eTwinning projects have been a part of our students’ lives for some years now and they see them as opportunities to evolve and learn from one activity to another. eTwinning is a gate to a new world, a world of learning and knowing things through different methods, others than the ones used in traditional classes. “I am inclined to believe that eTwinning projects represent a fundamental part of our journey to succeed in life as they enable us to develop our writing skills and also help us to get a better insight into different customs.”, said Theo, one of the students involved in “Let’s explore Europe!”, an eTwinning project we had in partnership with schools from Poland, Italy, Greece, and Slovakia.
The project was a real challenge for the students who had to work in multinational teams in order to complete the most important task of the project: create an online guide of European capitals. They chose the parts of the research they wanted to carry out and discussed important aspects in the forum section. Once this step was completed, they started finding out information from the internet which meant they had to practice a very significant skill: being able to choose what is correct and what is not correct, what is relevant for their task and what is not and interpret the data in order to make it accessible to all project participants.
Another important task was the collaborative task in which students had to write about the traditional dishes in their countries in order to make them known to the other participants and to give them an insight in their culture from people living in the countries and not just copying information from the internet. They found our real-life information from students and teachers participating in the project. Also, as Valentina mentioned, “eTwinning projects are important because we learn to work in teams, interact with pupils from other countries, enrich our knowledge and even improve our English level.” And as a teacher, I am directly interested in offering my students learning opportunities and situations in which they can practice their English language skills. In addition, “eTwinning projects are important because they make us familiar with tasks, deadlines and interactive projects and activities, making us more responsible”, according to Adrian. These are aspects which mean a lot for their future as students who have to work against the clock, meeting deadlines, working on presentations and delivering the new data to their target audience.
“Planet Earth and Its Friends” was another project we carried on during the school year 2018-2019 and it involved working with teachers and students from Poland, Italy and Spain. It aimed at making the students more aware of the environment around them, to make them take action in their schools and local community and to work together on materials that can be used a pedagogic material in classes. The project started with exploring the vocabulary in English that is used to discuss issues about environment which was done using a mind map and making sure the students find out new words, expressions, idioms and proverbs which enrich their vocabulary. The purpose was for them to use online dictionaries in order to learn new things and discover new meanings.
“I am happy to say that this year’s project „Planet Earth and its friends” was one of my favorites. I had the chance to learn new things about our environment and to see how people work on helping it. I enjoyed working on „Giving new life to old things” because I was able to do everything by myself and to make an ornament using recycled materials. I would say this whole experience was great and it also opened my eye because I started to look out more and observe different things that happen in our world.” said Alexandra at the end of the project. They were given different objects which were about to be thrown away and asked to find a way to reuse them for their room. More students agreed with Alexandra and expressed their satisfaction regarding the topic and the tasks of the project, especially the before and after challenge in which they also learnt about new ways to recycle.
“Photo Reporters” was also a very interesting task as the students had to go around their towns and schools and take photos representing either good ways or bad ways in which people interact with the environment and later post them with a small comment in the padlet prepared especially for this task. In this way they had the opportunity to see what is going on in other institutions and towns, they discussed about what they had seen and they suggested other activities which could be done in order to protect the green space. As Maria mentions, “Planet Earth and Its Friends helped me in developing my communication, teamwork and creativity skills. I learned how to help the planet through new means of recycling keeping the environment clean and healthy for everybody. My favorite activity was Photo Reporters because I was able to capture wonderful landscapes with natural elements that make us appreciate our environment and to wish to keep it the way it is.”
Taking all these opinions into account and all the activities which were carried out in the two above mentioned projects, I would say that students have understood the importance of taking part in project based activities and have become more independent in using the Twinspace and the web tools necessary to accomplish different individual or team tasks. I started with students who would ask questions about simple features and expressed their uncertainty about using the eTwinning and we ended with a team that is prepared to work on more eTwinning projects, a team that understood the values of European projects and who are willing to get involved in activities that help them grow at both a personal and professional level.