There has been a great development of the usage of the Internet recently. Its appearance has influenced politics, commercials or leisure time. But it is worth mentioning that education is more and more concerned with the Internet. It is helpful for both teachers and students, who can seek for the valuable information concerning any possible subject. It is a very fast source of information, however, it makes our students less curious to look for the necessary information in a library or to read books. They very often rely on what they have found online.
It's due to the constant hurry we live in, as someone said "If you don't run, you move back."
E-learning is becoming very popular among students at universities, institutions or companies offering courses for their employees. It's based on the use of multimedia, the Internet, satellite transmission, audio, video or CD. It is distance learning, which means that the contact between students and teachers is limited. Students are becoming more responsible for themselves and their process of learning.
This way of learning has also appeared at school, even primary schools. Seems strange and unbelievable? So E-TWINNING! - That is my answer. Everyone probably has heard about this project. It is the European Partnership of Schools which combines a great range of competences, such as:
Sounds interesting for both teachers and students, as they cooperate with another school from the EU on any topic they wish (sport, cuisine, culture, places, music, school, and many others) using virtual platforms. What more would teachers like to achieve? Their pupils are taught all these elements at the same time, which is the perfect input for impatient and bored students.
I know what I am talking about, because last year my group of students worked on such a project with Spanish School. It was a great experience for them as they were exposed to the real language. They cooperated with their Spanish peers using English, which was the language of our project. Students were registered on a special virtual platform, offered by e-Twinning, where they could exchange e-mails, write their comments on the forum board, visit chatrooms and of course prepare materials for the project. It was very safe, because teachers-coordinators of the project could control everything at all times.
I think that it was a great lesson of English. They learnt about culture of Spain, its history of the 70s, its entertainment, politics and education as it was the main topic of our cooperation. They also had a possibility to compare the counties and see what they look like while exchanging pictures and photos.
But it is not enough. They also learnt how to cooperate and work in a group. They has become more tolerant and open to other habits and national behaviours, which will be helpful in their future lives. The last but not least is the fact they got to know how to work under the pressure of time. It was one of the most difficult tasks to cope with. It was caused by different school calendars in different European countries. However, it should not be an excuse!
Interesting? Fine! But now it's time to present some warnings and problems while cooperating. Oh, maybe not warnings but WARNING, ONE WARNING! Before you start doing the project, check access to the Internet at your school and if you have the required number of computers. As I know, it may be a problem. At my school we also met it. However, my students were so willing to do that project, that most of their work was done by them at home and we only consulted and discussed prepared materials.
But I think that when you establish pros and cons of taking up such a project, you will know what to choose. I have experienced it once and I know that it was not the last time.
To read more, take a look at etwinning.net