The following examples are from Croatia. We asked pupils, teachers, ambassadors, National Agency employees, and school principals about eTwinning projects.
Tea and Ana – National Agency – Croatia
WHICH QUESTIONS OCCUR MOST OFTEN WHEN TEACHERS CALL THE AGENCY?
Our users can reach us every day through e-mail, phone or in person with any questions regarding the registration process, using eTwinning, and doing eTwinning projects. We also provide advice to our users regarding professional training abroad, and integrating eTwinning into Key activities 1 and 2. Since we focus on quality, we organize online training (webinars, online education) and workshops on a regular basis and in agreement with our users.
Regarding the projects themselves, we answer enquiries through the Project card, we approve started projects and advise users on how to make their projects better. In case of specific technical or other difficulties we contact Central service in order to solve the problem as soon as possible. The questions are mostly technical in nature, often related to using TwinSpace (publishing content, editing etc.).
HOW IS THE COOPERATION WITH PRINCIPALS?
We keep contact with principals registered on eTwinning and answer their invites to hold workshops and presentations about eTwinning. Recently we sent three secondary school principals to training in France (multilateral seminar in Bordeaux).
Including principals is one of our priorities for 2015, and we’re trying to encourage them to actively participate in projects. We also promote exemplary good work in eTwinning projects in order to motivate principals and other users to start projects of their own.
IN WHAT WAY IS COOPERATION WITH KINDERGARTEN INSTITUTIONS DIFFERENT?
Kindergarten institutions are more careful in starting projects, mostly because of concern for the safety of children during the projects, and the notion that eTwinning projects are not appropriate for smaller children. We try to encourage them by promoting exemplary good work and showing proofed methods appropriate for kindergartens, like videoconferences. In April we are holding a two day course in Zagreb intended specifically for kindergarten workers.
WHAT IS THE GOAL FOR THIS YEAR?
5. The main goal for this year is to increase the number of active users because most of them are only registered at our portal and not included in any project. We also wish to encourage kindergartens and principals to participate, as well as increase the presence of vocational schools on our portal, because our opinion is that eTwinning is especially compatible with vocational school classes.
It is important to organise training for current and future users outside of Zagreb, i.e. to provide other regions and rural areas with the opportunity to find out what eTwinning can offer them.
Arjana, Lidija, Nataša, Suzana and Tomislav, Croatian eTwinning ambassadors
All ambassadors participated in a number of eTwinning projects that will not be listed here, but feel free to look for them on the eTwinning website, they are always open for collaboration. They were asked the following questions:
HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF ETWINNING?
I believe that the model of the eTwinning platform could, and should, easily be transfered to other continents. As a leader of videoconferences in this area I’ve been a witness to an extraordinary interest in this type of cooperation by teachers from countries in which the eTwinning platform isn’t present.
I see eTwinning as the Main social network connecting all educationa institutions, teachers and pupils in the entire EU and further.
I think that eTwinning will spread far beyond European borders (even now it has a presence in the USA, Canada and the east); it would be pretentious to say it will be required in schools, but it is going to have a larger presence in the teaching of all subjects; I’m primarily referring to Croatia when the curricular reform takes flight and changes the way we teach and learn. I think that is when eTwinning will have a larger presence, and be more implemented into the teaching content – quitting the strict class-subject teaching system (at least in grades 1-4) will make it easier for teachers to make eTwinning projects.
ETWINNING BIRTHDAY WISHES FROM AMBASSADORS
Reaching one million projects and users as soon as possible.
May your 10th birthday be as special as you are!
Happy Awesome Pretty Pleased – Your 10th BIRTHDAY!
eTwinning – eWinning! Best wishes from Croatia!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE ETWINNING IN FIVE WORDS?
Change, inovation, creativity, cooperation, activity
INOVATIVE, DIFFERENT, STIMULATING, INTERESTING, TECHNOLOGISED
A professional network your way.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT AMBASSADOR’S WORK?
We are extremely proud that in Croatia, and beyond, as eTwinning ambassadors we can promote learning through projects and cooperation. We’ve started working on iternational cooperation in 2006, and soon realised that by participating in projects both pupils and teachers develop competences needed in the 21st century.
By promoting eTwinning among educators and educational staff we encourage them to use it to develop their pupils’ competences. That was one of the ambasadors’ tasks for this year. Many eTwinning workshops took place all over Croatia, and we took special account of areas of special state concern.
We organised webinars and several online trainings with a great number of participants. One specific aspect of ambassador’s work is promoting videoconference as a learning method and using Web 2.0 tools in projects. We also organised eTwinning STEM learning events, several webinars on cooperation and creating content in an online project environment, workshops for beginners, announcements, and using social networks to share work.
TO SOME AMBASSADORS THIS IS A SPECIAL YEAR
ARJANA BLAŽIĆ, Croatian ambassador
This year was special for me, after doing many projects with my pupils, I was awarded the national COMET award for best eTwinning project in the category for secondary schools. Coursera Kids is a project within a project where my colleague from Greece, Lina Kallontzi and I integrated a course organised by MOOC on learning English into an eTwinning project. Since I’m spending this year at Pennsylvania University, my activities for eTwinners took place online. I held several webinars on Web 2.0 tools and one online education called Augmented Reality in eTwinning with over 200 participants from various Euroepan countries. I also shared my experiences and promoted eTwinning in the USA in both primary and secondary schools, and higher education institutions. I also held several lectures in which eTwining colleagues from Brussels participated through videolink. All my colleagues were enthused by the eTwinning teacher network, and they will try to start something similar for American teachers. For starters, they already arranged for one American professor to visit Brussels and get better acquainted with the possibilities eTwinning provides for teachers and pupils.
FOURTH AND SIXTH GRADE PUPILS FROM LUDINA PRIMARY SCHOOL ANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT ETWINNING PROJECTS
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THESE PROJECTS? PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE
I like it when we make a logo for a project because I like to draw. I drew the flags of all countries participating in the project.
I like it when we have videoconferences because we can talk to friends from other schools in Europe and find out what they’re eating for lunch there.
I like when the classes aren’t boring – like when someone from a school in England tells me how to say „cat“ in English.
I like that we first meet in an eTwinning project online, and then in the second project (Erasmus+) we travel and host pupils from these schools in our school.
I made a cake using a recipe I got from my eTwinning friend in Finland. I made it better than my mom did.
Article: Tomislav Pavlović, eTwinning ambassador, Ludina Primary school, Croatia
Translation: Dejan Šiptar, librarian, Ludina Primary school, Croatia