NETWORKING TOOLS IN VIRTUAL EXCHANGE FOR COOPERATION AT UNIVERSITIES IN BULGARIA AND UKRAINE
Innovative information technologies and the rapid rate of information updates reveal the need for more effective two-way communication, facilitation of interaction and collaboration, information exchange and flexibility. The article presents a research on cooperation tools in the virtual exchange project between the Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University (Ukraine) and the Trakia University (Bulgaria). A brief description of a specialized course in virtual exchanges related to energy efficiency psychology for future entrepreneurs and industrial workers is presented. In addition to covering the subject matter, educational information is designed in such a way that it enables one to acquire and practice ICT skills, in particular, to use various collaboration tools allowing interaction between students and teachers and having implications for learning strategies. The article’s goal is to test software tools that can be used for virtual exchange in higher education institutions at international level, evaluate their attractiveness to students, and determine whether the use of already familiar collaboration tools influences the general impression from virtual exchange. The experimental work involved 12 useful tools for cooperation in the information field. Leaders and outsiders were identified, that is, tools that participants in the virtual exchange preferred outside the exchange process and those that the participants never used. During each week of the virtual exchange course, new tools for teamwork were used. Leaders in terms of satisfaction with the process of virtual exchange were Skype, Zoom, Webex, Google G-suite, Workplace by Facebook, Cliqtalk, Padlet. The study provides a theoretical basis for informing all individuals interested in the virtual exchange about the relationship between specific tools for collaborative work in the process of virtual exchange and their influence on each other. The results will be taken into account for a more in-depth analysis of the tools functionality in the virtual exchange process. It was also important that absolutely new tools for virtual exchange could have a high assessment in terms of satisfaction with the process and its results. This suggests the motivation to learn, especially in the field of cooperation with the help of information technology, which is so appreciated by young people.
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