Angela Wiseman, Ph.D., an associate professor of literacy education at the NC State College of Education, has always been interested in international collaboration. She holds an appointment as a scholar of multiliteracies research at the University of Tampere in Finland and will expand her international work this year with partnerships in Australia and South Africa.
“I feel that opportunities to collaborate with international colleagues are really key to my own knowledge of children’s literacy practices. Global perspectives enhance my understanding of research and teaching,” she said.
Wiseman will have the chance to collaborate with even more international colleagues after receiving funding from the University Global Partnership Network’s Research Collaboration Fund for “Using Digital Literacy Tools to Document Young Children’s Understanding of Place.”
The University Global Partnership Network, a collaboration between NC State and three international universities, focuses on promoting research with global impact and developing sustainable research, education and knowledge transfer through collaboration.
For her project, Wiseman has partnered with NC State College of Education Professor Kevin Oliver, Ph.D., as well as with faculty at the University of Wollongong in Australia. The project will use picture books to facilitate discussion and critical thinking among children about where they live and how they define their spaces, allowing children to use digital tools to record these thoughts.
“We want to actually articulate methods for looking at children’s perspectives and how they use digital tools to document and respond to picture books,” Wiseman said. “We’re really going to be focusing on methodologies across our datasets and developing global perspectives on how children respond to picture books.”
Wiseman didn’t intend to work on two international projects simultaneously until a professor from Stellenbosch University in South Africa contacted her.
The conversation led to a collaboration between NC State, Stellenbosch University and Strasbourg University in France on “Multilingualism, Identity and Education: Global Perspectives on Research, Policy and Pedagogy,” which recently received funding from the Academic Consortium for the 21st Century’s Special Project Fund.
The AC21 is a partnership between 18 institutions that seeks to promote cooperation in education and research across cultural and regional boundaries. Wiseman’s project will examine global perspectives on language education. Focus will be placed on how language and cultural diversity relate to educational contexts during a conference that will be held this October in South Africa.
“It builds on education, social work and linguistics and cuts across a lot of different disciplines,” Wiseman said. “It’ll be a small conference that incorporates graduate students and professors to look at how we can collaborate together in future research projects.”
Although both collaborations are in their early stages, Wiseman said she already sees potential for long-term partnership with the international institutions.
“It’s exciting and I really see that both of these projects have the potential to continue in various ways,” she said. “I see both of these as relationships that can be sustained.”