Teachers’ meeting in Tartu, Estonia

Short-term staff training event in Tartu, Estonia

From February 29 until March 2, 2020 a short-term staff training event was carried out in Tartu as part of the Erasmus+ project APPic Learning. Three participants from each project country took part in an eTwinning workshop, The workshop was carried out by Maja Videnovik, who is an eTwinning ambassador. In her presentation, she first emphasized three key aspects concerning eTwinning: Why, How and What is eTwinning. The participants were very interested in the presentation, they asked questions about the benefits, the way that projects can be carried out and different ways of professional development.

After that interactive presentation the eTwinning platform was dealt with. Participants registered on the eTwinning platform, they edited their profiles, started communication via eTwinning among each other and tried to find partners on the platform for other projects they could create. After that the new eTwinners started planning a project among them, titled: Our dream town. In this project students will have to create their dream town together.

Elements of the eTwinning platform were discussed and teachers were interested in different forms of professional development, how they can be carried out and what are the benefits from it. How the project can be visible by other people and how to achieve a bigger impact on teachers was part of the discussions, too.

The coordinators from different participating countries started filling the project’s Twinspace and putting information from previous mobilities there. They also discussed future activities on this platform, like organizing an eTwinning conference with all project participants before meeting in Tartu in May.

Other organizational issues were discussed concerning the meeting to come in Tartu and activities with the students in each participating school. The process of creating a mobile app as a project final product was also discussed.

Maja Videnovik

Our trip to Skopje, North-Macedonia

The first Learning/ Teaching/ Training activity as part of Erasmus+ project APPic Learning took place in Skopje, from November 18, 2019 to November 22, 2019. Participants from Germany, Estonia and Poland, came to Skopje on November 17, 2019. Six students and two teachers from each country were looking forward to sharing experiences and to learning from each other during this mobility.

On the first day, the foreign guests were welcomed at school by school the principal, teachers and students. They visited a bazaar that was organized in the school, as part of the celebration of the Day of the School’s Patron. Students walked around the school and got familiar with the way that teaching is organized in school and students’ everyday activities. After that short presentations from Macedonian students concerning the four participating countries were carried out. The students had made presentations about each of the participating countries and their most important characteristic facts. It was a day full of ice-breaking activities in order to help students to get to know each other and improve their communication skills. In the afternoon a group of students presented different learning apps which can be used in the school subjects music and art. They presented the benefits of these applications and after that students could try them on their own.

On the second day, the students explored the city of Skopje with the help of an interactive sightseeing tour (Actionbound). They enjoyed each moment of running around the town, learning new things about Skopje and trying to finish the tour in no time. After that we all went to Gazi Baba municipality, where we were welcomed by the mayor. He told the students about the activities of the municipality, the way that education is carried out and the activities the municipality is implementing in order to improve the quality of education. The day finished with a visit to the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, where students learned about the history of the Macedonian people over the years.

The third day was dedicated to learning apps that can be used in sports. Macedonian students presented some apps, and after that all the students enjoyed playing them together. In the afternoon they had sport activities and a sport tournament. It was a great day when students communicated a lot and had fun together. They talked a lot about the apps they had got to know in the past few days, and how they could be used in everyday learning. The students were divided into international groups and created a list with pros and cons of the application in question and how it could be improved to suit their needs.

On the fourth day, the whole group visited the Faculty of Information Science and Computer Engineering, where they were hosted by professor Trajkovik. He gave them a short introduction into the importance of using mobile applications in education. Then important and characteristic aspects of a good learning app were pointed out. At the end of the visit, the students created a plan for their own app, working in groups and each group sketched how their app should look like focusing on one of the subjects learnt at school. In the afternoon students visited Canyon Matka and had sport activities.

The last day of the mobility was organized in the school, where students were introduced to the eTwinning platform. They created accounts and surfed the project Twinspace. They started using this platform adding the material and photos from the work done in the previous days. After that the students were working in groups, describing their time during the mobility and presented it in front of the others. Thus the students evaluated the mobility and reflected the work that had been done. The final conclusion was that the mobility was very interesting, educational, the students (and teachers) had learned a lot about new apps and all had had a great time together.

Maja Videnovik

What we made: The Guidebook

We met several times in all four countries of our project and tried out tools and activities like Kahoot or playing tennis. That was fun – but in all this time, we also worked on a product to show off the experiences we made. That’s the guidebook.

At our last meeting in germany, we collected texts and pictures in a tool named Google Presentations and assembled a book to print. You can have a look a the PDF-Version, when you click on the button beneath.

Our trip to Germany

Day 1 (May 12, 2019) was the arrival of three groups (Estonia, Macedonia and Poland) to Germany. It was the day full of surprises for most of the participants, especially Polish ones but finally everything ended happily. All the participants meet their host families at the train station and approached their temporary houses. On their first evening they mostly spent time with the families. Some of them went sightseeing and shopping while others were at home.

Day 2 (May 13, 2019), the second day of the project started at school in Loxsted. All the participants were greeted by the headmaster of a school and were presented the overview of the week by the German coordinator. After this short meeting, teachers were allowed to look around the school, at the same time students headed to their first workshop where they were working on the guidebook which was supported to be finished in the following days. Students were divided into groups. Each of the group worked on a given task for example, the cover of the book, content, pictures ect. The hard work of students was very hard and the time for the rest has finally come, so the BBQ was organized. Full of energy members of the project came back to their host families and enjoyed their free time.

Day 3 (May 14, 2019), the third day of the trip was very pleasant for students and teachers as well. We started our day in front of the school in Loxsted and went by bus on the beach in Cuxahven. When we got off the bus we saw a beautiful beach and the sea which was going over! The view was amazing! Students have a lot of time to enjoy themselves, play some games like football or volleyball and then eat lunch on the beach. After the beach fun our guided trip through the sea started. The guide told us a lot of interesting facts about flora and fauna in that area. We also had an opportunity to try some weeds. Some of the students could even try an oyster found by themselves! After the long walk through the dry sea all participant were given commemorative photos from that adventure.

Day 4 (May 15, 2019), the fourth day was the day of work for our students. They met at 8.00 at duene 4 and continued their work on the guidebook. After 4 hours of fruitful work time for lunch, delicious soup made by one of the teachers and parents, came. Students were very engaged in working together in international teams. Beside of work it was also the time for socializing. They could spend more time together, share their experiences and points of view. It was also the time for giving an interview for local newspaper and taking a lot of pictures together. At around 2 pm. students went on to do activities with the host families.

Day 5 (May 16, 2019): we started our day at Loxsted train station. The goal for this day was to visit Bremen, having fun at the same time. The tour started in a park with an Actionbound. Students were divided into international teams and their goal was to complete all the given task prepared earlier by the German teacher. The task was much more difficult because they could useu only one smartphone in each of the group. It was even harder, because some of the task required help other people. Luckily each of the group managed to complete the majority of tasks in a short period of time and we could go for the lunch. Students spent this break with their host families. This activity evoked a lot of laugh and happiness in students and they definitely liked it. After the lunch and time for buying souvenirs we gathered at the train station and headed homes

Day 6 (May 17, 2019), the sixth day was the last day spent together. It started in a very active way. In the morning, students took part in different sport activities on the fresh air. They were divided into three teams and each of the team took part in different activity, like playing football, hockey and dancing. Surprisingly dancing connected all the people! We had a lot of fun dancing to widely known songs like Macarena or Wake me up before you Go-Go. Two German students did their best to teach us short choreography and we did it! It was an amazing experience to see around 40 people dancing together on a pitch! After this warm-up we were ready to meet the Mayor of Loxsted and took part in an official lunch. After the Mayor’s official speech, we were served delicious soup and the official sign-off ceremony started. Students were handed their certificates, T-shirts with the Erasmus+ logo and prizes for the Actionbound. It was not the end of surprises, because in the evening students were invited for the party organized by parents. That day could definitely be described as action – packed and exciting.

In front of the townhall of Loxstedt

Our trip to Poland

Erasmus + 3rd meeting in Poland, Warsaw 15-21/10Erasmus + 3rd meeting in Poland, Warsaw 15-21/10

The students arrived in Warsaw on October 14-15. The host families met them at the airport and took them home. On their first evening they mostly spent time with the families. Some of them went sightseeing and shopping while others were at home.
October 16
Students met the teachers at school. The day started with an overview of the week by the Polish coordinator. It was followed by a short lecture on the use of smartphones.After the lecture the students and teachers enjoyed a coffee break.The students were instructed for their following assignment.
Before the actual workshop the students were given a chance to be active and to socialise in a local park.After a nice walk in the sun, the group was guided to the House of Culture. The students’ aim was to create a sign that should help them regulate the use of smartphones at home. They had time to come up with an original design, slogan or visual concept to put on a small placard.The idea was to implement the attitudes of using smartphones in balance with physical activity as is the aim of the project. Having finished the crafts workshop the group had a refreshing walk back to school for lunch. The final official activity for this day was physical activities with the school’s P.E. teacher. In the evening many families co-operated and took the children out to swim, go-kart etc.
October 17

We started our day in front of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw. The group was divided in half. Both groups had a tour guide and were shown around the centre. The students were driven to various locations by a vintage bus from the seventies. The guide gave the students some interesting facts about the different parts of Warsaw.  The tour ended on the other bank of the river at the Neon Museum. There the students were divided into groups of five. The groups were international. The students learned about the history of Neon signs in Warsaw. After that the students went on to do activities with the host families.
October 18

The students started their day with a walk around Old Town Warsaw and the journey took us to an exquisite culinary workshop. The students were divided into international groups by random draw. They started the cooking competition in groups of 10. This time it was clearly visible that all of the students interacted in English and felt rather comfortable doing it. Since thèy were preparing Polish dishes which were foreign to them, thèy had to make themselves very clear. We ended up with four delicious dishes. The students were tired but happy. They ate all the food that they had prepared. After the workshop they walked to  the Planetarium and saw a film about black holes. It was a fascinating experience because the children could feel as if they were in space. This day was the longest and the most tiresome for the students. The evening was spent with their hosts.
October 19
Schoolday #2.We started our day with meeting the headmistress and the head of education in the municipality. The Polish students had prepared a few songs with their choir. The whole group also sang the Erasmus+ song Together. Then the Polish teacher gave a lecture and started a discussion on the topic of smartphones in school. The idea was not to forbid the use of smartphones but to regulate it effectively. Having sung and being entertained we continued with a coffee break and the students went on a school tour which was guided by some of the Polish students. The focus of the day was on the workshop. The students were divided into teams by nationalities. They were given so called phone homes. Small houses made of wood. The aim was to decorate the houses so they could bring them home and start using them in classrooms as a way to regulate smartphone use by leaving the phones in a designated area before the lesson.

The school served the students a satisfying lunch and the day ended with some physical activities at the tennis court. The whole day was also being professionally filmed so that the project would have evidence of the actual work. Each country was also given a chance to say something about the project. This way it is possible to promote the proječt and its aims. The students had evening activities with their host families.
October 20
The students’ first activity was the trampoline centre. They had a chance to be active together with their group before going home. After that was the official sign-off ceremony. During lunch the students were handed their certificates and thus the exchange project week ended. Now it was time to pack up and begin the journey back home. The students’ hosts brought them to the airport/ train station and said their emotional yet happy goodbyes.
Conclusion
Overall the week was packed with physical activities and the students found ways to use their smartphones effectively during these activities. The participants could communicate in real life and also via Messenger etc. The third meeting of the project was successful. The students were already familiar and felt more comfortable with each other. This made it easier for them to actually work together in random groups and share their experiences.

Trip to Tartu, Estonia

Hea Päev Tartu

written by Maria Nighbert

Our second meeting of our “Find your Balance” Erasmus+ Program took us to Tartu, Estonia. All four nations met on Wednesday 11 April 2018 in Tartu, where we were all welcomed by the lovely Estonian teachers and the students’ host families. Since the traveling day is always exhausting, everyone went to sleep early to be ready for the next days. On Thursday we all met in school and the day started with a wonderful welcome ceremony where the Estonian students showed us traditional dances and sang traditional songs. It was an amazing show they had prepared for us. After the ceremony we were divided into our national groups and one Estonian student showed us the whole school, which was really interesting, because everyone got to see the similarities and differences compared to their hometown school. The students did a wonderful job leading us through their school. In the afternoon the students had the chance to carve butter knives or make soap, while the Estonian hosts prepared a lovely buffet for us, which had a variety of traditional Estonian food on it. The students who prepared the buffet did an outstanding job and gave their guests a nice impression of what a traditional Estonian meal looks like.

Read more

Getting to know each other in Skopje

Getting to know each other in Skopje

Written by Maria Nighbert

Our first “Find-your-balance”- Meeting took place in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. The students and teachers from Germany arrived first at the airport in Skopje, where they were picked up by the teachers Frosina and Maja and the lovely host-families, who were waiting with signs for their guests. It was the middle of the night (Saturday to Sunday) when the German students and teachers arrived, so everyone was happy when they got to go to bed and sleep in the next morning. All German students had the advantage of having a nice relaxing Sunday in Skopje. The host-families went with their student on trips and introduced them to traditional Macedonian food. The students and teachers from Estonia and Poland arrived a little after midnight on Monday. Their host-families waited for them at the airport as well and gave them a warm welcome. After traveling for so long the students and teachers from Poland and Estonia were happy to fall into their beds.

Read more

1 2