In recent years, countries in the European Union have attached greater importance toacquiring a foreign language at primary school level. Children should come into contactwith the variety of European languages and cultures as early as possible. With anexpanding Europe, this is relevant to their everyday life and will subsequently berelevant to their later professional life. The Primalingua (PL) project aims to take real life“Europe” into primary schools. The aim is to build a pan-European network of 50 PLschools, in which primary school children can establish contact very easily with oneanother by means of a common foreign language. The project partners are beginning bydeveloping a shared Internet learning platform on which PL schools will be able tocommunicate with one another. They are also creating highly standardised multimedialearning units, which students will be able to work with later, as well as a teachers’manual. One group of project partners is focusing on media skills in education. Theother group of partners, educational institutions, who have school networks at theirdisposal (which is important for the desired long-term impact), is mostly responsible fortesting the learning units created by canvassing and supporting all 50 PL schools.Choosing partners in Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western Europe, whothemselves have international contacts, should result in as large a range of schools aspossible in many different countries. Students essentially communicate with one anotherby exchanging multimedia presentations of themselves (school, home environment,town/region), whose content and language is appropriate for primary school level. Allstudents compile information in their mother tongue and in one foreign language. Thisenables students not only to gain a better knowledge of the foreign languages spokenmore widely, such as German, English, French and Spanish, but also to be brought intocontact with unfamiliar European languages. At the same time, a multilingual exchangeof subjects on regional and local culture, history and geography is taking place. Thisgives schools the opportunity, especially those in rural regions and small communitiesoutside the larger towns and cities, to present themselves to Europe. At the same time,students are introduced to a variety of audiovisual media as well as dealing withinformation technology. In addition to text, this presentation of personal profiles includesphotographs, graphics and audio material, all created by the students themselves. Theproject links the objectives of media and linguistic skills and forms of “learning forEurope” that are appropriate to the age group, including the key objective of culturalawareness.
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