The power of eTwinning teams and shared passion

“eTwinning is spreading a positive virus in Europe, the virus of pedagogical innovation,” stated Riina Vuorikari, moderator of the panel discussion on the last day of the Conference.  During this interactive session all eTwinners could vote to express their thoughts about eTwinning School Teams and the Class Room of the Future.  

“Teachers’ collaboration can be increased through School Teams.” said Riina. “Why? Because of the power of immediate and contextualized help from colleagues!  This is also shown by TALIS research of the OECD in 2009.  Cooperation among staff members creates social and emotional support, exhange of ideas and practical advice. Collaboration enhances professionalism, feeling of self-efficacy and even prevents stress and burn out.“

The details of the votes can be found in the presentation. Let’s take a look at the opinion of the eTwinners at the conference in Berlin.

What is the main obstacles for teachers to work with their colleagues?

1. There is never enough time to work together.
2. Curriculum does not support interdisciplinary team work in my school.
3. Working in a team is difficult.

Adam Pokorny (DG EAC European Commission) saw this as an important message for policy makers.  “Teachers constantly receive new tasks.  They do not get the chance to work on the challenges of the future of education. If policy wants to make changes, we have to think about that first. ” 

What is the main benefit for teachers to work with their colleagues?

1. Share competences and complement each others weaknesses.
2. Increase motivation both in teachers and students.
3. I learn a lot from colleagues from my school.
4. Pedagogical benefits for students are very clear, besides it s showing a good example to students.

“This is the same message as we find in the TALIS research. Teachers learn most from each other. There is an important task for the schoolleaders. eTwinning can be an opportunity for the  professional development of the school team. But how many heads know or see this opportunity? “  Adam Pokorny asked.

 “We as teachers expect our students to work together, so we should be a model for them. “ Inge De Cleyn tweeted.

What do eTwinners think about social networking?

  1.  Cooperating with eTwinners on things other than eTwinning projects also helps me to develop as a teacher.
  2. The eTwinning community allows me to keep updated with latest educational trends.
  3. Social networking features on the desktop help me network with all eTwinners.

Is eTwinnning a model for the classroom of the future?

Relationships between teachers and technology in the classoroom of the future. In the future…
1.… new technologies support teaching, but teachers are still the core of teaching.
2.… new technologies can take a lot of workload from teachers to free them for other tasks such as face to face time (for tutoring and mentoring with students).
3… new technologies can support teaching, but only with a limited scope.

 “Learning has to go outside the schools, integration of new technologies can be very important to reach this objective. Teachers should go outside, go beyond school and class rooms, so pupils can also do some informal learning.” Riina added to this discussion point.

All eTwinners in this session shared the last thought about the relationship between teachers and technology.  “Pupils do not pick up expertise or technology from the teachers,  they only take over the passion for a subject. The passion for learning is the most important thing we can teach our pupils.  This can never by replaced by a machine, technology or online tool.” The thundering applause of all the attendees for Peter Clarke who gave his view from out of the audience showed a major consent on this.

Now all eTwinners can go back home and spread this passionate virus across Europe.