A group of lecturers from teacher training colleges in Denmark, Norway and Italy have created an eTwinning project for student teachers. The project is about the use of technology in education. University College Southern Denmark (UC Syd) has recently joined the TTI network and Ms Sofia Rontini, a lecturer of English, has been one of the initiators of the project.
In 2011 it became possible for student teachers at teacher training colleges to work with eTwinning and become competent users of the platform. In Denmark UC North, UC South and Absalon have all joined the network in order to make their student teachers active eTwinners during their studies and embed eTwinning into their teaching practice.
The target group for the project was student teachers. Through cooperation they were given the opportunity to reflect upon the role which technology has in education and in everyday life at school (very relevant at present as we are all physically isolated due to Covid-19 but able to meet and cooperate online). The platform for cooperation was eTwinning where the student teachers have been able to exchange knowledge, experience and ideas with students from other European countries. The project was carried out in March and April 2020.
The structure and the tasks of the project have acted as scaffolding for student teachers’ access to the many different tools and possibilities on eTwinning. The lecturers created the project in eTwinning and then got access to a TwinSpace (the home page of the project). Here the student teachers could introduce themselves, chat, add photos, texts and videos.
The 85 student teachers were split into 15 groups with 3-4 student teachers from each country.
Subsequently each group created their own page on the TwinSpace and presented their answers and results of the tasks which they solved together. The first task was an introduction:
- Introduce yourself: get to know each other and eTwinning. Present your national traditions, especially traditions in a school focusing on technology.
This task required being able to cooperate to in a global classroom, communicate, understand and be understood.
The student teachers have further strengthened their own oral, intercultural competences and 21st century skills through eTwinning. They had to cooperate, communicate, think critically and be creative. Each group of student teachers from Italy, Denmark and Norway had to work together across borders, solving tasks, discussing and creating products which they then presented online.
Thereafter the groups worked on the following tasks:
- A didactical task about developing lesson plans using technology.
- An evaluation task: how to connect theory and practice? The task had to be presented by using a digital tool.
The project has contributed to an international vision and strengthening of intercultural competences through “internationalisation at home”. The participants have met online and not (yet) face-to-face which could be the next step via this eTwinning project.
All student teachers have acquired a thorough knowledge of eTwinning as an online platform for cooperation. They have also gained knowledge about the use of technology in education in other European countries and strengthened their own digital competences.
Furthermore, the project has given both the lecturers and the student teachers a European network (future colleagues) which they can expand on through future eTwinning projects. Through the tasks, which the groups solved, the student teachers now have a professional and personal knowledge of European traditions, school systems, teacher training colleges and digital teaching materials.
Sofia Rontini from UC Syd has said that the lecturers and the student teachers from Norway, Italy and Denmark have completed an evaluation of the project which they all consider a great success. The project has had an impact for the student teachers themselves as they have had the opportunity to develop oral, intercultural and didactic competences and reflect upon how to transform their work into a teaching context with their pupils. The eTwinning project has given the student teachers a really good opportunity to combine theory and practice in a genuine and meaningful way. Several student teachers have chosen to include eTwinning in their final thesis. It will be exciting and challenging for the pupils to meet newly qualified teachers who are also engaged eTwinners.
Written by: Lisbeth Kodal, eTwinning ambassador