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An eTwinning school in a visionary small town

CEIP Encarnacion Ruiz Porras is a school located in Marinaleda, a small municipality in the province of Seville.

Marinaleda’s story is a fascinating one. The small Andalusian village is internationally known as one with a special socio-political structure, which has helped its community remain strong and prosperous during years of general hardship.

Like the village, the school Encarnacion Ruiz Porras reflects the same success. The school, even if it is in a rural area, counts 20 teachers and 200 students, and has held the eTwinning School label since 2018. During the years of the current pandemic the school, despite the adversities, has stayed true to its cause and has uninterruptedly provide education in the village. 

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Salvador Paez Rodriguez, a teacher with 19 years of expertise, shares his experience of working in a such a school in a rural area. 

The classes for those students who are confined at home due to Covid-19 receive the material through Google Classroom along with additional material of videos and notes to explain the activities.  

Fortunately, the majority of students come to the school and we can work in class following the rules to avoid the pandemic. We have developed an action plan that must be respected by the entire educational community from the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year.

Coordination with my partners and the parents is arranged by online meetings. The topic of the meeting depends on the activities or for commenting on some aspect related to homework or new information from the school. 

Twinspace is my virtual classroom, the place where my students can work together and with the rest of our partners in the activities of the project.  The insecurity that today you work at school but tomorrow it may be that you do it from home, implies that the scheduling of activities is done much earlier and respecting the deadlines. Fortunately, we are working collaboratively on the active projects, taking advantage of the events to organise meetings through eTwinning Live. 

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The best way to create a class for my students in these circumstances is to use the tools offered by digital resources, both for creating activities and for evaluating them. In this section Twinspace has a special importance because you can organise the activities by pages and subpages and add according to the theme of the work. In addition, Twinspace offers the possibility of creating a Twinboard or debate for each of the pages in order to receive feedback, not only from students but also from teachers.  

Take as an example our eTwinning project “Travelling in a yellow submarine”, in which many of our partners are working from home due to confinement. This project is a virtual journey around the partner countries of the project in which the main theme is The Beatles, their music and their influence over the years. We want to open the doors of our schools, our classes, to other European schools and be inspired by the music of The Beatles towards everything that unites us and work together in a collaborative and participatory way. 

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Last but not least I like keeping the students motivated by presenting the tasks and activities for my students as a challenge. Their learning process should feel like a game to them. The most important thing is to be creative when preparing our final product rather than the result of the activity.