In the middle of a beautiful autumn, rich in events and new possibilities for Moldovan eTwinning community, East European Foundation organized an eTwinning Fall School with a promising theme: „eTwinning platform – a world of possibilities in educational partnership”. Its aims were:
- to introduce the teachers to a borderless educational environment where students and teachers can participate in an intercultural dialogue extending their knowledge of a foreign language, exploring European cultures, building ICT skills and digital competences etc;
- to facilitate the process of establishing fruitful collaborations with partners from the eTwinning community and
- to learn some indispensable Web tools for online based participation in projects.
The two day event took place in Chisinau, 27-28 October, 2014 and gathered a large audience of dedicated and motivated teachers from different regions of Moldova. It was a delight to watch 56 teachers of all ages bent over the computers in their quest for finding project partners and eagerly raising their hands to call for attention when a task was fulfilled or when something went wrong.
The goal of helping the teachers to find partners on the platform and to facilitate their participation in European projects by providing them with a set of ICT/Web tools met the urging need of the teachers struggling to connect with the „neighbourhood” and keep up with the novelties of an intense in technological advances era that makes this connection possible.
The first day of eTwinning Fall School was entirely dedicated to finding partners and the teachers got acquainted with the tools that are used by eTwinners:
- to interact and to share interests and best practices by forming groups;
- to join and initiate projects that would reflect the needs of their students in a social and curricular context; would contribute to collaboration among countries, schools, teachers, students; would generate great learning experiences in a safe virtual environment.
The result was impressive as already on the second day after the eTwinning Fall School there were 20 teachers involved in new projects with a total of 33 projects joined. It is a mechanism that once put in motion will never stop and once the teachers get „contaminated” with this virus of collaboration they will only strive for more.
Moreover as a result of eTwinning Fall School a great breakthrough in Moldovan eTwinning life took place – the first initiation of a project by a Moldovan teacher (Maia Porombrica from „Meșterul Manole” Lyceum, Căușeni, Sălcuta) in partnership with a teacher from Romania.
The second day was focused on what to do once you join a project. It started with a brilliant example of eTwinning participation that was kindly presented by Rita Godoroja, a chemistry teacher from „Spiru Haret” Lyceum, Chișinău, who spoke about her most successful participations in eTwinning projects. The teachers were shown some examples of student involvement and use of a variety of forms and tools (video, interviews, presentations) to speak about water and its protection. From her speech it was obvious that all that work process, although difficult at times, was greatly enjoyed by teacher and students alike. Rita’s inspiring example was taken in by the audience and was an illustration of excellent participation on the eTwinning platform.
This example of best-practice was followed by the introduction of some Web tools used to make presentations, posters, videos, photo collages and organize the contents within a project in an interesting manner by using the ICT tools. All the stages were accompanied by practical examples and tasks for teachers to exercise and practice in order to systematize and reinforce the use of suggested tools. Teachers had a chance to learn and practice the new tools at their own pace benefiting from staff assistance throughout the whole process.
eTwinning Fall School was also generously interspersed with get-to-know games and energizers that kept the atmosphere warm and the learning process on a positive note. Teachers learnt how important cooperation is, what are the elements of a fruitful collaboration and what is the key to a successful participation in a project. All of these were rendered by playing games and these were the moments that teachers seem to have enjoyed the most. In the same time it was a vivid example of how to plan an activity within a project so as to create learning outcomes for students while involving them in fun activities that they crave for, as a supplement to traditional curricular classroom experiences.
All in all eTwinning Fall School was a success. With a well-rounded agenda, thoroughly planned activities and teachers who went to their schools equipped with „tricks” on how to find a project partner, some established partnerships and a pocket-full of Web tools to ensure an auspicious participation in eTwinning projects.