This is what eTwinning meant to my pupils and to me.
In the autumn of 2005, I was looking for ways to diversify my activity, to broaden the horizon of my pupils, to learn about collaborative work, to meet teachers from other countries and share experience, to bring something new into our school. Then someone asked me an incomprehensible question that brought a big change into my life: "Would you like to twin with us?". I am grateful to my first partners who opened that door with their trust.
The first project our school was involved in was called "Nature and Human Activity", and since Romania was not in the European Union at that time, I was only a collaborator and an apprentice. It was initiated by schools from Avila (Spain) and Opole (Poland) and it compared the environmental situation and the cultural heritage of our three cities. It was a complex project and, to be honest, first, both me and my students found it a bit difficult to work at. At that time, not all of them had a computer or an Internet connection at home, and using it as a research and creative tool was totally different from every-day school work. As for myself, I didn't know much about computers either and I was afraid I'd not be able to learn so quickly. But, the friendly eTwinning platform made it easy for all of us.
Our school is now part of a few other projects. We've been working with our partners and two new ones, a French school and an Italian one, in an eTwinning project connected to a Comenius one: "PLI. The Place We Live in". There are more teachers and students working and we have been using both internal and external tools, such as the blog or the on-line magazine.
The pupils have grown very fond of this kind of work, of feeling part of a big team, of sharing the tasks and the opinions. Needless to say that the forum is their favourite internal tool. Actually meeting their partners brought a new dimension and improved their social skills. Sometimes their enthusiasm surprised me, there were times when I only had to suggest a topic and they would come with materials on that in a few days. And that is something for my 14 year olds!
We have joined many other schools in a very interesting project called "Traditions across Europe", as this is a topic we like very much; and we have also started a small Maths project, "M@ths on Fingertips", that was a result of a Comenius training course.
It's been a long way and we hope there's still a long one ahead. I know my students would like to go on working on eTwinning and Comenius projects, even the pupils who graduated this summer said they would look for a project in their new high-school or maybe even suggest one. As for me, besides everything I was looking for, this kind of work brought me one more benefit: it motivated me to thoroughly learn using computers and gave me confidence.
A good school year and good luck with their projects to all the eTwinners!
Irina Vasilescu, School no. 92, Bucharest, Romania