by Marina Screpanti
I’m a Primary School teacher and I’m involved in many European projects, both Comenius and eTwinning. I teach English but I am fortunate to also teach PE, history, geography and technology so my teaching definitely has a wide range of topics. Lately my eTwinning partners (“V.O.I.C.E.” and “SUPERCITIZEN’S ALMANAC” projects’ partners) and I created a VIRTUAL CLASS with all of our students. The pupils worked together basically through playing, so they didn’t even realize that they are studying and acquiring competences and skills and connecting information. This new way of approach to studying is real and emotional and this helped them to improve their learning.
A new way where “fun” is the most important word and where effective and real “communication” is the winning key. I have experienced a lot of games and examples of communication via the virtual class. This has led to improving my pupils’ language competences and their self-confidence in the use of a foreign idiom. The virtual class allows you to work using video-conferencing or communicating through platforms like eTwinning on various activities such as working on the same ddocuments like google docs.
work on the same documents like google docs. If you would like to get an idea of how my students have worked on their virtual class, have a look at : http://new-twinspace.etwinning.net/c/portal/layout? p_l_id=20179680 . In this game both French and Italian students wrote their descriptions and then they exchanged them publishing them on the Twinspace (a special place online platform where partners can share materials and communicate).
During the video-conference, one French student sat in front of the webcam while the Italian students, were looking at the French descriptions, asked questions to the mysterious boy/girl about his/her family, likes/dislikes, hobbies trying to guess his/her name. In the descriptions, in fact, each student had to talk and write about the information above. After having guessed, it was the turn of an Italian pupil to be mysterious…. This game led students to use a common foreign language (which in our case was English) in a real communicative context, enhancing their speaking and listening competences, also improving their vocabulary but first of all having fun !
Another way our virtual class experienced is shown on http://new-twinspace.etwinning.net/c/portal/ layout?p_l_id=21272324 where Polish and Italian students tested their knowledge about Europe by creating a quiz for their European classmates. The questions and anwers have been shared through the eTwinning platform constantly opened in the classrooms. Have a look at it! The virtual class we created in V.O.I.C.E. also invented a way to help each other, in fact each country had to propose to the partner countries a way to solve one of their school problems asking for suggestions (click on……). To understand the positive impact of working in virtual classes, the best thing is to have a try! I recommend every teacher tries this new experience. It opens students’ minds and horizons !