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Brazil Canada Knowledge Exchange – Mobilization

2011/07/04

Knowledge Mobilization: Our partnership depends on regular knowledge exchange at both informal and formal levels: among the co-investigators and partners ourselves; among our larger groups of local research teams; between all of us and our students; among pre-service, in-service and practicing teachers and then extending outward beyond these groups to the larger academic community and the many interested parties from around the world who follow our blogs, twitter feeds, Vimeo and Youtube videos, and Facebook sites. We are finding a positive response to our experimentation with using such social network sites for serious information and intellectual exchange. These postings are in both English and Portuguese. As currently  being experimented with by the Centre for Globalization and Cultural Studies and the National Project blog, maintained by graduate students, three levels of connection and interaction are in play. We will maintain and build on these. The innermost circle will be devoted to formal, academic co-creation and consultation within a restricted community of co-investigators committed to dedicated collaboration linking our formal partnership sites. Within our team, we will maintain regular monthly contact through email and complementary skype calls, schedule at least one full team videoconference a year, and pursue opportunities for partial team meetings at conferences during this period. A second layer encircling that will be designed for looser engagement between our respective local research groups, who may well have their own separate blogs and sites for document sharing. A third outer encircling layer will encompass the broader interested public who may wish to follow our progress and interact with us more sporadically, digitally and in local events in their areas. The idea is to promote the co-creation and multidirectional flow of knowledge across multiple sectors, creating new forms of digital connectivity to complement our face to face community interactions.

Digital technologies: Digital technologies will be used to facilitate all three circles of research co-creation and dissemination. The main videoconferencing facility at the Manitoba Research Centre for Globalization and Cultural Studies is designed to exchange, capture and archive research based on a Tandberg system linked to an interactive digital whiteboard. It can connect to up to 5 sites simultaneously. This will be used for intensive co-creation across sites if we can manage access elsewhere as seems possible. The digital components of transnational literacies require innovative thinking about how to employ new technologies for the cross-cultural co-creation of knowledge. Links to sample videos of our work, interactive, presentational, and testimonial, are  cited at the end of the References section of this application.  The project will also use social software tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, and photo or bookmark-sharing systems. The emphasis will be on low bandwidth and universal access. Existing online communities and social networks such as Vimeo YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook will also be used to supplement sharing information and ideas and maintain less intense contact on a more regular basis. These sites are proving useful for friendly regular contact and the exchange of information and newly
published research. They also enable us to place the Brazil/Canada relation within a larger, less formal international context.  We are committed to exploring the potential of new media as they emerge. We believe the non-interactive nature of web pages is making them less attractive for the kinds of active inter-connections we envisage, but will maintain a low bandwidth web page for the project, with appropriate links, to add to our partnership visibility.

Regular Workshop Meetings: The workshop schedule, working titles, locations, and allocation of organizational responsibilities are indicated elsewhere. The workshops are a central spine in our plans for research sharing, training, outreach and further project development. Each workshop will combine academic research dissemination with two days of intensive workshop  participation aimed at student or teacher development, building on the specific needs, interests and strengths of the host site, and reaching out to the local community. While English will probably be the dominant language of participation, we hope to enable some sessions in Portuguese with English translation and provide translation into Portuguese for some of the English
sessions. CNPq provides some funding for such initiatives in Brazil and we may be able to arrange with the Glendon translation studies program to obtain course credit for some translation in Canada. While our partnership will work together in English, we want to ensure that selective translation is available for sessions directed to larger audiences beyond our working group. We will hold four workshops (in addition to National Project meetings) bringing our teams together to explore different dimensions of the theoretical and practical challenges we face and to enable a short period of intensive training for students and junior faculty. Where possible, we will coordinate workshop meetings in Brazil with those of the National Project. With appropriate
permissions, we will videotape and archive interviews with key participants, conference papers, audience question and answer sessions, and round table discussions for sharing within our group and, where feasible, with others beyond it.

In the Classroom: As indicated in the World Bank Report, Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy, teacher training needs to change from traditional learning modes  to lifelong learning imaginaries in which teachers become lifelong learners, working collaboratively to “keep up to date with new knowledge, pedagogical ideas, and technology”(xx). Our knowledge mobilization plan is designed to encourage the integration of transnational literacies into classrooms in ways that respect the needs of local communities, in Canada and Brazil, and
encourage civic engagement.

Academic Publication and Dissemination: Publication decisions will be handled by the team as a whole and then delegated to an individual or sub-group from within our ranks. We will publish books with academic publishers as well as articles in refereed journals and specialjournal issues developed from each workshop. Sample volume or issue titles include: Teaching Transnational Literacies in Canada and Brazil, Democratizing the Research Imagination, What Makesa Cross-Cultural Partnership Work?, English as an International Language in Canada and Brazil, and Transculturalism, Multilingualism, and Teachers’ Formation. All research results will be made available via open access. Published documents in peer reviewed journals may require copyright agreements for the first year but after that a dedicated Dspace community will be used for the project to ensure continuous archival and open access to research outputs. The press interested in our first volume makes all books available via Google afterthe first year.

The goal is to change the culture of research collaboration and knowledge exchange: exchanging materials in advance of meetings, capturing discussions for future reference and follow through, and maintaining regular exchange throughout theyear. Through our use of new technologies, we will expand the audience for serious academic thinking beyond exclusively academic publications, sharing ourpleasure in the work we do with others beyond our immediate circle in the hope of widening opportunities for meaningful engagement in knowledge co-creation.

Our project builds on the partnership between the Centre for Globalization and Cultural Studies at the University of Manitoba (directed by Diana Brydon) and the National Curriculum Project in English at the University of Sao Paulo (directed by Walkyria Monte Mor and Lynn Mario de Souza). From this core, we are partners with colleagues at the University of Winnipeg, Glendon College, York University, and the University of Waterloo in Canada and the State University of Mato Grosso do Sul, the Federal University of Alagoas, the Federal University of Sergipe, the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio, and APLIEMS (Association of English Teachers of Mato Grosso do Sul) in Brazil. Each co-investigator brings distinctive expertise to this project. Our co-creation of knowledge and understanding will synthesize and build on existing work across the disciplines with the aim of mobilizing our findings in accessible ways in classroom and web-based settings, building institutional capacity, and training the next generation of teachers, translators, and researchers in both countries.

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