eTwinning - A New Path for European Schools
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This paper examines the eTwinning action against the background of 21st century educational and social forces in Europe. It describes in detail the evolution and structure of eTwinning, the opportunities it offers to teachers in terms of pedagogical practice and professional development and the achievments of the portal www.eTwinning.net.
eTwinning began as an initiative of the European Commission in 2004 with the express purpose of twinning schools in Europe in a non formal way, enabling teachers to work with each other without the major commitment to the type of long term work normally undertaken in the context of a Comenius project. It is designed to offer a very flexible approach to school collaborative work and has quite a unique structure in terms of the level of support offered to the teacher.
One of the unique qualities of eTwinning lies in the existence of very active support services at both National and European Level provided by the National Support Service (NSS) and the Central Support Service (CSS), as well as a number of built in incentives for teachers in the form of quality labels.
The professional development programme for those involved in eTwinning includes workshops at both European and national level which provide a platform for teachers exchange and growth of good practice.
Core to the success of this action is the www.eTwinning.net portal, a highly sophisticated communications platform available in 20 languages and offering a wide range of specific tools for teachers.
Is eTwinning successful? The answer has to be yes when one examines the statistics in relation to numbers of schools and teachers registered. Teachers find it is an easy, non-bureaucratic way to realise projects together in a highly developed online platform.