Visibility of eTwinning Projects Group Newsletter no. 5 - July 2015 - Page 88

Visibility of eTwinning Projects Group July 2015 Newsletter -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------eTwinning in my class by Nathalie Scerri each country, including Malta, separately won part of the organized EXPO competitions. I have been conducting eTwinning projects for the past five years, and each year I observe that by the end of the project, my students would have developed in terms of maturity, creativity and independence. Including eTwinning as part of the curriculum enriches the students’ motivations and learning skills. It allows for project-based learning, where the student is always at the centre of the activity. This approach engages the students deeper. It encourages students to work together, to share ideas with students in their own class, and with partner students in other countries. Students experience the pros and cons of working in a team, learn how to listen to others’ opinions and how to collaborate with each other. They learn how to plan their work, and develop time-management skills. In my case, it enhances a better working relationship between the students and myself too. We spend so many hours, even when not at school, discussing through social media (my students are 14-15 years old) various ideas and possibilities of improving our project, that by the end of the project, I consider the students as my friends. eTwinning induces improved academic performance and a higher quality of work. Why? This is because students are at the centre of it all, they become active learners, and they have fun learning. Learning has a real purpose. I was in charge of the Biology part. Care2Feed project had several Biological moments! My favourite activity in this year’s project was the part whereby the students were asked to dream about the ideal Malta in 2050. A group of Biology students researched ways of how they would want Malta to be like in 2050. The Art students sketched their ideas, and the end results were then shared with the ICT students who in turn used Minecraft to project their dream Island. They managed to build a smart island based on all the Biological environmental facts discussed throughout the Biology syllabus. Students actually had fun learning these topics, to the contrary of what usually happens during a traditional lesson. A good example of the above is this year’s project entitled “Care2Feed”. The name of the project ‘Care2Feed’ is a description within itself. The project focuses on ways of how each one of us can take care of mother earth to be able to feed a population of nearly 10 billion people in the year 2050. Apart from working with six foreign partners, I also collaborated with two other school colleagues. The aim was to reach as many students as possible. The three subjects (Art, Biology and ICT) worked together through a thematic approach. The project explored various ways of how each individual can be sustainable for a better future. The areas of focus were: Food, with particular focus on the healthy food, sustainable diets and wastage of food due to overbuying or excess cooking, water which is everyday becoming a scarce resource, sustainable use of land and sea, future food options, importance of the 4Rs and the EXPO message: Feeding the planet, Energy for life. This project was worked in parallel with the ‘Together in EXPO’ missions and competitions. All partners in this project were actively involved in the EXPO competition, and in fact, I can proudly state that In conclusion, including eTwinning in my class as part of the learning process has helped students to build their knowledge through a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Learning through a project, as opposed to the regular classroom with text-based focus, brings out the wide range of capabilities students might have. My role was more of an advisor (suggesting which material to focus on), of an observer (observing that each student was giving her share) and of a time-keeper (ensuring that all work was finished on time). The students were relaxed in a rather friendly atmosphere! Through my experience, when students are interested in what they are doing and when they are free to use their areas of strength, they achieve at a higher level. eTwinning allows for such experiences! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 88