I couple of years ago I was constantly thinking about how to teach English in a meaningful context, to make pupils understand that English is not just a subject in school but also an international language used world wide. Of course my pupils know that English is useful when they travel to other countries, but English teaching did not make sense to them. Furthermore, I have these computer boys who learn and use English when they play World of Warcraft, Leagues of Legends and so on and these pupils who listen to lots of music and learn English. But it was hard to make especially the computer boys to see the meaning of English in school. When our school started this one-to-one-project we saw the opportunity of reaching the world outside the school building. Finally we discovered eTwinning!
eTwinning is a platform that gives opportunities for teachers and students in Europe to meet and cooperate in various projects by using ICT and services that eTwinning offers. There is more information about eTwinning in our course book and on www.etwinning.se but in short this is how it works:
- You register on eTwinning homepage as a teacher, but your headmaster will have to be included and informed.
- You write a presentation about who you are and what kind of project you are interested in.
- There are various possibilities to search for specific projects, schools or persons (eTwinners) or you will be found by someone who finds your project idea interesting.
- When you find a partner you plan and register you project. The administrators will then send you an approval/confirmation that you can start your project. There is among other things an email-function for you to use.
- You will be informed how Twin Space works and then it is only for you to get started.
- When you have accomplished your project you can apply for a Quality Label.
Our projectsThis year my classes are involved in three different project: European Teenagers, Getting to know each other and Newsbox. A fourth is soon starting, Young Europeans Speak – YES!
These projects have the same aim in common: The purpose is to let the students to get to know each other and each other's culture, meet teens from another European country and see similarities and differences. We also want students to be able to use English in meaningful contexts in order to develop their linguistic ability. Furthermore, the aim is to use ICT as natural means. There is also an English syllabus and the curriculum to have in mind, but that comes naturally: speak, listen, write, read, find strategies of learning, cultural exchange, the international perspective… .
In these projects we cooperate with students and teachers from Poland, The Netherlands, Spain and Germany. We meet in group projects, Skype-sessions, exchange information on Twin Space (texts, Power Point-presentations, pictures, videos), we use blogs (news magazine), recordings (Voki), co-writing (google.docs) to mention some. When we read and listen to other European teenagers’ work the teaching and learning of English comes naturally and it is for real. All these persons exist and all the texts, pictures and voices that we read and listen to are for real.
Thanks to ICT and our one-to-one-project this is possible.