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Digital projects

Page history last edited by Arnold 14 years, 2 months ago

Digital projects 



One of the possibilities of taking part in an international project is a digital project with one or more schools abroad. This module presents you with a number of possibilities.

With digital internationalisation English will mainly be used as language of communication. Of course you can also communicate in German, French, Spanish or another language.

The following factors are important when choosing an international digital project:

-          Subject

-          Target group

-          Subject or field of interest

-          Level of your students

-          Time differences between participating countries

-          Native language


Points to consider:

  • In order to complete any digital project, appropriate technology and resources must be in place for successful project completion.
  • A contract and timeline must be established between participants in the digital project.
  • A shared rubric must be established for the evaluation of the digital project. 


This module offers you a number of possibilities of international digital projects. Very often internationalisation will start by putting together a virtual cooperation; you will work together using modern communication tools. This can be done in different ways:

-          Email Project

-          Chat

-          Video Conferencing

-          Learning Circles

-          Etwinning




Email Projects


Students from different countries email each other. Students learn to talk together about different subjects. The aim of course to improve their language skills, as well it improves the students’ computer skills. 


The teachers from participating countries match each others students. Every week emails will be sent about different subjects or about a certain theme. The teacher gives feedback to the pupils.


An email project consists of four stages:


  • Stage 1, brainstorming: Teachers make arrangements about subject or theme what the emails will be about.
  • Stage 2, setting up project plan: Students will be matched. Arrangements will be made on how often an email has to be sent, what the emails will be about, when the mails will be sent, and the language that will be used.
  • Stage 3, implementation and adjustments: The teacher is the central figure within the project. The teacher makes arrangements with the students and colleagues if something must be changed or if there are new ideas.
  • Stage 4, evaluating the project: the project will be evaluated by teachers and students of the partner school. 



Chatting to each other using the computer is quick and easy. This popular way of communicating used by teenagers is not supported by everyone. Common misconceptions about chatting are: pupils don’t learn anything from chatting; chatting is superficial; chatting happens so quickly you hardly have time to think; you cannot control chatting.


When students log on to the chat program they can immediately see which of their friends is online. They can attempt to chat with one or more of their friends. Chatting is very quick, as you type in your message and press send, your partner’s reaction will be quick.


If you want to learn a foreign language it is important to:

  • read and listen 
  • understand the meaning
  • pay attention to forms of grammar
  • communicate
  • if you don’t know something you try to solve it by using what you know


By chatting regularly in a foreign language you will have to deal with a number of points mentioned above. You have to read what the other person has written. You must understand the meaning. The next step is that you will write a message for someone else and if you don’t know how to say something you have to try and explain it in a different way so that it becomes clear what you mean.


Besides increasing the language skills, chatting can also have other aims. Chatting is very suitable for letting the students discover and look beyond their direct surroundings. Within the scope of internationalisation a chat project can be done on a certain subject or theme. Chatting can offer a positive contribution to the computer skills of the participant. The success experienced from a good chat project can be very motivating.    


When starting a chat project it is very important to set the most important learning aims.


Points to consider when starting a chat project are:

-          Small scale: In order for a project to succeed it has to meet with a number of preconditions:

  • The availability of enough computers at school is very important.
  • If you have no experience with working on a chat project it is suggested to start with small groups to prevent disappointment. Furthermore, in these small groups it is easier to chat at home.  

-          Chatting time: The time of when to chat is very important if you want a project to succeed.

  • The chat partner has to be online at the same time.
  • Chat sessions must take place after lessons.
  • Time differences between different countries has to be considered.
  • It is wise to reserve a computer area one or two afternoons a week to spend on these chat sessions
  • Participants must arrange a common chat time in advance.


Video Conferencing

Through a live connection with image and sound, students can communicate with their peers from abroad. To understand each other it is of course necessary to speak the same language. When communicating, the language proficiency of each partner must be taken into consideration for appropriate video conferencing etiquette. Video conferencing can be prepared and supported by email contact. The starting point for video conferencing is often a task:

First, you must prepare and exchange emails. Next, make a report about surroundings where language is combined with subject-content. Therefore videoconferencing is also useful for exceeding subject content education. There is student and teacher resources available that is suitable for language video conferencing as well as subject conferencing, which all language skills will be dealt with. The material can be used in addition to the method.

Please refer to the technology module for technical steps for a video conference.



Learning Circles



Good communication is important before starting a Learning Circle. The agreed timeline has to be feasible for every participant and must take into account holidays, feast-days, etc. If a participant, for whatever reason, finds out that he has to stop doing the project because of a lack of time this will not benefit the results of the project. 


A Learning Circle is a temporary learning community where students and teachers work and learn together during a certain period. Communication takes place by means of Internet, email and chat. Every school has a group that participates, and this can be a whole class or small groups of pupils. The Learning Circle will be about a certain subject or theme. This subject or theme is determined by the teachers in advance. Every class or group poses one question about the theme to one of the Circle-participants. The teacher has to help the students when forming the question. Several strategies can be used but eventually you will jointly formulate one question per group/class.


After asking the questions the students will get to work, and the students will be answer the questions to the best of their ability. After putting down the answer this will be send to the person who asked the question.


All questions will be formed as a whole. Depending on subject, group size, study aims, etc, many different ways of working can be used to allow the students process the answers.

Some suggested forms of presenting a Learning Circle include:

  • Power Point
  • Web site
  • Wiki
  • Video conference


The period of time for a Learning Circle is 6-8 weeks. The following stages can be mentioned:

  • Getting acquainted
  • Forming a question and posing it
  • Answering the questions
  • Hand-in answers
  • Processing answers
  • Exchange results
  • Evaluate



Etwinning is an accessible way to get students into contact with their peers in other countries. Many students enjoy working with ICT. By making use of ICT, which overcomes distances, you have the right recipe for an international project.


Etwinning offers you three important elements:

-          a school partner

-          inspiration for a project

-          online workspace to carry out a project





Through the website www.etwinning.net students can email, chat and work on joint projects.


You can for example give students the assignment to let them make a short film (of a couple of minutes) in small groups or duos. The films will be placed on TwinSpace, your own online projectspace.


Etwinning is one of the five possibilities of digital international projects.


If you want a project to succeed preparation is very important. To prevent disappointment it is wise to answer the following questions in the early stage of your preparation:

  1. How can I find a suitable exchange partner and how can I approach him/her?
  2. What criteria of students are best suited to communicate with my own students?
  3. Which websites are reliable if I want my students to chat?
  4. Where can I find more information about the language, current events, social life and culture of the partner country?
  5. What kinds of cultural differences do my students have to be prepared for in case of a virtual exchange with a certain partner country?


The answers to these questions of course depend on your own situation and learning aims. The Internet is a simple and important medium to answer a large number of your questions. There are a number of authorities and organisations that would like to help you to get into contact with the right partner school. One possibility of finding a partner school is by going to the following address: http://www.epals.com/index.tpl.


Make inquiries at fellow schools or visit an education exhibition, which can help to answer your questions






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