Using the TwinSpace in your project

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Whether you run a short or longer one eTwinning project – to make it effective – you’ll need to use the TwinSpace as a platform for collaboration with your partner. Still, there is a sizable group of teachers in eTwinning community who don’t know how to organize project work on TwinSpace.

Bill Griffin from CSS and over 60 teachers who attended the workshop during the second session  tried to find out best models of project implementation into TwinSpace.

WP_20141128_022Participants worked in small groups, each was assigned with the task: come up with an idea for the project and then perform it on the training TwinSpace. For advanced eTwinners it might have sounded very simple, but the snag was to include in the project activities different tasks provided by the trainer.

Once projects were ready, Bill together with audience, went step by step through the platform explaining each tool and how it can be used in project work.

WP_20141128_021Either you are a beginner or a teacher who runs any other project already, you should not be afraid to enter the TwinSpace. Especially now, when eTwinning offers completely new platform for collaboration with not only safe but also user friendly environment.

Plenary Session II – Keynote address Lord David Puttnam: Resilient Education

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Lord David Puttnam addressed the conference with an inspiring speech about Resilient Education.

Highlighting the importance of recognizing the need to change teaching practice and to change the perception the world has of school, Lord D. Puttnam mentioned that in education we avoid to argue the truth. This truth is that 96% of college principals believe their institutions are successfully preparing young people for the world of work but only 14% of recent college graduates agree. As he stated: “Students are embarking on a world that we can only imagine. In terms of challenge they will face. It is a very different world. Teachers have to help students to adjust to the new world. Their environment is insecure. It is our job to reassure that their world is not going down the drain.”

To accomplish this we need creativity and resilience. Creativity was described as a muscle that needs to be trained.

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Resilience is a core competence that is stripped off the curricula. We don’t teach it and I am sure many don’t know how to teach it. And it is absolutely vital.  Teachers need to offer talent, imagination, commitment and belief. Because without it, it is unreasonable to except our students to absorb. I want my students to understand the potential. I want them to understand how good they can be. You are not end to be good on the things that you do, unless you have a sense of direction.

The direction nowadays is the digital world. Why is digital so transforming? Because it allow us to create the sense of awe in the classroom. “We are going through a revolution. It’s a digital revolution! it’s a teaching revolution. It’s a sense of excitement that I certainly am unable to share.”

Stressing his message with several movie trailers Lord David Puttnam motivated teachers in the audience to foster a resilient education.

Is your classroom really inclusive?

Roger Blamire, European Schoolnet

Roger Blamire, European Schoolnet talks Inclusion, Differentiation and Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Workshops Slides: Inclusive Classrooms and eTwinning Projects

http://sennet.eun.org

The commission funded a three-year project called SENnet: Special Educational Needs Network. The work will shortly be coming to an end but a dedicated Facebook page will remain active: www.facebook.com/groups/SENnetwork/

The definition of SEN students is not well defined internationally and sharing of good practice and inclusion and understanding of students with SEN differ greatly throughout Europe, however, The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD: http://www.oecd.org/els/family/50325299.pdf do offer some guidance.

It’s important to think about how you can engage and cater for students when creating eTwinning projects and activities. It’s our responsibility to “open the door” and provide access and inclusion for our students. The use of video and photography can be used along with different roles and responsibilities for students within your group to support differentiated and inclusive learning.

The use of technology within schools differs greatly with some schools and colleges having their own ‘bring your own device’ policy, however, this in itself can highlight inequality, particularly for students within socially deprived or low-income families.

Roger talks about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to support with training and development of staff around awareness raising and confidents of teaching and supporting students with SEN and shares a selection of resources from EU countries for students with SEN.

Blog post written and contributed by Joe Baldwin, eTwinning Ambassador UK (@JosephBaldwin)

Plenary Session I – Welcome to the eTwinning 2014 conference

eTwinning conference 2014

Over 500 of the most innovative teachers and education experts from across Europe met in Rome for the 10th annual eTwinning Conference. The theme of this years event is “Opening Education”. The goal is to stimulate ways of learning through ICT and digital content.

Davide Faraone

Davide Faraone, State Secretary for the Italian Ministry of Education

The opening plenary commenced with an encouraging welcome address from Davide Faraone, State Secretary for the Italian Ministry of Education. He highlighted the fact that 600,000 students in Italy use eTwinning and the Italian government see it as an extremely important educational tool. “It shows that the European Union is more than just a monetary environment, it is a living system.” Mr Faraone encouraged people to think of these tools as European and not just within your local country. “The Italian government is committed to these topics. Your work contributes to the growth of Europe.”

Antonio Silva Mendes

Antonio Silva Mendes, European Commission, DG EAC

Antonio Silva Mendes, European Commission, DG EAC discussed how the success of eTwinning comes through the community of teachers and that the theme of opening up education through technology is very timely. He highlighted three areas, linking with other colleagues and sectors within education; which will be the main success for the future, “valualization”; how we can show value of what we do and change in school environment; how can we link schools to enterprises and other areas of society?

eTwinning family

Anne Gilleran, Senior Pedagogical Adviser for eTwinning, introduced the eTwinning families from across Europe, presenting each of the countries within the network as well as the new eTwinning plus countries; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Tunisia and Ukraine.

Marc Durando

Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet

Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet gave special thanks to the great enthusiasm from teachers from around Europe. He posed the question “How can we mainstream innovation in education?”.

He discussed the major achievements of eTwinning and highlighted the complex process behind innovation in education asking will innovation come from technology or pedagogy?

He presented some astonishing facts on the ecosystem of eTwinning. There are 320,000 schools in Europe, eTwinning reaches 40% of these. There are 6 million teachers in Europe and eTwinning reaches 5% of them. However, this represents only 2 teachers per school. “We must go from innovative teachers to innovative schools”.

He closed his plenary with a powerful quote from Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Follow along the plenary sessions with a live streaming video

If you can’t join us in Rome for the eTwinning Conference, don’t worry! eTwinning reaches you with its live streaming video. To follow us in real time, you can go to the following page on Thursday 27 November from 2 to 4.45 pm CET (Rome time) and watch the plenary sessions: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/etwinning-europe

Follow the keynote speech and contribute to the debate online using the hashtag: ‪#‎eTconf2014‬

PLEASE NOTE: There will be a coffee break at 15h45 (aprox.) – the streaming video may be interrupted. Check out the programme for more information.

eTwinning Conference 2014: Opening Education – Innovation in teaching & learning (Press release)

More than 500 teachers from across Europe will explore how eTwinning contributes to opening up education via innovation in teaching and learning

Rome, from the 27th to the 29th November 2014

This year the eTwinning Conference celebrates this theme “Opening Education”, in its broadest sense. The State Secretary for the Italian Ministry of Education, Davide Faraone, and Antonio Silva Mendes, from the European Commission (DG EAC), will open the conference with a welcome address. This will be followed by Lord David Puttnam who will take the floor to introduce his keynote: “Resilient Education”, how can our education systems cope with the triple threat: “climates changes” – digital, ecological and economic.

As a recent communication from the European Commission puts it, “teachers should be able to acquire high digital competences (…) to connect through strong communities of practice (…) as shown by the massive engagement of teachers in the eTwinning platform and be rewarded for new teaching methods”. The work of the conference will concentrate on sharing new practice, exploring new ways of teaching and fostering the eTwinning community, through workshops, interactive sessions and informal meetings. The conference will be also an occasion to celebrate outstanding achievements in school collaboration in eTwinning. During the last day, a panel of experts and educators will explore, together with the audience, how eTwinning enhances competences of pupils and teachers.

Now in its ninth year, the European Commission’s eTwinning action involves almost 280 000 registered teachers in 42 countries, who communicate, work together, and set-up cross-border educational projects. eTwinning has affirmed its role in shaping a European space for education. It helps teachers connect, collaborate and share via the biggest learning community in Europe.

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Conference website: http://conference2014.etwinning.net/
Follow the conference on Twitter: #eTconf14
Link to the video from last year’s conference: http://youtu.be/Tg_5c0VJ-PQ

For further information, please contact:
Valentina Garoia, Communications and Press Officer, European Schoolnet, mob.: +32 (0)488 495246, valentina.garoia@eun.org

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Background

eTwinning is the Community for schools involving almost 280 000 teachers across Europe, funded by the European Commission as part of the Erasmus+ Programme. European Schoolnet acts as eTwinning Central Support Service.

The eTwinning platform offers opportunities for teachers to meet and interact with each other in school projects, special interest groups and online forums. It also offers a rich professional development element via online Learning Events, focusing on collaboration skills and the use of technology with the goal of contributing to the modernisation of educational systems, making them more attractive to today’s youth. Find out more on www.etwinning.net

eT poster press release
European Schoolnet is a network of 31 Ministries of Education from across the European member states, leading educational innovation at European level. As a major international think tank, European Schoolnet operates key European services in education, including the Central Support Service for eTwinning, on behalf of the European Commission, member Ministries of Education and industry partners.
Follow us on Twitter (@eu_schoolnet) and on Facebook