trainers from Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and Crimea (who have extensive previous experience in international online collaborative projects) to work together online and partnership with American schools and universities using the Internet and other new communication technologies while participating in various civic engagement initiatives. Our goal is to enhance understanding of the importance of international collaboration and civic activism in Moldovan schools and universities on a national level. The project will empower a regional network of socially active teachers and students ready to reach out to their communities and learn from American colleagues while engaging in various community development projects. The concept of online collaborative project based teaching is very new to Moldovan teachers. At this moment there are very few projects
The i-Engage initiative will create an online regional network which will offer opportunities for international collaboration and civic engagement and will inform, train, engage and empower 35 Moldovan teachers and 12 teacher-trainers from Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus to use web tools to become responsible, globally competent citizens. Our major goal is to bring online tools into the Moldovan schools through project based teaching and learning, learn from our colleagues from Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus and connect students to their peers from US through Youth Service America and iEARN networks, two of our most trusted partners. Project team members have already been successfully involved in several international online collaborative projects and would like to share from our skills and expertise with Moldovan teachers and students from various regions of Moldova, while connecting virtually to EFL educators from Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus.
There are going to be five stages of the project aiming to:
1) Inform participants of various online community projects for youth developed by project strategic partners: YSA http://www.gysd.org/ (Youth Service America) and iEARN http://www.iearn.org/ (International Education and Resource Network)
2) Train participants in implementing online project based teaching and learning using online tools such as Moodle, blogs, Facebook, wikis, forums through a series of by-monthly webinars and live sessions through Google Hangouts, Skype and Facebook. The 12 teacher-trainers from Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and Crimea who have extensive previous experience in international online collaborative projects will act as online trainers and mentors.
3) Engage participants in collaborative international online community development projects, such as Global Youth Service Day http://www.gysd.org/ or Adobe Youth Voices http://youthvoices.adobe.com/ ;
4) Establish online collaboration with American students and teachers from US, actively engaged in iEARN and YSA initiatives;
5) Create a virtual regional network: i-Engage aiming to connect teachers and students from Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Crimea and US in order to share from best practices in online civic engagement project based teaching and learning.