eTwinning Visibility Newsletter no. 4 eTwinning Visibility Newsletter no. 4 - Page 88

Visibility of eTwinning Projects Group July 2014 Newsletter -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------written in English and their native tongue. My students jumped at the idea, from the 4th graders to the 8th graders. So we wrote about 70 postcards and sent them to over 50 partner schools. Once we got our fair share of postcards, we could not decide what to do with them… after some thinking we decided some sort of map was in order. And we tried. Not the best one we could have done but it was done. A few months later a new idea occurred to us: recording messages in the 19 languages of our partner schools, adding their location on a map, making collages from the postcards we had gotten from each school and creating something unique. Zeemaps was preferred over Google Maps, and the fun we had recording was worth it. Mapping Europe We learnt to work with Audacity for the first time, and how to research and read phonetic transcripts to be able to say things correctly in all the languages. Soon, some other partners joined in with their own recordings, so we thought of a new way to spice things up: a voice card, plain old greeting card containing a chip one of the students programmed. That was an unforgettable experience. Then came “Made for Europe”, the competition for final products of European projects, and we found ourselves representing our city at the national phase of that competition in Bucharest, with our interactive Zeemap. But misfortune struck and technical issues reared their ugly head: the result, all our recordings were muted… somebody had accidentally muted the volume on the computer used for the presentation. So, we learnt a new lesson: always have a backup plan. Of course we did not win anything, but then again, eTwinning was barely starting to be present at “Made for Europe”. lucky: we found the answer: videoconferences. In 2013 we started one of our most successful project so far, called “YES – Young Europeans Speak”, where we partnered up with lots of schools all over Europe and made a project specifically designed for foreign languages. Students could choose one of the four topics and talk about it, using any web tool they saw fit. It was just two classes working on this project, one where students had absolutely no motivation for anything, where half the class was either asleep or talking about anything else but school. But when they got their own account on eTwinning, that class came alive. They did not get all bright and better over night, but there were visible improvements. They wanted to get to know new people, came to the videoconferences, talked about their ideal school, teachers, their hobbies. The other class was more motivated, mixed abilities and all, but linguistically better. What they proposed one day took me by surprise.