Concept of the International Project (IPC)
With the International Project (IPC) the idea of project work is transferred to the didactics in higher education. Elementary School teacher students form international online communities and work on a (mostly empirical) research project concerning the curriculum of elementary education and didactics. The professors can structure the research questions differently or the question to work on can be open choice.
Cooperation is carried out via interactive web 2.0 tools such as discussion boards, blogs and wikis. The IPC is about project work, experience in autonomous and proactive work and about developing expertise by using modern web- and communication-tools. Above that the professional expertise of the students is broadened with cross-cultural contacts, cooperation and the topic related comparison in the framework of the curriculum for elementary teacher training.
The students from different partner universities choose a topic out of the subject of their studies, which is interesting and appealing to them. They form a team (online community) with students from other participating universities. Togehter, the team develops a research question, plans and carries out the project and eventually presents the results.
The IPC-concept is based on a constructive understanding of learning, i.e. collecting information independently and constructing knowledge in a communicative process. Moreover the enhancement of project skills is very important. Besides developing one self’s initiative, the ability to work in a team and the willingness to communicate in a group is required. Using multifaceted web 2.0 technologies the participants of the course acquire competencies in that field, too. This is only possible through the varied possibilities of collaborative web 2.0 platforms. For example collaboratively designed questionnaires can be filled in online. Questions can be discussed synchronically via chat or asynchronically on discussion boards. Concepts can be worked out in wikis.
While coordinating their projects and working in teams, the students are confronted with several situations asking for persistence and frustration tolerance. In the context of group-dynamic processes, students have to take their stand in a team. Reflection and evaluation about these circumstances and about the gained strategies prepare the students for future job-related projects. These processes can’t be thought theoretically, they need to be experienced.