Using the Internet – a practical guide

Communication is an important tool for intercultural exchange and the work done in the classrooms. Keep It Simple is the key to success! The success of the communication relies on local technicalities, the provided resources and the aims of the lessons.

It is important that the initial contact between the twinned classes is established through two teachers. Language skills, technical conditions, time constraints and even ordinary events such as school holidays and local bank holidays limit the communication. In the checklist below, you will find a number of issues that must be addressed by the two teachers beforehand.

 

A crash test

In the end of February, contact teachers exchange email-addresses.

Initiate the project with a considerate crash test: Send an e-mail in English to the teacher from the twin class or group – kindly greeting the person and asking the person to confirm that the e-mail has been received.  When the answer to the e-mail is received, a new e-mail should be sent – again in English where the teacher makes a short presentation and expresses hopes of a good partnership and a wish to clarify a number of questions regarding the forthcoming project and how the two classes should communicate.

When contact is established it is possible to move forward and address mutual expectations and relevant questions from the checklist “Checklist concerning the collaboration between teachers, exchange and communication” further below.

 

A presentation of the class

All participating classes must produce material about their neighborhood, their school and sustainability to a website focusing on three themes. The three themes which should be described in photos, drawings or short texts are:

 

1) The class’ “hood”

  • What does your neighborhood look like, how is it to live and play in your local community, area – your “hood”?
  • Explain what you mean by the terms “neighborhood”,   “local area” – your “hood”
  • Attach three photos and/or drawings of your “hood”

 

2) The school

  • Describe your school
  • Explain where you live compared to the location of the school
  • Attach a maximum of two photos of the class taken OUTSIDE the school which communicate a sense of the landscape and the local neighborhood – the “hood”

 

It is important that everyone is able recognize themselves in the photos. If possible the students’ homes can be marked on a map or indicated on Google Maps or a similar website.

 

3) Environment, recycling and sustainability

Are the environment, recycling and sustainability on the agenda in your school?

  • Using photos or drawings show which areas in in your local hood or which schools in the local community, that focus on recycling and sustainability.
  • Using photos/drawing and writing make three suggestions to new initiatives focusing on recycling and sustainable solutions in your hood.

 

Deadline for the presentation posted on the website is  3rd March 2014 (Rio de Janeiro late March).

All material must be attached in an e-mail to info@cicloart.net

 

On the students’ website a number of figures, fact and maps will be featured. This data is provided by the Danish Cultural Institute to ensure uniformity and hopefully comparability. The data provide information about the country and the city where the school is located and maps showing the continent and country and placing the school and the city in which it is located.

 

A shared blog

Each class shares a blog with their twin class or group.

A blog is a digital noticeboard shared by the two classes.  And just like any other noticeboard it can be used for many different purposes. Its’ basic functions include e-mailing, sharing texts, digital photos, scanned drawings, paintings etc. and uploading video- and audio files.

A notice on the blog is referred to as a blog post. Other students and visitors on CICLO’s homepage are able to read the blog posts on the blog, but they can’t enter any posts.

Read more about the blog, usage of the blog and suitable/compatible file formats  in “How to place material in the class blog”.

 

Parental consent

Whether or not it is customary to obtain signed parental consent forms when working with uploaded photos and films on Youtube, it is always a good idea to ask for the parents’ permission. The best way to do this is to have the parents sign a simple yes/no consent form, before anyone starts filming the students.

 

Requirements using the blog

The four participating countries have agreed that the blog MUST be a part of the communication between the twinning classes. Due to local, technical and infrastructural conditions in the different countries, it is the teachers, who communicate. The individual schools do not have to be on-line day and night.

 

The first blog post

Deadline: April 7th 2014
The first blog post must convey a snapshot or an idea of the work in progress.  The students could post a “Breaking News” or a letter about the class made up by photos.

 

Breaking News
The class should upload photos and/or videos and audio files, as the work in class is in progress. The top three photos or clips, which tell the best story are selected and posted as “Breaking News” on the blog along with a short text.

 

Photo letters about the class
Each student takes a photograph of themselves, which tells a story or shows something characteristic about their everyday life. All the photos are assembled in a photo letter or a photo collage and uploaded on the blog.

 

Deadline for the first blog post: April 7th 2014
The conditions and technical circumstances of the schools are very different. Hence, it is agreed upon that teachers have the full responsibility for uploading blog posts. Read about how that is done here: “How to place material in the class blog”.


The second blog post: Breaking News or an illustrated timetable

Deadline: April 24th 2014
The second blog post should express an impression of the work in progress in the classroom. Again the students can work with Breaking News or an illustrated timetable:

 

Breaking News
While the class is working with the project, photos and video/audio clips are recorded and the three most expressive clips are selected and uploaded as “Breaking News” on the blog along with a short text.

 

A school timetable illustrated with icons and audio clips

  • The students draw their weekly schedule/timetable on a piece of paper size A4. The drawing should be horizontal.
  • Instead of displaying specific subjects and breaks during the day, the students work with icons. The finished timetable is scanned and uploaded as a PDF-file-
  • As an extra feature the students can record audio clips from lessons and breaks, which are linked to the icons i.e. as a PowerPoint-slide.
  • The timetable is posted on the blog.

 

Deadline for the second blog post: April 24th 2014

 

The third blog post: Breaking News or a tourist guide

Deadline: May 13th 2014
The third blog post should express the completion of the project. The students can express the final stages of the project by working with Breaking News and/or a tourist guide:

 

Breaking News
While the class is working with the project, photos and video/audio clips are recorded and the three most expressive clips are selected and uploaded as “Breaking News” on the blog along with a short text.

 

A tourist guide

  • Before the work begins the students should decide on important characteristics of their hood.
  • They must make a sketch of the tourist guide and a list of motives that they want to photograph.
  • When the photos have been taken the folder can be put together using a suitable computer program.

 

Deadline for the third blog post: May 13th 2014

 

Checklist concerning the collaboration between teachers, exchange and communication

Read this useful checklist mentioned below – it can be downloaded and completed in your own program for text processing.

 

Mail correspondence between contact teachers

  • How often can you expect to be contacted?
  • Make agreements about the content of the correspondence
  • Are the teachers involved in the project obliged to write a reply confirming that they have received an e-mail?
  • Make agreements concerning deadlines for e-mail replies
  • Take school holidays and bank holidays into consideration – they might limit the communication
  • A hotline – agreements concerning alternative opportunities of communication – should a reply not arrive close to an agreed deadline.

 

Agreements concerning mutual expectations to the project and the usage of the blog

  • Exactly how many times does each of the twining classes expect to post on the blog? Three or more?
  • Which type of blog posts do the teachers expect to work with?
  • Is it acceptable that one class posts more blog posts than the three mandatory posts than the other class?
  • A schedule for blog posts or an agreement of an e-mail notifying news posts on the blog?
  • How are the results of the education with the artists communicated and exchanged between the twinning classes?

 

Other channels of communication

The conditions and technical circumstances of the schools are very different. Hence, it is agreed upon that other channels of communication can be used during the project. However, the two teachers should agree on the usage of alternative channels of communication beforehand.

  • Text messaging?
  • Chat?
  • Social media such as Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Other channels of communication

 

Directions for accepted communication/ language and posts on the blog

  • Strictly non-verbal communication?
  • Specific words in English or another native language is translated using Google Translate or a translation App on a smartphone
  • A mixture of verbal and non-verbal communication

 

Additional inspiration and background material

Kirsten Anttila has worked with international cooperation via the Internet a number of years. Here are links to her materials including inspiration, background material and links to relevant websites:

International Cooperation via the Internet. Challenges and Opportunities – Power Point  
International Cooperation via the Internet. Challenges and Opportunities – Materials