Embedding eTwinning in educational policies

Anne Looney structured her workshop around 3 main issues:
1. Where policies happen
2. Identify burning platforms
3. How eTwinning can respond to these burning platforms

1. Where policies happen

2. Identifying burning platforms to be tackled in the coming months/years

  • Drop out rates
  • Performance gap (class, gender, race)
  • Initial teacher training
  • Out of date textbooks/ quality of teaching material
  • Curriculum
  • Transition between school / work / university
  • Aspirations
  • Special needs in mainstream education
  • Teacher appraisal
  • Unrealistic demands

3. How can eTwinning address these burning issues?
The last question generated a debate between policy makers and educational practitioners attending the workshop.
Notably, from a teacher’s point of view, eTwinning has remotivated her: “eTwinning is an amazing channel to make new friends across Europe, which enables eTwinners to share best practices.
Policy makers are not that interested in the development of friendships among teachers; they prefer to observe an impact on pupils.
Thus the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency representative mentioned the ongoing impact survey, which will be available mid 2012. It should provide evidence that eTwinning increases pupils’ motivation and autonomy.

To conclude:
The workshop continued the through the 2nd day of the conference.
By the end of the session a common agreement had been reached: eTwinning should stay flexible and free and shouldn’t be overly controlled, as it is a safe environment. The general feeling was, “Do we really need to embed eTwinning in education policies? Don’t we risk diluting the essence of eTwinning?” It was further agreed that the space for pupils should be fostered, as they are at the heart of education policies and they themselves can bring innovation into the mix.

Professional Development workshop (14.30-16.00)

Teacher presentations:

1. The first speaker, eTwinning teacher Tiina Sarisalmi from Finland, has just shared her eTwinning experiences in her own professional development career in eTwinning (from eTwinning projects to running Learning Events), emphasising the mentoring opportunities given by eTwinning. The audience has time for questions to her. Download the presentation here

2. Romanian teacher, Daniela Arghir, tells about her experience in running a Learning Lab on Web Based Video – Educational Use within eTwinning. View all Learning Labs running this autumn 2011 here.

eTwinning National Support Service presentations:

1. In Portugal, the National Support Service offers both formal and informal training opportunities to teachers. Within formal training, there is a certified course based on blended learning model, comprising of 30 hours of coursework using Moodle. Each course has about 20 teachers. So to say, in Portugal, working in eTwinning can be used in different levels of teachers’ proficiency. There are 3 levels and involvement in eTwinning can be used to recognise work on levels 2 and 3. There is also informal training opportunities, such as school visits and supports, webinars and online support, that allow for peer-learning.

2. In Spain, the National Support Service  also offers teachers’ PD opportunities (to be continued)

General note: the study from 2010 concluded that in 58% of eTwinning countries can be used, at least to some extent, to support the goals of professional development programmes. Download the full report here (PDF). The report has been translated.

Download session animator, Adam Pokorny’s, DG Education and Culture, European Commision, presentation (pdf) 7.4Mb