Exchange 2.0 is a collective effort of educators, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies to increase the number and diversity of students worldwide who have a profound cross cultural experience as part of their education, emphasing on internationalization of education, the traditional models of international education, such as physical exchange programs, have not reached the overwhelming majority of youth. According to the Institute of International Education 2012 Open Doors "Fast Facts" Report, in the United States, less than 2% of college students study abroad. The number for high school students is lower, according to the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel.
A key innovation in this field is the development and refinement of diverse models of virtual exchange, defined as technology-enabled, sustained, people-to-people cross-cultural education programs. Virtual exchange programs can complement and extend physical exchange experiences, fuel demand for physical exchange if conducted at an early age, and provide an alternative means of exchange for the 99% of youth who currently do not participate in any form of study abroad or educational exchange program. Since 2003, the United States Department of State has recognized virtual exchanges as an important component of public diplomacy through its Global Connections and Exchange Program (GCE). The United States Department of Education has partnered with the private sector to create tools for educators wanting to use technology to engage classrooms with the world through the "Exchange 2.0: A Teachers Guide for Collaboration on the Internet".
In light of a potential proliferation of new approaches to exchange, it becomes critical that there are means of assessing the impact of such programs so that those that are most effective can be replicated and scaled. As such, a key contribution of the Exchange 2.0 effort is helping to advance the state of the art in measuring the educational impact of exchange programming.