eTwinning winner: Europe, Education, Ecole - Club de Philosophie - Lycée de Sèvres, France, Liceo Classico L.A.Muratori, Italy & Co.
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This project made it possible to develop a network of remote exchanges (TIC) between the pupils and the teachers on the role of the culture, teaching and the school establishments in the Europe of tomorrow. The Lycée of Sevres, France, Liceo Classico Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Italy, Dzukija School, Alytus, Lithuania, Lycée No VII, Peristeri, Greece, Gymnázium J.G. Tajovského, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, Gymnasium Matyase Lerche, Brno, Czech Republic.
What was your motivation in participating in the projet of eTwinning?
The eTwinning project was launched in 2005, but since 2001 the Philosophy Club of the lycée of Sevres had an idea of the need for a kind of "twinning", initially inside the lycée, with other disciplines, and then outside the lycée, with other European establishments, becoming its partners eTwinning from 2005. Perhaps that requires an explanation.
In France, philosophy is taught in all the final classes of the lycée, with the idea of having the pupils reflect on a certain number of questions which they raise, or which they will be posed later in their life of adult and citizen, so that they develop a concern for the freedom of their judgement and the responsibility for their control. It is in this context of initiation to philosophy that our Club of philosophy was born, with its Internet site: http://lyc-sevres.ac-versailles.fr/ and, and, a little later its project Europe, Education and School: http://lyc-sevres.ac-versailles.fr/projet-eee.php
Proposing conferences and debates to the pupils, it invites them to be confronted in their reflexion with all that can enable them to look further into their analysis, and to thus facilitate the development of their personal thinking.
The first step, taken in the direction of this opening, thus started with the recognition of multidisciplinarity in the centre of our lycée : together, with colleagues from Literature, history, languages, or the International Sections, the Club of philosophy could make a success of its first steps with discussions often filmed and even broadcast on the Internet. The second step came in parallel, with the active appropriation of communication technologies, strongly stimulated by the close cooperation with the Regional Center of Teaching Documentation (CDRP) of the Academy of Versailles. Their integration in the reflexive stages of the Club made it possible to open up our lycée to a really external partnership and to set up the basis of a networking project nourished by the preparation, with our partners, of the conference-debates diffused on the Internet : http://melies.ac-versailles.fr/projet-europe/direct/
The enrolment of the project Europe, Education, École within the framework of the eTwinning action was a decisive stage for the entire partnership, initially because it thus obtained not only recognition of its "electronic twinnings" (which was already in existence), but also a remarkable visibility on the eTwinning portal. It was also important because this European label guaranteed our partnership a stability permanence which counts much for its future development. Lastly, since the spirit of the action eTwinning consists in developing experiments with communication technologies, our project, which proposes combining the experiment of the reflexion and the experiment of these technologies, fully took its place there. The honour which we have received today for Pedagogical Innovation by the European Commission confirms us still more in the idea that our project needed a framework like that of eTwinning, to be able to affirm its true nature and, perhaps, to obtain additional means for its realization.
What was the most satisfying aspect and and what the most difficult in the realization of your project?
What was undoubtedly the most difficult to assume in our project, was to make a success of its setting up and to face a quasi total absence of means of realization, both in ICT back up as well as financial. I believe that the only true remedy for the frequently encountered difficulties, lies in the motivation, will and devotion of all the partners, some of whom remain anonymous: pupils, alumni, colleagues, former colleagues, volunteers etc, all inspired by this simple idea, according to which the promotion of a culture of quality to the service of the school institution constitutes the true justification of our teaching engagements. And it is this conviction which made it possible to continue the development of the project until its enrolment within the framework of the action eTwinning at the time of the launching conference in January 2005.
The second difficulty is due to the resistances generated by our fears of communication technologies and by our isolation in our teaching and with our pupils. It is sometimes amplified by difficulties of a structural origin: rudimentary data-processing equipment, timetables unsuited to the innovating initiatives, administrative slowness, etc. Moreover, the constant acceleration of the technological developments, which one awaits until they become finally, one day, completely accessible, makes it so that one is tempted indefinitely to defer their integration in our teaching practices.
As for the Club of Philosophy, it took the risk of launching itself a spirit of experimentation both technological and pedagogical, and to beginning its adventure with the means at its disposal. Fortunately in that, it was supported with competence and benevolence, by the Regional Center of Teaching Documentation of Versailles (CRDP), its first true partner, who allowed the project to test its feasibility and thus check whether it was worth all the effort. But what is really interesting in a project like ours, is that it makes it possible to discover completely remarkable resources of creativity, at the same time very close to us and also far from us. Federated within a true educational project, they generate an unsuspected synergy, which makes the achievement of the objectives at the same time more effective and easier. The "differences", the "diversities" and even the "oppositions", worked in the long run from a properly cultural point of view, far from being an obstacle, create a feeling of shared success, and significantly change our way of working.
According to you, what does the eTwinning project add to your usual school work?
This kind of project upsets a little the teaching practices of the establishments concerned. To organize a video conference, in which several lycée take part at a distance, or simply to timetable common work sessions in partnership, all that necessarily brings an additional batch of material problems to solve. But beyond the disturbance and the concerns of the organization, which it involves, it seems to me undeniable that the experiment of such a multilateral co-operation not only brings a rather exceptional broadmindedness, but also stimulates within each establishment the emergence of competences which sometimes one did not even suspect to be there.
To want to work in partnership is to give the opportunity to all the talents and all competences to appear. Pooling all these energies, essential for the success even of only one video conference, develops the contribution of each participant and renews the idea of what one can achieve pedagogically. In this kind of demonstration, the contribution brought by pupils is perhaps quite as significant and relevant as that of their teacher. For my part, it is always with a feeling of humility that I refer to the debt I owe to some of my pupils, or alumni, who were able to give an impulse to our project and to realise the technological possibilities effectively.
As a teacher, this project perhaps has given me the opportunity to check the saying of Plato, in connection with education, that it must "produce with the most possible facility and effectiveness a change of orientation". Indeed, it is significant to be able to change one’s manner of seeing, including the manner of working and of teaching! To assume the risk of innovation, to open oneself without prejudices to the differences which can meet there, that does not resemble much the choice of Plato’s "facility”. But a partnership which works, sometimes gives the impression that gradually everything will become easier. The implementation of this project, centered mainly on the idea of education, is likely indeed to have also an educational effect on those undertaking it.
And what kind of impact has your project had on other classes, or other establishments? How could they benefit from your experiment?
Our project has perhaps had initially more of a local impact. Indeed, our lycée, encouraged by the successful initiative of the project Europe, Education, School, is currently seeking to launch projects similar to ours, on topics like sustainable development, or co-operation with the countries of Africa. For them, distance networking and ICT video conferences obviously constitute a very important element. But our experiments in this line interest perhaps especially our colleagues who teach in the international sections of the lycée of Sevres and who are completely ready to establish networking partnerships with English or German establishments.
They will be probably among the first to be quickly investing in this type of experiment. For this reason, we have proposed the establishment, in Sevres, of an introductory course in ICT and digital imaging, which should lead to the training of a video team able to operate broadcasts on the Interne autonomously. In addition to this extra teaching dynamism that a project of the eTwinning type can cause, one can also expect the emergence in its wake of a new way of working in class. Indeed, to agree to teach under the eyes of someone else, another colleague or other pupils, and to propose to them joint working sessions, carried out simultaneously in several towns of Europe, from Lithuania to Greece, t is not only to push back a little more the walls of the classroom, so that it grows rich by the diversity of knowledge and experiments, but is above all to want to find the major direction of the "culture", whose natural place should be precisely at the school, and which consists in giving oneself the means of integrating into the deepest part of oneself that which exists outside of oneself and beyond.
Lastly, if I were authorized to speak from the point of view of our partners, I would perhaps say that the project which links us, and which develops the practice of reflexion and debate, interests them because it is French-speaking, and because it brings to their pupils, bilingual and open to cultural diversity, the possibility of taking part a little in the teaching of philosophy in final classes in France. But without going so far with my assumptions, I would like especially to say that our project, which is certainly French-speaking, leads us initially to open ourselves to the diversity of our school systems and languages, and to hope sincerely that we will be able to soon find the means of an adequate expression of our debates in English as well in German. Our eTwinning partnership, also, is not exclusive, and we are always ready to accommodate amongst ourselves new and active members. It is perhaps the quickest way those who wish to do so can benefit from our experiment.
After this project, which are your plans for the future?
Currently, it is especially the development of the project, such as we imagined it, who drives us. Indeed, our objectives are far from being achieved. Most urgent would be to arrive at a point where our partners all have adequate data-processing equipment, and our work scheduling can be suitably harmonized. Then, in the medium term, it would be necessary to arrive at a real parity in teaching co-operation, so that it would make it possible for each one of our partners to propose, in turn, the design and the diffusion of an annual program of video conferences and debates. Lastly, since our permanent objective consists in offering our pupils a reflexion on the importance of culture for the school and Europe, I must say that "the after-project" is not on the agenda. Our pupils all change every two or three years. We, too, under the effect of our collaboratives teaching practices, are also changing our views on how teaching should be carried out.
More concretely thus, our action today can be summarized in three points:
- We have initially to prepare the diffusion on the Internet, next 20th March, of our video conference-debate with Bernard Bourgeois, Professor of philosophy and Member of the French Academy, on the topic : To educate in Europe. We should also prepare, in this same dynamic, the delegations of our six partners who, preceded by eTwinning, will go from 27th-30th April to the European campus of Lanzerote, to form a sufficiently homogeneous group in order to establish and spread on the spot the spirit of our project, and to broadcast a video conference allowing us, in our respective lycées, to take part on line in their work over there.
- Then, it is necessary for us to manage to coordinate the timetables of our partners, so that we can, as of September and the return of classes, lay out a weekly common schedule , reserved to our working sessions in network, so that the new pupils can get to know each other and prepare together their participation in the annual video conferences of January, March and May. This practice of communication technologies and these exchanges of ideas, repeated each week, transform our remote co-operation into a true teaching relationship likely to make our pupils really reflect on the questions treated in annual conferences.
- Lastly, we have also to reflect on our relationship to communication technologies, for even though they are for us a powerful means of cultural development, they also require wisdom, so that we can make a reasoned and reasonable use of it. The Philosophy Club of the lycée of Sevres has the privilege to be closely associated with the research undertaken by the Regional Center of Teaching Documentation of Versailles (CRDP).
This latter taught us for free how to handle the techniques of video conferencing and put at the disposal of the public, on line, our digital resources numerical, such as for example:
These are consultable even from a modem
Education et psychanalyse:
- en streaming: http://melies.ac-versailles.fr/projet-europe/diff/fontaine.htm
- en téléchargement: http://melies.ac-versailles.fr/telecharge/fontaine.wmv
Éduquer à l'Europe:
- en streaming:http://melies.ac-versailles.fr/projet-europe/diff/bourgeois.htm
- en téléchargement:http://melies.ac-versailles.fr/telecharge/bourgeois.wmv
Apprendre à vivre, philosophie et religion:
Professeur de philosophie au lycée de Sèvres,
Projet Europe, Éducation, École
E-mail : email@example.com
Présentation du projet lors de la conférence eTwinning à Linz, le 13 janvier 2006 :
VIDEO : http://melies.ac-versailles.fr/telecharge/linz.wmv