After taking a career break to bring up my four children, I returned to teaching to find that students’ attitudes to learning languages had changed and that there was more technology in the classroom.
MFL teachers always go that extra mile to motivate their students and I was no exception. I was looking for ways for my students to practise their language skills by interacting with French students and I needed to embrace the new technology. Just at that time, eTwinning was launched. I got involved in eTwinning right from the start and have never looked back!
Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme, eTwinning is managed by the British Council in the UK and offers a free platform for European teachers to communicate, collaborate and create projects. It also offers a range of professional development opportunities.
My ‘Featured Group’ on the eTwinning site, ‘On s’amuse en classe FLE’, allows teachers of French as a second language from around Europe to communicate and collaborate online in French. The 3,000 members share resources and ideas, as well as taking part in online chat and learning events.
The resource I’ve created, 20 steps to successful eTwinning, will help you to set up your own project with a partner school in Europe.
Here’s an extract from this resource:
- Register online. Go to www.etwinning.net and register, using your school email address. For safeguarding reasons, only those working in a school who already have contact with students (teachers, teaching assistants or school librarians) are eligible to use the site. You will then receive a verification email.
- Explore. Click on the ‘eTwinning Live’ tab on the site’s homepage and have a look at the partner forums, where you can check out project ideas proposed by other teachers. Post a possible project idea of your own on a suitable forum and see what response you get.
- Make contact. Look in ‘People’ and send a contact request in order to get in touch with a teacher you’d like to connect with. Once they accept your request, you are ready to set up a project. Start by getting a dialogue going with the teacher to get to know them. The better the teacher link, the more sustainable the project.
- Create a project. Once the project is approved you can find it in the ‘Projects’ section of the site. You now automatically have your own private TwinSpace workspace. This is where you work collaboratively with your partners. You can now add other colleagues who want to work with your project or colleagues from your own school.
- Schedule some dates. Map out a schedule of your twinning activities and set up a joint calendar. Check holiday dates in each school and mark these on the calendar. Set realistic deadlines.
If you are interested in setting up links with a partner school in Europe, you can also find more information on www.etwinning.net.