The project’s chosen priority area was ‘open and innovative practices in a digital era’ and ‘social inclusion,’ with its main aim being to facilitate ownership of the learning process both in and out of the classroom. Throughout the project, pupils actively participated both in the planning and implementation of the project’s activities by choosing activities and the formats in which they were to be carried out. As a result, they have gained better awareness in learning as well as improved important life skills that they can use in real-life learning environments following completion of their studies. The partnership had a number of effective strategies towards meeting the specific needs of each pupil in the organisation, regardless of their social background, ethnicity, and learning disabilities, which motivated every student to perform to the very best of their ability and enjoy the activities. The project aimed to educate all participants in developing intercultural knowledge and understanding through planned activities on themes such as language learning, health and wellness, information technologies, and foreign language learning. Pupils took ownership of the project’s activities, which raised the profile of schools in digital competences and foreign language learning. The project’s results (the eBook, eMagazine, and tutorial videos) were uploaded onto the eTwinning platform, with the project’s website having provided the tools for collaboration, presentation, and evaluation. In a nutshell, Own Your Learning 2.0 resulted in increased pupil involvement and responsibility in their own learning; encouraged teachers and staff to use digital tools and gain a wider perspective on educational matters; deepened cooperation among participating schools; introduced tools, methods, and materials that support the work of teachers and student learning; offered an invaluable opportunity for the sharing of professional competences among participating teachers and their European colleagues; and, gave students a new perspective of their European identity while widening their understanding of cultural differences and similarities.
The project carried out three learning/teaching/training activities through student mobilities, with a total of 24 students and 5 teachers having participated in from Finland (Latokartano Comprehensive School); students came from lower-secondary level (13-15 years of age). As a school with a culturally diverse population, participating students comprised of Finnish, Estonian, Turkish, and Middle-Eastern backgrounds. Furthermore, we tried to involve students from all partner schools with learning difficulties and who were socio-economically challenged in the project’s activities and mobilities in order to facilitate a more inclusive approach. Participating students and staff members from partner schools comprised of 24 students (12-18 years of age) and 4 teachers from Ireland; 24 students (12-16 years of age) and 4 teachers from the Netherlands; and, 24 students (11-18 years of age) and 6 teachers from Portugal.
The project particularly enhanced pedagogical and skill in language learning and intercultural competences, soft skills, and the improvement of communicational skills (in person and virtual communication). Pupils actively participated in the planning and executing of activities, and were guided by teachers from the very beginning. Dissemination materials were not only digitally developed by teachers from each partner school, but also by participating pupils; for Finnish partners, this was a complementary extension of previous projects, with significant innovation by both staff and pupils. Flipped classroom videos were created entirely by pupils, with teachers having learnt how to employ the flipped classroom approach in their classrooms following their attendance of a workshop during the LTTA in Ireland. This experience significantly enhanced pupils’ involvement in the learning process as opposed to the traditional education approach where teachers plan and conduct learning. The project and LTTA activities such as flipped classroom, app development, MakeyMakey, photo shop, and the development of the eMagazines were innovative both for the staff and pupils as they involved active participation in planning and implementation. According to the Portuguese partners, this project was especially innovative due to the tasks carried out by students throughout the partnership; for example, developing the flipped classroom videos was an entirely new approach in itself, with the utilisation of multiple online tools having provided new experiences for both students and staff. According to the Irish partners, this project was innovative because it was related to a major new educational reform that schools were experiencing at the time of the partnership. It was ideally tailored to focus on the key areas of this reform and allowed participating pupils and staff to collaborate and share best practices at participating schools. The project also complimented the Department of Education’s reforms for the Junior Cycle in Ireland and also the school’s 2017/2018 'School Improvement Plan.' Killorglin Community College served as a pilot school for an IT initiative by the Department of Education, with this project having furthered their digital knowledge on addressing 'Digital Literacy' among their students.
The project engaged both virtual and physical learning environments to support participants’ involvement in the project, with the eTwinning platform allowing students to communicate in a safe environment towards improving their language and social skills, which they further practiced during the mobilities. Similarly, group work and workshops attendance in international groups gave participating students and staff members the opportunity to cooperate and learn from each other. Although most of the activities involved the use of digital skills, the flipped classroom activity for instance, utilised the blended learning approach. Students planned and created videos where they were taught a given aspect of their native language (e.g. exchanging pleasantries, counting from 1 to 10, introducing themselves, etc.), watched said videos prior to the mobilities, and practiced what they learnt through the videos during the mobilities. Teachers took on the role of facilitators in this, and most processes throughout the partnership.
As the project required student autonomy, teachers’ primary role was to facilitate and foster ownership of activities by acting as a mediator – this was easier to achieve for some partners than others. However, all teachers gained new skills and competences through the exchange of good practices and the sharing of experiences in international meetings, and online communication platforms. Peer cooperation and learning was particularly significant in the flipped classroom workshop (in Ireland) and the eTwinning workshops (in Ireland and Finland). On a more local level, participating staff were able to share newly gained skills in their own organisations so as to widen the impact.
Pupils gained awareness and learned to assume responsibilities at a different level by actively participating in the planning and implementation of activities. This involved organising formal and informal events, such as the learning/teaching/training activities’ opening and closing ceremonies, field trips, workshops, as well as the creation of audio-visual materials such as flipped classroom videos and eMagazines. By taking part in workshops held during the activities in Ireland, Portugal, and the Netherlands, pupils gained better understanding of the process of learning and the different learning environments, including the learning of new ICT skills and a more conscious approach to their wellbeing. Furthermore, pupils had the opportunity to significantly improve their linguistic and social skills during mobilities given their stay with host families. Participating staff members significantly improved their ICT skills by participating in workshops and activities such as the development of eMagazine, the basics of eTwinning, photo shop, programming, and even the use of Whatsapp as a means for communication in urgent situations. They also had the chance to observe another European counterpart’s lessons, hence directly gaining better understating of practices, policies, and techniques in education across partner countries. Each partner organisation gained a wider perspective and more experience in the active involvement of learners in the learning process thanks to the nature of the project’s activities. This aim was particularly crucial for the Finnish partners as it was an important part of their new national core curriculum. Another very important impact for Finnish partners was exploring new learning environments by visiting partner organisations for mobilities. Similarly, the Irish and Portuguese partners benefited significantly from the exchange of experiences in ICT skills by Dutch and Finnish partners as they were adopting new ICT environments into their respective organisations. By participating in mobilities, staff members were able to observe first-hand how ICT is embedded into daily school life in the Netherlands and Finland and adapt such observations and ideas to their needs.
- Project category
- Primary education
- Project year
Agrupamento de Escolas de Moimenta da Beira - Escola Básica e Secundária de Moimenta da Beira
Killorglin Community College