Translation into English: POLIGLOTA Translation Agency Anna Podoracka

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4 Scientific Editors: Elżbieta Gajek; Paweł Poszytek Chief Managing Editors: Magdalena Machcińska, Edward Torończak Editor: Hanna Ochinowska Editing: Joanna Gospodarczyk Translation into English: POLIGLOTA Translation Agency Anna Podoracka Graphic design: VinciDesign Branding Agency Typesetting and Formatting: VinciDesign Branding Agency Copyright by the Foundation for the Development of the Education System, Warsaw 2009 ISBN: Printing: Zakład Poligraficzny Polimer ul. Mieszka I 24; Koszalin This publication has been funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme Foundation for the Development of the Education System National Agency of the Lifelong Learning Programme ul. Mokotowska 43; Warsaw tel: ; fax:

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7 Contents Preface Significance and Development of the etwinning Programme in Poland as Compared to other European Countries Alicja Pietrzak Key Competences in International Projects within the etwinning Programme Elżbieta Gajek Information and Communication Technologies in Telecollaborative Projects from etwinning 1.0 to etwinning Jarosław Krajka The Role of etwinning Projects in Mathematics and Science Education Arkadiusz Orłowski etwinning Projects in Preschool Małgorzata Szulc-Kurpaska etwinning Projects in Polish as an Example of Promoting the Native Language Dominika Bargieł Promotion of the French Language based on the Example of etwinning Projects Janina Zielińska School Library Venue of Choice for an etwinning Project Bożena Boryczka Online Course for Teachers: How to Participate in the etwinning Programme Elżbieta Gajek About the Authors

8 Preface The fifth anniversary of the etwinning programme is an occasion to analyse its results and an opportunity to make predictions about the position of etwinning projects in the education of the future. Thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students make up the European community which transforms teaching and learning methods in an evolutionary manner and forms the contents of the organisational and technical frameworks of the programme. Thanks to modern technology, contemporary cross-border cooperation, which is free of language barriers, is becoming a commonplace practice in the life of almost any school. Project participants easily notice shared values and similar customs. Differences, however, do not hinder cooperation, but to the contrary, arouse curiosity and interest in other cultures. As a result, cultural awareness of participants is enhanced, and intercultural competences are developed as a side effect of contacts with partners of etwinning projects. Pioneering solutions in the scope of technology and methodology that were only speculations mentioned in early works on the use of computers in education some fifty years ago are today successfully implemented at schools. The results of project works are of two main types. On one hand, these are tangible products, such as photos, videos, website publications, blog entries and various brochures. Also, various awards and national and European quality labels are well documented. On the other hand, intangible results include friendships formed, positive experiences of joint work, effective communication in foreign languages, mutual learning, sharing the effort related to task implementation and joy on their completion. Benefits resulting from identities, attitudes and habits shaped in the course of project implementation may bear fruit many years after graduation from formal education. The aim of this publication is to present the phenomena observed in the etwinning programme based on the example of education in Poland. Mutual 8

9 learning is the most important feature of participation in projects. Teachers learn from one another, so do pupils. It is apparent that pupils learn from teachers, but it often happens so during project implementation that teachers learn from their pupils, too. Mutual learning of etwinning project participants at home and abroad results in the fact that the sheer number of projects translates into their enhanced quality. This is one of the reasons why Poland has become an etwinning leader. As a result, the experiences and good practice examples from Polish schools can be of value to readers in Poland and other countries. It is also for this reason that the publication has been prepared both in Polish and English. Individual articles featured in this volume are devoted to various types of activity under the programme. Alicja Pietrzak presents brief, yet rich history of the programme in Poland and Europe. Next, European Key Competences and opportunities for shaping them in etwinning projects are described. Technology in educational projects is designed to provide conditions for the achievement of educational, linguistic and intercultural goals, and its use should result from project objectives and be fully subordinated to them. The direction for technical change from basic communication tools to social networking websites is shown in an article by Jarosław Krajka. From the very start, teachers of foreign languages and computer science have noticed the educational potential of the etwinning programme and willingly used technical and organisational opportunities offered by the programme. Although English is the main working language of etwinning projects, the programme provides conditions for the advancement of national languages. Dominika Bargieł writes about the projects promoting Polish and Janina Zielińska focuses on the French language. Nowadays, shaping linguistic and technical competences is no longer an end in itself, but a means to achieve other educational goals. Arkadiusz Orłowski shows examples of international cooperation in the teaching of mathematics and natural sciences. Małgorzata Szulc-Kurpaska concentrates on the role etwinning projects play in preschool education. Bożena Boryczka discusses the role of libraries as centres for international cooperation in the field of education. These authors show directions for programme development in the future and opportunities for teachers of other subjects. The most important issue, however, is the fact that the way has already been paved. The publication is rounded off with the description of an online course designed for teachers. The last article discusses 9

10 the principles and goals of the course along with recommendations for staging similar training, which stems from the four-year experience of this one. It is worth reminding that the book is published in the European Year of Creativity and Innovation and thus becomes a part of activities aimed at the promotion and dissemination of innovative solutions in education, which rely on social energy of individuals and local communities committed to the process. This is why the publication is addressed to active school teachers of all subjects, students preparing for work in the teaching profession, academic teachers who educate future educators and educational authorities. We hope it will serve as an incentive for the introduction of innovations, and inspire reflection on educational contents and practice on a global, European and individual scale. This may be conducive to the shaping of educational conditions tailored to the basic need of young people; facilitating preparation for life in the world of the future. Elżbieta Gajek Paweł Poszytek 10

11 Significance and Development of the etwinning Programme in Poland as Compared to other European Countries Alicja Pietrzak Foreword The role which etwinning fulfils in school education is a result of the wide context of European integration, as well as the treaty provisions, strategies and decisions that enable the member states cooperation within the European Union. The major goal of this cooperation is to build a strong economic potential, in addition to improving the European residents working conditions and standard of living. Many years of European integration experience prove that such goals will not be possible to achieve unless students from the lowest educational levels are involved in the joint activities. The legal foundations which provide for formal European cooperation in the school education area were incorporated in the Maastricht Treaty of By force of this Treaty the Socrates Programme was formed, which included, as one of the four activities, the Comenius Programme dedicated wholly to school education. The action has been continued in the subsequent editions of the Community educational programmes, currently incepted as the Lifelong Learning Programme. The adoption of the Lisbon Strategy in March 2000 was a milestone in the development of EU cooperation in the area of school education. The aim of the Strategy is to make the European Union the most competitive knowledgebased economy in the world by One of the main premises of the Lisbon Strategy is to fully establish an information society. This has been manifested in the elearning Programme and, afterwards, in etwinning, which was first 11

12 a strand of the former and later became a central action within the Comenius component of the Lifelong Learning Programme. The implementation of etwinning projects is not restricted to the development of the participants information and communication related competencies, but also comprises any other competencies and skills that are required by a knowledge society; which is something that naturally arises from any international collaboration. In comparison to other educational programmes, etwinning is unique in that it enhances the awareness of the multicultural dimension and the European integration process. This is due to the fact that it comprises an open and flexible offer of easy participation in international cooperation with a network of nearly 65,000 participating teachers across Europe, including 8,376 in Poland, within only five years of its official opening. The stated numbers are growing daily and this contributes to etwinning s great success as well as its strong position among the elite programmes that create the European education system of the future. etwinning, Definition and How the Programme was Formed etwinning is a European programme of collaboration between pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools in Europe with the use of information and communication technology (ICT). It is a tool for teachers, which provides for the continuous updating of their professional competences, in particular in the scope of using modern technology in teaching by means of designing and carrying out international projects. The etwinning Programme is an initiative of the European Commission. It was established on the basis of the Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council adopting a multiannual programme for the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training system in Europe (elearning Programme - Decision No. 2318/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 December 2003). In most European countries, including Poland, etwinning has been formally operating since 1 September The initial activities of the programme comprised the development of a European portal, and tools which provide a virtual environment for school cooperation within etwinning, in addition to national 12

13 portals supporting the European one. The official launch of etwinning in Poland was held in Warsaw on 15 December 2004, and was attended by teachers and school principals from all over the country. At European level, the opening conference was held in Brussels on January 2005 and was attended by some 500 teachers from many European countries. The first phase of etwinning was completed in the school year of 2006/2007. The second phase encompasses the years During this phase, by the force of the Decision of the European Parliament and the Council, etwinning was incorporated in the Lifelong Learning Programme, which is the European Commission s latest initiative in the area of education and training: (Decision No. 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2007). The programme continues the activities that were previously carried out within the Socrates, elearning, Leonardo da Vinci and the Jean Monnet programmes. etwinning Goals The reason for the European Commission s submission of the proposal for establishing elearning and then the Lifelong Learning Programme, both of which encompass etwinning, is working towards the accomplishment of a goal that results from the needs of the modern world in which there is a strong need for digital literacy, without which citizens will be unable to play their full part in the society or to acquire the qualifications and knowledge needed in the 21st century (The History of European Cooperation in Education and Training 2006:250). Within etwinning this goal translates into specific action aimed at encouraging schools in Europe to establish partnerships which, within their collaboration, avail of various types of electronic media. It is also a goal of the programme to promote in-service teacher training, the enhancement of the teachers and students technical, language and intercultural skills, as well as the implementation of the European dimension in curricula and, consequently, the introduction of students to the European reality without any restrictions, inhibitions, sense of minority or weakness. The intention of the programme is to create friendly conditions for teachers. These conditions are to encourage them to replace traditional teaching methods with teaching based on collaboration and project work in which all the 13

14 participants from various European countries learn form each other, exchange their knowledge, resources and experience along with using ICT, whilst creating one huge European community projecting beyond the national borders. etwinning Participants The etwinning community can be divided into two groups: the group that is responsible for managing the programme and the group of recipients. The programme is managed through the European Commission, which sets the priorities and the budget, supervises the proper course of the activities and monitors the programme. Another managing body is the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) appointed by the European Commission to fulfil an administrative role by managing the contracts and the budget, in addition to monitoring the activities. In the 32 etwinning authorised countries there are National Support Services responsible for coordinating the programme at national level. These services conduct information and promotional campaigns, organise conferences, contests and training workshops, as well as provide all types of support to teachers at all levels of involvement in the programme. The role of the National Support Services is monitoring projects throughout the duration of the project lifespan, which includes assisting schools and teachers in the registration process, finding a project partner, providing support in the registration and implementation of projects, up to their completion, and beyond by disseminating the best project examples in galleries on national websites and in printed materials. In Poland, the etwinning National Support Service operates within the Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE), which is also the National Agency for the Lifelong Learning Programme. The work of the National Support Service and the implementation of etwinning at European level are coordinated by the Central Support Service, whose main function is to operate the European portal which offers a wide range of tools and is a place where schools register and work with their partners. The etwinning Central Support Service also organises European competitions, conferences and, in cooperation with the National Support Services, the European Professional Development Workshops for teachers 14

15 and individuals involved in the designing of the educational policy in the participating countries. The recipients of etwinning include all the pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools, whilst the age span of the students ranges from 3 to 19 years. etwinning is targeted at teachers of all subjects, students, school principals and any other school staff members who are interested in collaboration and the testing of new work methods and technologies with partners from other European Countries. The participants comprise schools from all the EU countries, as well as Norway, Iceland, Turkey, Croatia and the Republic of Macedonia. Specific Features of etwinning There are several aspects, which are specific to etwinning, making it very popular among teachers and students. The main feature which makes the programme stand out from other EU initiatives is the fact that the etwinning projects which are implemented by schools do not receive any financial assistance from the European Commission. The programme is based solely on the enthusiasm and motivation of the teachers who appreciate the role of international integration and cooperation in the preparation of students for their future. The lack of funding makes etwinning simple to implement and accessible to all, as well as eliminates the bureaucracy factor. Any teacher from a given school can run their own etwinning project without any limitations in terms of topic, duration, quantity and even quality. Changes can be made in projects even as they are implemented. This is particularly helpful to those who have no experience in implementing international projects because through etwinning they can acquire such skills in a friendly, open environment. Moreover, etwinning does not require any financial contribution from the participating schools. Access to the portal and tools is free of charge for the registered teachers, whilst the etwinning collaboration is effected without the necessity of direct contact between the partners, thus eliminating the resultant costs. This enables the involvement of all the interested students in the projects, thus making etwinning an opportunity for socially and economically underprivileged children and youths who, by 15

16 availing of the programme, can make virtual journeys to other countries and even establish personal contacts, via electronic tools, with their peers in Europe. etwinning is based on the use of ICT, but participation does not require the possession of advanced hardware. It can be implemented at any site where there is access to a computer and the Internet. This can be a classroom, a computer laboratory or a personal computer at a teacher s or student s home. Access to the Internet enables the registration of a school and teacher on the European portal which provides all the tools that are necessary for finding a project partner and the implementation of an international project. The portal also provides assistance in the form of ready-made project sets and scenarios that can be used as inspiration and models for partnerships. etwinning is an international programme based on the use of ICT which is not targeted at language and computer science teachers only. It is the intention of the European Commission to include all teachers of all subjects at all teaching levels in the programme. etwinning is a way to make any lesson at school more attractive, hence it is also a way to implement a curriculum. One of the specific features of any etwinning project is the fact that the participating teacher can focus on their subject whilst presenting the topics in a way that is interesting to students, i.e. using technological resources and by engaging them with their foreign partners. Furthermore, it is also accessible to pre-primary institutions, thus enabling dialogue and the acquisition of intercultural experience among the youngest children. Owing to the above, etwinning responds well to the challenges of the 21st century as it provides for the adjustment of modern-day requirements to the traditional teaching methods. It enables the use of all the available technological novelties during classes, for example chats, blogs, podcasts, Skype, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, etc. This makes it appreciated by students since they are the greatest enthusiasts of using technology in everyday life and for learning purposes at school. The benefits of the programme are also appreciated by the teachers who achieve the consecutive levels of professional promotion and who need to prove that their technique incorporates the use of ICT (Regulation of the Minister of National Education and Sports of 1 December 2004 on the attaining of professional promotion levels by teachers). The etwinning certificates which 16

17 teachers receive when they implement a project are the best proof and example of their ability to use electronic tools and the Internet in the teaching process. etwinning Implementation The implementation of etwinning begins with the registration of a school and teacher on the European portal The portal comprises three areas. The first is open to all users after entering the address in the Internet browser. This site contains all the information about etwinning and news about current events, publications, European conferences, Professional Development Workshops and contests. A fixed element on the portal is a Google map showing all the schools, teachers and projects that are registered in the programme. It enables their identification by specific criteria; for example, by subject taught or by country. Another interesting element is the Gallery of projects which is a showcase of good practices submitted by the etwinning National Support Services; including descriptions and links to further information. The portal further offers other inspirational material like ready-made project models and scenarios which can be used in project work, in addition to answers to frequently asked questions; with details on why it is worth participating in an etwinning project, how to find partners for a project, how to plan all the activities, and which tools to use. The portal also provides a lot more information about etwinning to help teachers in their work. This includes a monthly newsletter with current information about the programme and the Helpdesk to solve the users problems. The most important site of the generally accessible area is the place where schools and teachers register. The registration form requires the submission of personal data and the preferences concerning project partners, in addition to information about the school and its profile. Registration enables users to access the etwinning Desktop, and an individual desktop which provides them with the possibility of finding a project partner, developing their project concept, starting the collaboration and recording its implementation with the use of the TwinBlog tool. The registration of a partnership provides access to TwinSpace, the third area of the site, which is a virtual environment for the partner schools to work on their project. TwinSpace contains all the tools which are required for the implementation of a project, i.e. communication tools for the project partners, including a mailbox, a chat, a forum, a bulletin board and a calendar, as well as 17

18 the My Team tool which enables the administering of the participants and the Settings tool which enables the creation of new files and even simple web pages. The registration of an etwinning project is confirmed with the award of the etwinning Label, whereas its successful implementation is awarded with the National Quality Label and, ultimately, with the European Quality Label which means that a project reached a high European standard. The European etwinning portal is, therefore, the main source of information, a treasury of ideas and the basic tool for cooperation. It is a technologically advanced educational platform that is safe for both teachers and students, because it is accessible only to the registered schools which are verified during registration by the National Support Services. The electronic mail only enables correspondence between the programme participants as the system does not work with Internet domains, for example Onet and Gmail, thus excluding the circulation of advertising and undesired information. The portal is very intuitive, easy to use and user friendly to teachers from various European countries it has 23 language versions, including a Polish one. The etwinning Experience to Date 2009 is the fifth year since the official launch of etwinning in Poland and the founding of the etwinning National Support Service. During this time, many activities were implemented which made Poland one of the proud leaders regarding the number and quality of the completed projects. Among these activities it is worth mentioning the development and operation of the national portal the main tool for implementing the information dissemination strategy. The current version of the portal is the third. It offers innovative solutions in the context of communication between the users and the presentation of news, the current statistics and the educational resources developed within the projects. In the programme s first year, the National Support Service, in agreement with the local educational authorities and the Ministry of National Education, appointed a network of Regional etwinning Coordinators responsible for promoting the programme in their regions. This was followed by the establishment of the Regional Ambassadors network comprising teachers with experience in etwinning projects, as well as coaches and promoters involved in online and 18

19 on-site training in the respective regions. The data from the documents of the etwinning National Support Service show that as of June 2009, 115 online courses were organised for 2,364 participants in addition to 231 regional workshops attended by approximately 15,000 teachers. Furthermore, the National Support Service is actively committed to verifying the good practice examples and expressing approval for the most deserving schools, teachers and students. In less than five years of the Service s operations there were five editions of the national Our Twinning Project contest and a number of thematic ones, for example etwinning in French, etwinning in the School Library, a photography competition and a competition for maths and science teachers. The Service s action plan also comprises the inclusion of teachers who are beginners in etwinning in the best group. This will give them a chance to demonstrate their initiative in the best debut in the programme contest during the annual celebration of the etwinning week. All the contests so far have yielded 119 national winners (data from the documents of the etwinning National Support Service) who have often carried their success over to the international arena to become the winners of the European competitions. During the four years in which the European etwinning Prizes have been organised, the highest positions have been held by five partnerships that included Polish schools. Hence, it has now become a tradition to identify and honour the work quality of teachers and students from our country. On Polish ground, the accomplishments of the best etwinning participants have received recognition from the Minister of National Education, the Minister of Internal Affairs and even the President of the Republic of Poland. The etwinning National Support Service monitors the appropriate presentation of good practice examples. These are shown in the project galleries on Internet portals, published in evaluation brochures and featured in implementation coverage reports. The latter films are used mainly during nationwide conferences held every year as part of the etwinning programme. These include prize-giving ceremonies and thematic conferences, for example the conference for geography, biology and natural science teachers (March 2008) or the conference for school librarians (October 2008). Conferences like these have already been attended by more than 1,000 teachers from all over Poland (data from the documents of the etwinning National Service). 19

20 Simultaneously to their national activities the etwinning National Support Service is also involved in international ones. These are primarily aimed at assisting teachers in finding the right partners for their etwinning projects. Together with other countries the Service organises contact seminars and recruits participants who are interested in starting etwinning projects for the European Professional Development Workshops which are held in different countries during the school year. The current statistics show that 394 participants from Poland have already availed of the possibility to directly find and meet potential project partners during the 51 international etwinning events (data from the documentation of the etwinning National Service). One of the Professional Development Workshops took place in Warsaw, from 15 to 17 May It was attended by 88 pre-primary school teachers from 24 etwinning-authorised countries. In the opinion of one of the participants: I really enjoyed the workshops. They were really well organised and full of important and interesting information. Tutors were really helpful and gave us clear instructions. Besides this, they planned group activities which I think were vital to the workshops because we integrated with others. The place and occasion was a great idea for teachers to meet and exchange their work and experience. Thank you so much for giving us this memorable and great opportunity to meet other colleagues and get more involved in etwinning. Looking forward to start a new project. Thank you. Poland as Compared to other European Countries: Quantitative Analysis In June 2009, the etwinning community included 52,467 schools and 64,619 teachers from 32 European countries. These statistics prove that the programme is enjoying great interest throughout Europe, especially in Poland, which has the highest number of registered schools (6,921), teachers (8,376) and projects (3,760). We are followed by France (6,218, 6,973 and 2,541 respectively), the United Kingdom (5,561, 6,473 and 2,065), Italy (4,879, 6,013 and 3,032) and Spain (4,859, 5,692 and 2,117) with results that are significantly lower than ours. This also shows that Polish schools comprise 13% of all the schools registered 20

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