Ireland National Support Service Press Release
Trailblazing Kerry school wins EU eTwinning competition
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Congratulations are in order for Knockaclarig National School, Castleisland, Co. Kerry. They have come first in their category of the EU-wide etwinning competition for their project ‘Make a film and share IT with friends 2.0!’
e-Twinning is an EU initiative to encourage schools from different EU countries to team up and work on specific projects together over the internet. Knockaclarig National School partnered up with a Swedish school and were declared winners of the 4-11 year old category this evening.
Three other Irish schools were also short-listed among the finalists: and St. Catherine’s National School in Rush, Co. Dublin.
Loreto Community School, Milford, Co. Donegal
St Mary's Special School, Navan
St Catherine's National School, Rush, Co. Dublin
As part of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, e-Twinning offers schools in Europe a means to communicate and share ideas over the internet on specific projects. Through an online platform which makes use of web 2.0 tools to facilitate communication, e-Twinning has become a truly collaboration-based community where teachers can demonstrate and strengthen their work in the classroom.
Mr. Tom Roche, Principal of Knockaclarig National School, is at this year's annual e-Twinning conference in Prague (13-15 February) where the EU Commission announced the ten category winning e-Twinning school projects. Mr. Roche believes that this e-Twinning project is a great example of social networking. There was “ease of communication, query and willingness to exchange and learn more about the other person’s point of view” and his pupils got a picture of Sweden “that could not be assimilated through an atlas or a text book”. He added that “while Science was the kernel of the project module and it was strictly adhered to, a myriad of topics surfaced and were treated in many different formats”.
On the eve of the conference, Jan Figel EU Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, explained the significance of e-Twinning in 2009, "2009 is the Year of Innovation and Creativity, so it is especially fitting that we celebrate the ever-growing success of the e-Twinning scheme as an example of creativity in education. We need to encourage innovative approaches in education to improve the quality and effectiveness of Europe's school systems and help equip young Europeans for the society and economy of the future.”
The Prague conference is hosting over 400 participants, comprising teachers from across Europe, representatives from e-Twinning's central and national support services, and other important stakeholders in school education. The conference is focusing on “Creativity and e-Twinning” and speakers at the conference include Dr. Edward de Bono, a recognised world authority in the field of lateral thinking, and an Ambassador for the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009.
Currently there are 50,000 participants in the e-Twinning project and increasing numbers of schools are finding this an innovative way of teaching students about science geography and other cultures. e-Twinning is managed in Ireland on behalf of the Department of Education and Science by Léargas.
More on Knockaclarig National School Project
The basis for the Kerry/Swedish project was the production, sharing and feedback on media material. The pupils from the two schools collaborated to produce films, which are used as a teaching tool when working with themes chosen from the syllabus. The media material is published and discussed by the pupils on the project blog.
One of the themes the Kerry pupils worked on was Irish wild flowers. They went to a local farmer’s field beside the school and captured images of the ten flowers they had selected. As a result they became aware of the local names for the flowers, so then researched their botanical names.
They found the Irish names and asked for the equivalents from the Swedish school. Each student gave an audio report on one of the flowers. The project work then moved into other curriculum areas, drawing the plants, choosing music to accompany a journey to a field and exploring the theme of flowers in poetry, song and girls’ names. Much of their research was built into the slideshow that they uploaded to the blog.
Joan Flanagan, Education Officer at the European Commission Representation in Ireland, explains what e-Twinning is all about [489 KB] .
For more information:
The e-Twinning Portal: www.etwinning.net
Kay O’Regan, Léargas,
189-193 Parnell Street, Dublin 1
Tel: 01-873 1411