Mon, Nov 13th, 2017
Each year, selected eTwinning projects in Ireland are awarded a National Quality Label (NQL). The NQL is awarded to projects that are innovative, well integrated into the school curriculum, and demonstrate great communication between partner schools. Winning projects also make excellent use of technology, and are able to show their impact and documentation. This post, written by Glenda McKeown, provides an overview of just one of the 2017 NQL award winners: a project on “Holidays and Celebrations in different European Schools”.
“My name is Glenda McKeown. I teach secondary students with special needs. Our school is a special school located in Wexford town and is called Our Lady of Fatima Special School. We have been involved in eTwinning projects since 2011. The students thoroughly enjoy working on eTwinning projects (as do teachers!). They love having a platform to show off their work and they really appreciate the friendships they make with their fellow European students. They feel they are part of Europe.
eTwinning projects engage the students in work they are already participating in. The work collaboratively, they both give and receive in equal amounts, so they are learning from others and at the same time teaching others something new. We link the subject matter to the curriculum. In my class we follow the Junior Certificate Level 2 Programme. JCL2 and eTwinning are perfect partners. For example, for this project the students organised a “school activity week”. This is a requirement for JCL2 Priority Learning Unit, “Preparing for Work”. Max’s visit (see below!) provided us with the perfect opportunity to hold such an event. Other skills are acquired throughout eTwinning projects – ICT skills, communication, literacy and numeracy skills, to mention just a few. We really enjoyed ourselves…that is the most important aspect – eTwinning projects are great fun!
The project was created together with our European Partners (in Spain, Poland, Finland, Romania and Ukraine) in order for us to learn about some of the socio-cultural aspects of our respective countries. “Max” was the common thread: Max is a fictional character who travels to different European schools to find out how students celebrate festivities typical of their country.
Max also collects a traditional recipe in each country he visits. Max’s experiences were written as letters that he sent to his friend Marc, who lives in Brussels. Max was designed by a Polish student and then Max traveled physically from Spain to Poland and then to Finland. From there he went to Romania and then travelled to Ireland, where we told him all about St Patrick’s Day. Finally he journeyed to Ukraine and then flew back to Spain where he was received with great affection. In each destination photos of him were taken (with students) celebrating the feast of that country.
There was great collaboration between all the schools: each partner created a picture dictionary of each festival. At Christmas, we recorded “Silent Night” in different languages and merged it into one final song. Each Partner contributed to a Picture Dictionary, “helped” Max to record local and traditional recipes, and provided him with information on local surroundings (historical and otherwise!) Our final product was a book entitled: Max’s Odyssey describing Max’s adventures and the recipes he collected in each country. There is also a digital version (calaméo) of the book which contains pictures of Max’s visit to each school, as well as recipes and the picture dictionary.
We used a wide range of technologies throughout the project. We learned new things from each other. Video (Movie maker), iMovie, Calameo, blog, video-conferencing and forums were created especially for students to upload their creations onto Twinspace. The students themselves were actively involved in using various devices to record Max’s adventures. This was a truly enjoyable and educational project. All partners worked well together and contributed equally to its success.
Images courtesy of Glenda McKeown. We welcome your contributions to ‘Insights’ at firstname.lastname@example.org.