When the pandemic began, teachers all over the World were given little notice to shift very quickly to distance learning or e-learning, sometimes with no training. In many cases, we had 48 hours or a weekend to reinvent lessons for an already planned curriculum, learn new technologies, find non-technology solutions to student learning, and figure out how to keep students engaged. But all of us eTwinning teachers, also had to balance home and work and how to do our life’s work from afar while simultaneously caring for students, grieving losses, and so many more challenges and obstacles!
By the way, for all those -mainly non-European -teachers who keep asking me about what eTwinning is about: eTwinning is the community for schools in Europe.
Since then I personally realized that there is only ONE thing that is still here for both me and my students, during these hard times: eTwinning!
eTwinning offers a platform for staff (teachers, head teachers, librarians, etc.), working in a school in one of the European countries involved, to communicate, collaborate, develop projects, share and, in short, feel and be part of the most exciting learning community in Europe. eTwinning is co-funded by the Erasmus+, the European program for Education, Training, Youth, and Sport. eTwinning promotes school collaboration in Europe through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by providing support, tools, and services for schools. eTwinning also offers opportunities for free and continuing online Professional Development for educators. Launched in 2005 as the main action of the European Commission’s eLearning Programme, eTwinning is co-funded by Erasmus+, the European program for Education, Training, Youth, and Sport, since 2014. Its Central Support Service is operated by European Schoolnet, an international partnership of 34 European Ministries of Education developing learning for schools, teachers, and pupils across Europe. eTwinning is further supported at the national level by 38 National Support Services.
The place where eTwinning magic really happens is the TwinSpace; a safe platform visible only to the teachers participating in a project. Students can also be invited to the TwinSpace to meet and collaborate with peers from their partner schools.
One of the most important elements of eTwinning is a collaboration among teachers, students, schools, parents, and local authorities. In eTwinning teachers work together and organize activities for their students. They have an active role, interact, investigate, make decisions, respect each other and learn 21st-century skills. eTwinning projects involve the contribution of each member of the team. Take inspiration and explore these awarded projects.
Finally, in eTwinning, our work is important and deserves to be shared and recognized locally, nationally, and Europe-wide. eTwinning recognizes the work carried out by teachers, students, and schools through National and European Quality Labels, eTwinning Awards, eTwinning Schools, and the eTwinning Portfolio.
Οur school inspiring eTwinning project, this year, was a project about the environment!
ABC: there is NO planet B is an eTwinning project that has partners from Turkey, Italy, and Greece. It is a collaborative, creative project on climate change and environmental challenges.
ABC stands for Awareness, Belief, Communication.
Pupils become aware of and are educated on environmental issues, they express their thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways, believe in their strengths, and suggest ways to make small changes towards this big challenge. The activities proposed in this project aim to help students realize how global warming resulting from climate change impacts Earth. They encourage them to take action to make the world a better place.
Throughout the project, students raise awareness and spread knowledge about the issue of Climate Change in their schools and local communities.
PSHE aim: To help schools to fulfill their statutory responsibility to support their cultural development and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities, and experiences of life. To participate in a collaborative project with different countries in Europe, to exchange ideas and reflections, to communicate thoughts using creative ways.
COMPUTING aim: To use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create content that accomplishes given goals, including collecting, analyzing, evaluating, and presenting data and information.
SCIENCE aim: To explore the causes and effects of climate change and raise awareness of the environmental challenges.
Presentation of the project to our schools and the other partners. Some activities include: Design of a logo, collaborative murals and artwork, posters and PPT presentations, collaborative Ebooks, formal letters to local MPs to raise awareness, Covid-19 and its impact, etc
The tasks have been discussed in a messenger or what’s app group with the other teachers and set by the leading schools; the activities and work produced have been shared in twinspace by all schools and the work process has been communicated using the journal. eTwinning Ambassadors clubs have been created to support the project as well as distant learning arrangements.
Depending on the activity, pupils have the opportunity to work independently, with talk partners, or in small groups and some have twinspace membership to share their work, enjoy and comment on the other schools’ work, and communicate their thoughts and feelings by joining in forums, work collaboratively.
The end products are collaborative ebooks filled with their creative work. Some activities include: Design of a logo, collaborative murals, and artwork, posters and PPT presentations, collaborative e-books, formal letters to local MPs to raise awareness, wars and their impact on the environment, etc
All in all, our project, helps us to widen our horizons, reconsider our perspectives, improve self-esteem, increase our understanding of different environmental issues, enhance our awareness of the environment and prove that “communication is the basis of understanding others and the world”.
The process is always constantly about learning to learn collaboratively, building an inclusive and equitable environment for all.
The pupils have been inspired and motivated and participated equally in the shaping of our project.