THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
Annica Magnusson worked at a school in southern Sweden called Korsbackaskolan, which was a “ pilot school” for ICT in the municipality. Being a pilot school they were one of the first schools to receive computers. Magnusson had since the internet was installed at the school tried to incorporate it in her teaching. However, finding good information can be difficult to attain from the vast source of internet.
Her project is research-based (Krashen among others) who states that you learn a language better if you are subjected to it in authentic communication.
Magnusson designed this project where students would get in contact with other students via e-mail. All e-mails went through her e-mail account for several different reasons (security, supervision). They would then work project based together with other language learners across Europe. The aspects brought up in this project are multiple, for example, a communicative approach to learning, a cultural approach to learning, authenticity, investigative learning to name a few.
To develop computer based communication in English, French, German and Spanish in the compulsory school, grades 6-9.
To increase linguistic knowledge and skill in both students and teachers.
To incorporate several subjects so that the students will attain a fuller understanding of a specific theme or topic.
To create language teaching based on an interactive and communicative approach, based on the students' interests and level.
For the students to learn how to plan and evaluate different e-mail projects with their teacher.
To create intercultural understanding.
To motivate the students for an international exchange.
Annica Magnusson found relevant sites on the web, such as Kidlink and ESP, which provided an opportunity to get in touch with other schools across the world. Both of the named examples are non-profit organizations with a goal of assisting in information exchanges via computers in schools.
Together with her students she planned the upcoming area of work and created questions around the subject matter. The students would brainstorm, find information on the subject matter, discuss with each other and the teacher, create a draft, proof-read eachother's letters before actually sending an e-mail. The exchange of e-mails was used not only in English classes but in other languages as well, such as French and German. All of the exchanges, from initial contact and planning between teachers to the actual responses from students from across the world were saved in a binder. This made the progress easy to follow and for students to evaluate for another time.
Magnusson made a group of contacts/colleagues a “panel of experts” to help or assist her students. They were all from ongoing or past collaborations. The students had the opportunity to e-mail them questions and receiving a prompt answer with their view on the matter.
Another aspect Annica Magnusson brings up as important for the success of this project was to work with teachers of different subjects on the same project. For example if her students wrote e-mails to students in South Africa, the social science teacher, science teacher and the music teacher were involved as well. So work in groups of teachers, not necessarily with the same subject, was something that proved to work well.
In the project report it states that students were more involved and felt a greater motivation to learn. Students who usually did not speak up in class were more inclined to get “heard”.
The teachers got several new contacts with teachers across the world and could exchange ideas, and get inspriration from eachother.
To spread the idea of working with ICT and e-mailing to other schools and teachers. This project is very transversal and can be adopted into any language. Another aspect is to widen the collaboration with other countries and schools.
Annica Magnusson has before and since the award participated in several international and national conferences and collaborations. New projects based on the Global Classroom have been created as a spin off from TGC.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The Global classroom is transversal and very easy to adapt to any learning situation. The project also has the aspect of interculturalism and sees the benefits in using the target language in everyday communications. These are the criteria that I found relevant for The Global Classroom:
1. Comprehensive approach. Every element of the language initiative should ensure that the needs of the students are identified and met.
2. Added value. Initiatives should provide a tangible improvement in the teaching and learning of languages in their national context.
3. Motivation enhancement. Initiatives should motivate the students and teachers to improve their language skills.
4. Innovation. Initiatives should be original and creative. They should introduce previously unknown approaches to language learning.
5. European emphasis. Initiatives should be adapted to Europe's linguistic diversity and make use of this advantage.
6. Transferability. Initiatives should potentially be a source of inspiration for other language projects in different countries.
THE NATIONAL AGENCY’S PERSPECTIVE
This project contributes in the increase of intercultural understanding and also the increase in students' motivation using a stimulating and easily adapted e-mail methodology.
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