Its moderator and eTwinning ambassador Ms. María José García Ruano, has answered some questions for eTwinning!
Acercando Aulas was created in February 2016, counts today more than 3.000 members, and is one of our most successful eTwinning groups. eTwinning groups are an excellent way for teachers to discuss ideas, share experiences and learn from their peers. Joining or forming a group can lead to a continuous broadening of a teacher’s professional skills.
If you are interested in joining or form groups, you need to register first on eTwinning Live. You can also learn more about eTwinning Featured Groups here. Below is our conversation with Ms. María José García Ruano which has been edited for length and clarity reasons.
1. What is ‘Acercando Aulas’ about and how did this idea come about?
‘Acercando Aulas’ is a group from Spain for Spanish speakers who share activities in an eTwinning collaborative blog-shaped project. It was formed after the request of many participants at the Learning Event “Creando equipo a través de la Narración en etwinning?” to continue sharing experiences.
As an eTwinning ambassador, I came across many times the same question from my colleagues: how to work in classrooms with eTwinning? The best answer I believe is to share the activities that we do with our partners. Share the TwinSpaces through a blog where those interested can see our classrooms, and how we work with eTwinning. In this way, we make eTwinning more visible to the rest of the world.
2. Can you explain how you integrated eTwinning into your curriculum and how new tools and projects can help students develop new competences and expand the physical boundaries of the classroom?
I always say that if you want to motivate your pupils, involve them with an eTwinning project because it is magic.
For myself eTwinning is a methodology. An eTwinning project covers all subjects, presents all the competences that make pupils learn through a project, and expands more this learning process when working with partners.
3. With over 3 thousand members, making it one of the biggest groups in eTwinning, how do you explain the success of your group?
I believe that the main success of the group is due to the popularity of our collaborative project and the extensive social networking of our teachers through Facebook and Twitter. Our blog is publicly visible and has 40.000 visits in a year. I would like to highlight again that the teachers who join our group want to see how we realise the projects, and how we work with the pupils and the partners.
4. What is your motivation as a teacher? How do you see the relationship of teachers and students in the classroom in the ICT age?
My motivation as a teacher is that I am enjoying seeing my pupils learning to experiment with different digital tools, tablets and computers, and becoming the protagonists of their own learning process. Teachers should be more of a guide in this process, and the classroom should become more a space of small spaces.
5. Finally, what tips would you give to a teacher interested in establishing a new group?
Probably the most important thing in order to attract more members, is to focus on a concrete topic that could interest all the eTwinners, but of course there are also groups with fewer members that are as interesting or even more so than Acercando Aulas. I believe that our group is so popular because it makes eTwinning activities and projects publicly visible thanks to the generous contributions of our members to whom I am always very grateful.