Nordic Friends in Finland

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What is an eTwinning ambassador? It’s an individual who (usually in addition to his or her regular job) works to support eTwinners, and to introduce more teachers and students to this wonderful world of ours.

With most of the biggest celebrations of #etwinning10 over, it’s time to go back to work to fill the next ten years with even more great cooperation. To that end the ambassadors from the Nordic countries gathered in the lovely Hanaholmen resort just outside Helsinki. This is a little report from the meetup, from the perspective of a new ambassador. Hopefully readers of this blog might be interested in how we work together up here in the north!

sculpture park

Sculpture park at Hanaholmen

Hanaholmen is an interesting place in itself, a place dedicated to cultural exchange and cooperation between Sweden and Finland, created in the wake of World War 2. It has a lovely collection of art from the two countries, and a scenic location. As a venue for Nordic cooperation it was perfect.

eTwinners in the Nordic countries  are generally organized in the same way as everyone else in Europe, but they have many things in common. For example: the countries (except lucky Denmark) are thinly populated compared to their size, which means ambassadors must travel very long distances if they actually want to meet eTwinners face to face. And travel is often prohibitively expensive.

We can also communicate with each other using Norwegian, Swedish and/or Danish, and the education administrations are organized in roughly the same way in every country, making it very easy to compare experiences.

At the meeting the Ambassadors exchanged experiences and ideas. For many of us this was the first time we met our colleagues (even those from our own country) face to face. We had many, many useful discussions about (among other things) privacy, how to enlist new eTwinners, how to use previous projects as inspiration and how to share our eTwinning experiences. Additionally, we got a sneak peak at the new eTwinning platform, which hopefully has launched by the time you’re reading this!

So did something new happen? Well, we decided to start a facebook page for the Nordic ambassadors, and we will try to gather our tweets under the hashtag #etwnord.  But most importantly we came away from Hanaholmen with renewed respect for our Nordic brothers and sisters. We will be even better eTwinning partners and ambassadors for everyone across Europe after this weekend.

I’d love to tell you more, but as I’m writing I’m still at Hanaholmen and I have to prepare a presentation, so I hope you will excuse me..

hotel room

 

 

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