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Partners and networks

Page history last edited by Marc Vreeswijk 11 years, 5 months ago

Introducing filmclip

 

Click here for the introducing filmclip:

www.culturalfusion.eu/video/networksandpartners.htm

 

Partners and networks

 

 


Introduction

  

The workgroup internationalisation of our comprehensive school has formed an important spearhead within the internationalisation policy. The school is striving for a start on making a network of partner schools where the most important starting point is that these schools will intensively work together on joint international educational projects and physical exchanges.

 

The most important advantage, of starting and organising such a network, our school mainly thinks about continuing good existing international contacts and extending contacts by getting to work with new schools/ partners from all over the world. According to us, this way there will be more continuity and stability concerning the organisation of international activities between the participating schools. An extremely worthwhile and necessary condition to start internationalisation (in a good way) at your schools, is to implement it and if wanted extend it.

 

 

An important part of internationalisation is creating and keeping an international network.

 

For this, skills are required and you need to have the right preconditions at your disposal.

 

In the first week of June 2008 an international conference was held at Sg. St.-Canisius in Almelo, the Netherlands. The most important aim of this conference was to answer the following main question: “How can you put together a long-lasting international network of cooperating schools?”

 

An important side-aim of this meeting is to come to good arrangements that are about international education projects and exchanges between partner schools.

 

To answer this main question a number of ‘smaller’ questions have been formed:

      1.    How do you organize an international meeting?

2.       How will projects be executed within this network?

 

3.       How can you make sure that this network will exist in the future?

4.       What other networks can be used with internationalisation in education? 

 

In this module this conference is used as an example where a partner project plan forms the basis.

 

How do you organise an international meeting?

 

Before answering this question it is important to ask yourself what you want to achieve, and what are your goals for organizing this kind of meeting? Here you can think of the following questions:

  • How big is the need of working together with partner schools in the future?
  • Which interests do pupils/ teacher/ schools share when taking part in projects?
  • Can we continue building on existing activities and projects?
  • Can we facilitate these projects with good logistics and organizational preconditions?
  • Is there expertise in the partner schools to allow cross-curricular activities to occur?
  • What arrangements and aims will we put in the “partner project plan”?
  • Which arrangements have to be made in the field of communication?
  • Which threats/pitfalls can we define?
  • Are the finances and commitment of the school available to organize an international meeting?

 

It is very important to answer these questions with your workgroup before you start. These are essential to a successful start up and maintenance of an international network. These can eventually be put down as workgroup goals.

 

These goals will be described in the program, so that each participant can prepare himself to answer the questions.

 

Casus

The following is the meeting that was held in June 2008. This meeting took place at Sg. St.-Canisius.

The following partner schools were invited to this meeting:

  • Nelson Rural School, Miramichi Canada (Rick Hayward)
  • Lyceo Aristofane, Rome, Italië (Rita Illiano)
  • Lahntalschule Biedenkopf Duitsland (Karl Heinz Bredemann)
  • Gymnasium an der Stenner, Iserlohn, Duitsland (Mareen Bottzeck)
  • Realschule Uelsen, Duitsland (Peter Sosinsky)
  • IES Barcelona, Spanje (Cesar Carrasco)
  • La Cala de Mijas,Malaga, Spanje (Ana Cortés Real)
  • Las Marinas, Roguetas de Mar, Spanje (Pedro Escobar Fernandèz)
  • Celebi Mehmet Lisesi, Bursa, Turkije (Nese Akdogan)
  • Mankkaa Koulo, Espoo, Finland (Leena Hardy)

 

 

Preparation: division of tasks within the workgroup

 

Beforehand a division of tasks will be made within the workgroup. This division of tasks is explained in the scenario.

Example scenario:

Invitations: Jos will write invitation, Marjan will translate it and the contact person will send them: deadline first week of April

Make program: VRM and BOJ

Plan rooms: VRM

Discuss accommodation: BOJ

Finances: BOJ

Consultation schoolboard: VRM and BOJ

Format arrangements/contract : BOJ

Possibilities for (exchange) projects

Internal and external communication: VRM and BOJ

Time schedule + deadlines: VRM and BOJ

Table of holiday periods: BOJ and VRM

Division of tasks/ being co-ordinator: VRM and BOJ

Which communication platforms: VRM

 

Preparation: The invitation

 

The invitations will be send by email. The invitations will contain the following points:

  • Date, place, time schedule of the meetings and time when the guests will be welcomed
  • Accommodations, arrangement of services
  • Short descriptions of the partners who have received an invitation
  • Names and contact information of the (main)organizers
  • Introduction, aims and expectations of the meeting
  • Program survey
  • Finances
  • Description of the expectations of the participants, for example by giving a short introduction of the first meeting and by thinking in advance about possible projects
  • Form to sign up
  • This all should be in English, ask colleague

 

 

The invitation that we have used you will find here.

 

Preparation: support and information within the school

 

Make sure that you will give your colleagues enough information so that they are up-to-date. Clearly explain what the added value is and why something like this is organised by the school. Invite colleagues to be present once in a while and give them the feeling that everyone is welcome to participate.

 

It is a conference of the school and not of the workgroup internationalisation.

 

Colleagues should have the possibility to give input to this conference; the conference should be discussed in the different departments and teams. This way the conference has wide support and does not have an ‘elite’ status. Indicate what this input can exist of, for example by indicating whether one is enthusiastic about working together internationally or whether one feels the need to start email projects or apply for other projects.

 

Preparation: domestic business

 

Of course it is necessary to make clear agreements in advance about domestic business. Clearly communicate with the school board about the route you need to follow. Then you will have to make a clear schedule with the custodian or domestic service which will take care of the catering and the rooms you will need in the school building. Besides that it is important to make sure that your guests will have good accommodations. Keep in mind privacy and recreational possibilities for your partners. Also think about the means of transport to and from the place of accommodation during the conference.

 

To give the conference an official quality the opening meeting was opened by our location director.

 

The first day was about ‘getting acquainted’, where the school was introduced and the possibilities of the school were discussed. A cooperation platform (ex. Wiki) has been created and agreements have been made on the format for the "Agreement of Partnership"(Form on Wiki) where projects can be described.

 

Subsequently during the afternoon sessions appointments were made about project descriptions. The second day was about ‘project market’. The partners were put into small groups and started making arrangements. At the end of the day these arrangements were presented to everyone involved.

 

A Wiki had been made where you can find all the participants and the list of agreements that were made.

 

How will projects be executed within this network?

 

As you can see in the Wiki a lot of arrangements have been made for new projects. During the conference we discussed the possibilities within the schools and which projects will be organized. Now the different partners have to work on these projects.

For working on these agreements, project protocols were used. It is here where it mentions who has the final responsibilty for these projects, who the participating schools are and things like a time schedule and the content can be found. Eventually these protocols, or “agreement of partnership”, were signed by the representatives of the schools.

During the project year one person is responsible for all the projects. This person will check the three stages of which each project consists: the preparational stage, the implementation, and the evaluation. Obviously each stage is tied to a specific time schedule.  

Evaluation of the projects will take place during the annual partner meeting.

 

How can you ensure that the network will exist in the future?

 

After investing a lot of time and energy in putting together a network, we must try and make sure that this network survives for years to come. The interest of the participating schools is large. There are expectations the teachers of the schools to work on the arrangements that were made.

  • make sure that all partners are happy with the number of projects, and are actively taking part in the projects
  • a coordinator who keeps an eye on the timelines and if necessary addresses people who are not working properly
  • have regular contact (by skype or email) with the partner schools about the projects
  • put down deadlines for delivering project material on the joint wiki

 

At the end of every school year a three-day evaluation will take place where one or two representatives from each school will be present. This evaluation will mainly be about the projects, the timeline, content, and cooperation between schools and/or students/teachers.

 

Then, during the same three-day meeting, new projects will be put together and arrangements will be made.

 

If we find out the the project forms meet with our requirements the same will be used for the following year.

 

What other networks can be used with internationalisation in education? 

 

I would like to know where I can find a project that I can join?

 

 

Etwinning: Mainly suitable for finding partners to work on projects that are ready to use.

Through the European Schools Project: www.espnet.eu and www.eurpianschoolsproject.org/image

At Internationalsquare of Kennisnet

Look at the offer of Twinschools

 

I have an idea myself and I’m looking for a partnerschool.

Place a message in the worldwide newsletter of iEARN (20.000 schools)

Search eTwinning partner finding

 

I’m looking for financial aid to use for internationalisation:

European Platform: Financial aid and information

 

 

Various international networks:

 

Schoolnetworks: International education communities for teachers and students.

 

A good start for designing, planning and actually implementing an internationalisation project at primary, secondary or special education is finding and connection to an existing initiative or network of schools.

 

Which networks are active in the field of internationalisation in the Netherlands?

  • ESP – European Schools Project
  • iEARN - International and Educational Resources Network
  • eTwinning

 

Summary

During the last sessions, after summarising the made arrangements, the meeting will be evaluated. The Wiki is and will stay our cooperation instrument. In the wiki you will find the following:

  • timelines schools, names of contact persons
  • names of subject teachers and email address at partner schools and wikispace
  • description of technical possibilities at schools: computers, communication, space (computer room), smartboard, beamer, protected access
  • The used Case is a success story. Until now the results of our first partner meeting are extremely good. All projects (15) that have been initiated during the conference are being implemented at the moment.

Meanwhile the organisation is busy generating financial aid for the next partner meeting in Almeria, Spain, in June 2009. 

 

Resources

Een visie op internationaal projectwerk - vakoverschrijdend collaboratief, Ludo Mateusen en Jef Mesens

Translation: A vision on international projects – cross-curricular and collaborative, by Ludo Mateusen and Jef Mesens

 

Do's and Don'ts

  • Facilitate participating teachers of the project
  • Mention target groups of the project, educational level, communication language.
  • Make clear appointments on communication, tasks, responsibilities.
  • Utilize the strengths of your workgroup members and help overcome any weaknesses within the organization.
  • Make sure teachers are involved and/or get teachers involved.
  • Set individual and joint aims.
  • Respect the school culture (give each other enough space, time and possibilities)
  • Take into account the cultural differences and educational systems.  
  • Cross-curricular or subject-related project  

 

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