“Digital tourist” eTwinning project
| Shalala Mammadli - 16 Aug 2023

Connecting nearly 1 million teachers and more than two hundred thousand schools across Europe in a single virtual space, eTwinning enables educators to become part of the most exciting learning community in Europe by communicating, collaborating, creating, and implementing educational projects together.
 As we know, Azerbaijan started participating in the international “eTwinning Plus” project in 2013. This program is an extension of the “eTwinning” project, which is part of the Lifelong Learning Program of the European Union.
 The implementation of the projects incorporates many different activities such as drama, music, creative writing, children’s games, brainteasers, and coding puzzles. As a result of it, the following goals are achieved: inculcating 21st-century skills in students, making learning a habit, expanding creative thinking skills, supporting personality formation, actively acquiring knowledge, skills, and habits, developing communication, cooperation, self-expression, and ICT skills, growth of self-confidence in students, learning to use many web 2 and web 3 tools.
 Nowadays, we live in a digital world and it is very easy to access different types of information through search engines. Along with the positive features like being time-saving and accessible, such accessibility also brings with it challenges like cyber security and unwanted content.
 One of the main goals of our current project was to educate our students in this area - internet security. For this, educational materials were watched, online games were played to check what they knew, certificates were won, and a virtual meeting was organized with the founder and head of the Microsoft Azerbaijan and Innovative Learning Network (ILN) Ms. Mehriban Ziya as an expert.
 The name of our project “Digital Tourist” indicated that two main goals were set: to teach students to operate more safely and comfortably in the digital environment and to get information about different cities and countries by virtually crossing borders and bringing long distances closer.
 The project also served to develop students’ abilities to research information, present it using various web2 tools (Canva, Wordwall, Storyjumper, Quizizz), acquire social-communicative skills, show tolerance for cultural diversity, and think creatively.
 During the five months of the project, teachers and students from seven countries - Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Romania, and Albania - received information about Metaverse (Metaworlds), the Spatial platform, and its working principles.     The students of each country researched the countries, and cities where they live and then created an electronic book using the Storyjumper tool. As a joint product, they took Digichick, the symbol of the project, to their country and created an e-book about its adventures.
 At the end of the project, the best examples of work were presented in the spatial exhibition hall. In the room arranged for the project on the spatial platform, the students communicated with each other using their avatars, everyone placed the flag and other symbols of their country and left their heartfelt words there.
  In addition to being fun and engaging for students, eTwinning also requires collaborative and focused work. For example, in one of our common tasks, teachers from each country had to take one letter of the project name based on the list, prepare it using WordArt, then students had to think of a word that begins with that letter and characterizes the project, and at the end, they had to make a video pronouncing that word in class. Finally, the videos sent by participants from all countries were combined into one common video and a magnificent image emerged.
 This acrostic work, which seems simple at first glance, actually required strong cooperation and synchronized work from each of the project members located in different time zones and locations. Because in such teamwork, everyone does a part of the work, and a break in one link of the chain hurts the whole result.
  If we add to this the fact that the conditions and technical equipment in the classrooms are different, the difficulties that arise often require creative solutions. For example, since we don’t have a smartboard in our classroom, we tried to create the impression of an electronic board by pasting a printed picture of the letter on our board.
 What makes winning projects so interesting for teachers and students is the unique spirit of eTwinning, which combines creative thinking and the spirit of cooperation.

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