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New Media - New Methods: teaching and learning in the digital age
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Most pupils at our schools use mobile devices and modern media outside school all day, every day. But they are often blind to the risks involved. Neither do they realise the full potential of these devices for learning: most probably see the main purposes of these devices to be a) for keeping in contact with “friends” and b) for playing games. However, we are convinced that the mobile devices in our pupils' pockets and the computers in our classrooms and homes can be put to much better use for teaching and learning. Many teachers at our schools are very cautious in their use of digital technology in lessons and do not take advantage of the many opportunities the digital age brings into the classroom, often because because they feel unqualified to do so. The main aims of our project are a) to train the staff in our schools to make the most of digital technology in their lessons, thereby enhancing the use of ICT in the teaching / learning process and increasing the quality of education and b) to educate our pupils to use digital technology safely and discover the potential their devices offer for learning, using innovative and learner-centered pedagogical approaches thereby developing their digital skills as well as their basic skills. We realised in our current project that each of our schools has experience in a different field of digital technology. The English partner has a well equipped media suite for filming, photography, green-screen, stop-motion and digital editing; the German school uses mobile devices for teahcing and learning; the Finish school uses eBooks and materials; the Spanish school uses Moodle as a virtual learning environment; the Italian school has begun to teach coding. We plan to exchange examples of best practice with our European partners, placing the emphasis on different areas each term. Through blended learning, our pupils will work together online putting the the methods learnt into practice. Each phase will culminate in an international meeting at which staff will be trained by their hosts in their specialised area and the pupils will work in international teams, teaching their partners and putting the newly learned skill into practise. The main topics of our project will be: digital citizenship; digital multi-media film productions; the use of mobile devices, the creation and use of interactive eBooks, the creation and use of courses for learning platforms. We will test modern, learner-centred techniques such as flipping the classroom, blended learning and project-based learning and encourage our pupils to take more responsibility for their own learning. Throughout the project, the emphasis will be how these elements can improve teaching and learning , so as to better meet the needs of individual pupils, increase their motivation and improve their basic skills. We plan to visit each of the five partner schools once during the project with a team of around 40 visiting pupils and staff. They will work together to teach and learn from their partners. Four transnational project meetings for staff will allow for planning and evaluation as well as providing time for staff training for the upcoming activities. A final visit to England will provide an opportunity to share examples of best practice in all areas covered. Throughout the project we will use eTwinning and the Twinspce to collect our work and document our project as well as for online collaboration. The website will contain examples of best practice from all areas covered and lists of tools and methods used. The project will bring benefits that could not be achieved without the element of European collaboration: A reduction of prejudice against other languages and nationalities by getting to know international students; opportunities to travel, become more independent and self-confident by visiting or hosting partners; Improved social skills, intercultural skills and life skills through being hosts and guests and through working together. Pupils will experience and embrace differences, make new experiences by participating in activities and visits. This will also improve their language skills. For the teachers the visits enable them to receive an unprecedented view into the school systems, methods and traditions in other countries which will broaden their horizons and motivate them to re-think their own practices. The visits will improve their language skills and their teaching skills in the area of digital media. We expect this project to contribute to changing the way our pupils see and use their phones and computers and to making them more responsible digital citizens. We expect it to change the way the staff at our schools use modern media. They will aquire knowledge and experience in using computers and mobile devices as a way to make lessons more learner-centred and learners more independant.
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