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eTwinning: my story… with a happy end.

First a few words about my professional situation… so you can better understand how I experienced working within eTwinning and what and how I learned.

I am a primary school teacher working in 5 primary schools and in kindergarten.
I am ICT co-ordinator for these schools and co-ordinator for all the ICT-teachers in the region.
I was teacher trainer for 9 years in the catholic school system in Flanders.
I started 25 years ago with ICT in my class and in my school. 10 years ago I started with eTwinning projects with partners from all over the world. (They called it ‘twinning-projects’.)
More than 20 projects are now completed, some are small, other very big.

A few years ago The European Schoolnet started with eTwinning and so I join this important project with my activities and my partners in Europe.

What did I learn working within eTwinning? (as a teacher, co-ordinator and teacher trainer)

-eTwinning projects made it possible to integrate ICT better in all areas of the curriculum.
Before eTwinning the computer was for the most part used in training of Arithmetic’s and language. My search for integration of ICT went in the right direction.

Examples: (some of my projects)

ICT and protection of nature

ICT and children’s rights

ICT and feelings

ICT and art

Communication and collaboration are the keywords.

-International collaboration and communication made it possible to create new materials. Virtual and real objects that can be used by everyone. In these materials you discover ideas of teachers and children from different countries and cultures.

Examples: (some of my projects)

A card game about “expressing feelings”

A collection of animals

-I learned to create my own online software and tools that can be used by our partners.

Examples: (some of my projects)

A sketching program

A construction game

-I learned to build up an eTwinning strategy, so I can help my colleagues to start up their own projects.

My 10 rules are:
-keep it simple
-use a universal language
-use a universal subject
-involve all your pupils
-make use of virtual and real objects
-look for partners all over Europe (the world)
-make your own online tools (or make use…)
-reply to your e-mails
-join the projects of your partners
-(let) evaluate your project

How did I learn?

I started very early before Internet was used by most people (with FIDO-net). I built up a bulletin board and communicated with other teachers in a very very slow way…

I learned by doing, often with a lot of difficulties. 10 years ago I had to send 5000 e-mails to find some partners. Now I have a team of 25 fine people from Europe and all over the world. always ready to work with me… Now the European Schoolnet and eTwinning is THE instrument to find a partner.

I learn a lot during my teacher training sessions: teachers needed open source software, pictures, documentation. They had a lot of questions…

Once a teacher said: “The computer will destroy the social connections between people”. Since this day on I try to proof the opposite.

Did eTwinning change my life and my teaching?

Yes, as you see I learned a lot… ICT integration is for me the most important problem.
But there is more!
I met great teachers with great ideas. I met new friends who even travelled from the other side of he world to see me and to teach my pupils.

What would I be without eTwinning? I don’t know? Maybe a lonely computer nerd…
eTwinning saved my life ;-)

“eTwinning is winning!” That’s my conclusion! That’s my story!

Lieven Van Parys, Primary Schools Meulebeke, BELGIUM
(Now working on a few new projects ;-)

@ni & m@te

Make @ wiz