Collaboration in eTwinning
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It is very likely that the real potential of technologies and international cooperation is still to discover among the general public in the field of foreign language teaching (FLT), and thus the best is yet to come; however, the most promising steps are already being given by English teachers who believe that eTwinning is an ideal educational cooperation platform to expose children to real-life situations.
The principles underpinning this project-based approach (PBA) are varied and have to do with the authenticity of the learning experience and the personal commitment that children seem to show when they are challenged appropriately, as we shall see in this paper. Notwithstanding, the title under consideration remarks two indispensable programming components to be had in mind in any educative proposal: the evaluation of practical learning through the key competences (KC), and the attention for SNES students under the scope of inclusive principles.
The eTwinning platform enhances the role of the teacher as creator of learning scenarios that contextualise the use of English effectively. Thus, it is no wonder that the project-based approach (PBA) has gained momentum in recent years, due to its versatility and adaptation to cooperative and meaningful learning. eTwinning promotes school collaboration in Europe through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by providing support, tools and services for schools. eTwinning also offers opportunities for free and continuing online professional development for educators. eTwinning offers a platform for staff (teachers, head teachers, librarians, etc.), working in a school in one of the European countries involved, to communicate, collaborate, develop projects, share and, in short, feel and be part of the most exciting learning community in Europe.
In carrying out an eTwinning project, success depends to a great extent on the partners’ selection process and their eventual commitment towards the common project. In this light, it is advisable to establish some criteria to select the partners who want to take part in the project we have launched. This can be done by a deep study of their “eTwinner profiles”, which shall shed light of their experience, previous projects and outcomes, etc. In this same line, establishing as a condition the serious intention to run for an eTwinning school label, which obviously requires more involvement and ensures profitable educational interchange in English.
A prime example can be an oral presentation in groups. In this task, children may practise how to introduce themselves as members of their team. Their presentation can be recorded and uploaded to the FL blog and the eTwinning space. Besides, in this learning product children “meet” their partners from other countries, which is the starting point for a Skype conversation. Once they know a little about their new friends, it is time to greet and maintain brief conversations in groups according to previously rehearsed scrips and patterns. Moreover, the program is in itself a triggering learning scenario to not only contextualise the language in real purposeful situations, but also to mobilise the students´ competences, especially LC, DC and LTL.
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