Visibility of eTwinning Projects Group Newsletter no. 5 - July 2015 - Page 30

Visibility of eTwinning Projects Group July 2015 Newsletter -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The role of eTwinning in Erasmus+ projects by Marta Pena Garrido With the appearance of the new Programme Erasmus+ and the possibilities it provides to teachers and students of higher education, vocational education and training, school education and adult education for mobility or partnerships, eTwinning has been considered one of the most important and appreciated tool by the European Commission to develop the projects under Erasmus+. They are better considered to get the grant if eTwinning is included but, do we really know how eTwinning can improve our projects? Firstly we should have just a glance at the different Erasmus+ projects which can be implemented. Under Key-Action 1 (KA1), Learning Mobility for Individuals, professionals are encouraged to further their professional development in another country in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning, broadening their knowledge and skills, which includes learning new languages or gaining proficiency in areas of IT. These competences often provide a wider perspective on education, as well as ensure the exchange of knowledge and best practices. To achieve these aims, the staff can participate in structured courses or training abroad; job-shadowing or observation periods at a school or other relevant organization abroad; or teaching assignments at a partner school. The Key-Action 2 (KA2), Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices, supports projects which develop international Strategic Partnerships in the fields of education, training and youth between local and regional authorities, schools and other organizations that establish international links and give school issues more weight in local government, to cooperate on issues of shared interest with possibilities of teacher, class and pupil exchanges, in order to introduce innovative practice into daily activities and build bridges between the worlds of education and work. Projects funded under these Key-Actions are likely to have a positive impact on the persons directly or indirectly involved in the activities, such as, for example, the increased competence in foreign languages, a broader understanding of practices, policies and systems in education, training or youth across countries, the enhancement of employability or better intercultural and European citizenship awareness. As mentioned above, it is just a quick look at the possibilities that Erasmus+ provides, so it is strongly recommended to check out the official European website, your National Agency site and the Erasmus+ Programme Guide for further and more specific information. I am currently carrying out a KA1 project in a high school in Cuenca, a little town in Spain, with some other teachers. With this project we would like to improve the methodology we use to teach foreign languages at school, especially due to the fact that we are involved in a bilingual programme. This KA1 project offers us the chance to travel abroad to receive some training in the field of CLIL methodology and the teaching of English and French as second languages. Now, we are ready to know more about the role of eTwinning in the Erasmus+ projects. So far, eTwinning has turned to be an extremely powerful tool to look for partners in order to set an online association between schools so, the first idea which comes to our mind to use it in Erasmus+ is to find other schools to apply for a KA2 project, sharing our ideas about a possible project and waiting for someone interested or joining any other teacher’s plan. But partnerships are not the only reason to look for partners; many teachers need a colleague and/or an organization abroad to develop a job-shadowing experience to observe and learn from a different educational system to share resources, ideas and programmes which could enrich their school life. And using eTwinning we also can offer our school to receive a teacher from other countries. In the process of getting a job-shadowing experience, eTwinning can also help both, individuals and institutions, before applying for funding, discussing and agreeing on the activities to carry out in order to improve the quality and impact of the planned projects; during the implementation, 30