Visibility of eTwinning Projects Group Newsletter no. 5 - July 2015 - Page 69

Visibility of eTwinning Projects Group July 2015 Newsletter -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------eTwinning for professional development and to boost student motivation by Umit Cicek In this article I want to focus on how eTwinning has changed the course of my professional development and increased motivation among my students. Since I started teaching 9 years ago, I have tried to be in everything related to my students' education and eTwinning is my number one educational platform among others because of the fact that acquaintance with e-twinning has really had an amazing impact on my teaching and professional development. I gave up participating in local service-in-trainings or seminars after I started my eTwinning journey since, this is not to boast but, I already feel self-actualized thanks to the opportunities e-twinning provides. I must admit I would be quite a different and -highly possibly- an ordinary teacher if it weren’t for e-twinning. Let me briefly explain how eTwinning contributed to my professional development. On account of eTwinning, I: participated in 3 eTwinning learning events; participated in Transatlantic Educators Dialogue 1-2-3; discovered European Schoolnet Academy and participated in 4 courses provided by this platform (Future Classroom Scenarios, Competences for 21st Century Schools, Games in Schools, Creative use of Tablets in Schools); participated in eTwinning projects and was rewarded European/National Quality Labels; was selected for the 3 months eTwinning “Online Moderators Course” provided by the Central Support Service in Brussels; set up or participated in many Comenius, Leonardo, Grundtvig and Erasmus+ projects; met best of the best colleagues from all over Europe and exchanged ideas with them; discovered tens of web 2.0 tools which I can use in my everyday classes. shared sparkling ideas. After the course, one of the representatives of the Turkish National Support Service contacted me to ask whether I could set up and run courses for them, which I had never imagined until I started my eTwinning journey 6 years ago. eTwinning platform has not only inspired my professional development but it also has had a huge impact on my students. For example, last year I participated in an eTwinning project, titled “Linking Europe” with 11 teachers from 9 countries and 16 students from my school involved. The main purpose of the project was to improve our students’ communication skills in English. It was very touching to see some of the students with low skills in English were writing almost one page letters to their peers involved in the project, which I could have never imagined definitely. The students who did not even know the location of the partner countries have a lot to say about their foreign peers‘ traditions, lifestyles, cuisines, daily lives etc. now. To conclude, eTwinning is the right, for me the best, platform for teachers who want to extend their professional development and find more involving and motivating ways of engaging students into the process of education. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was great experience to be involved in all the courses, projects, events I listed above; however “Online Moderators Course” has been the best possible way of extending my professional development. I had the chance to learn strategies to prepare content for and deal with online groups, read through many engaging materials, attend webinars and be involved in discussions in the forums, where moderators, experts and colleagues 69