Dear eTwinning 3.0 participants!

Sep 28, 2013

Dear eTwinning 3.0 participants,

ever since that warm June afternoon when Bart and I were asked to do yet another Learning Event in the Learning Lab, we lived with it and for it! We worked on it day and night, we looked for new tools and resources, did research, explored the tools and discussed their pedagogical value and usage in education, experimented, created new tasks, invented new  activities, tried them out with our students, reflected and reviewed, critized, praised and inspired each other, dealt with issues and problems, were excited to find something that worked perfectly and disappointed at other times because it didn't. And now after the learning event has finished, after ten days of intense online collaboration, fascinating connectedness and creativity, after having received so many compliments, beautiful comments, lovely posters and thank you notes, we know that we have inspired and motivated you and that together we have ... touched the sky! Thank you for flying with us!

From eTwinning with Love

Today is the last day of yet another learning event that Bart and I are leading in the eTwinning Learning Lab. Our event, eTwinning 3.0 is about education 3.0. We prepared lots of resources, tools and most importantly lots of creative tasks for our participants. Those past ten days were so intense, totally filled with collaboration, connectedness and creativity that I feel like we have reached the stars!All those comments that have been posted all over the web show that we have fulfilled our mission - to fly to the moon:

Here are some of the comments:

Words fail me - I'm so deeply touched and .... over the moon! A million thanks to all of you, dear participants, fellow etwinners and friends. It's been an out-of-this-world experience.

RSCON presenter

Sep 26, 2013

The 4th annual Reform Symposium e-Conference will be held from October 11th - 13th on the Blackboard Collaborate platform. There'll be more than 100  prominent educators giving keynotes, talks and workshops.
I'm really proud to be one of the presenters. I'll be giving a talk entitled Lifelong Learning in the Learning Lab about online courses for professional development. The talk is based on my experience of leading ten-day online courses in the eTwinning Learning Lab:

The Pedagogical Value of eTwinning projects (held in March 2013)
eTwinning 3.0 (happening now)
Alati i kompetencije (for teachers from Slavic countries, starts on October 10)
My talk will be held at 6:00 pm CET on Sunday, 13 October.

Dreams come true - in the CFC!

Sep 23, 2013

This time last year  this was only a dream. Today it's a reality. The Croatian Future Classroom was officially opened last week.

It all started with my visit to the Future Classroom Lab at the European Schoolnet in Brussels and a course I attended there. The FCL is a "living lab  for how ICT can be implemented in schools and where policy makers, ICT suppliers, teachers and educational researchers come together to reshape the use of technolgy in education and to develop new models of teaching and learning with technology. It was developed by European Schoolnet, its 30 supporting Ministries of Education and leading educational technology providers."

(No, the Croatian Ministry is still not a member, but hopefully it will become one soon - that'll be another dream of mine come true) 

The opening ceremony was grand.... it was just like a dream! So many good, positive, inspiring vibes! Sonja showcased the use of Samsung Smart School with students so successfully and effectively as only she can! My school's choir and our guest choir from Koprivnica were brilliant. We were joined by teachers from South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Brazil and the UK on the Adobe Connect Pro Meeting platform. There were many VIPs from the European Schoolnet, the  MoE, the City of Zagreb, CARNet, Samsung, Teacher Education & Training Agency, lots of memebers of the press - we gave so many interviews and felt like rock stars. 

Bart Verswijvel, the official representative of the European Schoolnet gave a memorable speech that I will never, ever forget. Among other things, he said:
I am quite sure that Arjana Blazic and her colleagues will make the Croatian Future Classroom into a lighthouse, a lighthouse for innovative education, a lighthouse that has an impact on the school but also on the rest of the country.

You can read more about it in Bart's blog post Croatian Future Classroom.

The icing on the cake was Karaoke night! Yes, I did sing!

On the day after the opening ceremony, Sonja recieved the official confirmation that our school, IX. gimnazija was selected to take part in European Schoolnet's project InGenious.

We're looking forward to more projects like this!


Interactive learning and empathy

Sep 11, 2013

New Opportunities Upper-Intermediate, the textbook that I have to use in my English classes (Gosh, how I hate it because I HAVE TO use it), opens up with a module about autobiographies. Two excerpts are there for students to read and discuss. One of them is from Anne Frank's Diary. My students know very well who Anne Frank is. Most of them read the Diary in their elementary schools. Most of them don't remember much about the book except that she was Jewish and lived in an attic.

The excerpt in the textbook is, well... to be read once and then forgotten. No matter how hard I try, I can't make it any more appealing than it is to my students. But what I could do was to use this extract as an introduction and then go online to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. This museum has fantastic resources for teachers, such as timelines, videos, photos, stories. But what my students liked most was the Interactive walk through the Annex. One student volunteered to be our guide through the Annexe - by using the mouse he moved the bookcase and let us in to wander around, explore the attic and listen to the stories from Anne's diary. 

This interactive walk through the Secret Annex did more for my students than any excerpt could have ever done. I could clearly feel how my students felt, how they suddenly understood and appreciated what Anne Frank was going through, how difficult life was for her family, how courageous she was and how she managed to be optimistic under such dire circumstances.

This interactive walk helped my students develop their listening skills, they learned some historical facts,  they learned that there are resources on the internet that they can use for learning and most importantly, they learned empathy. This is where technology wins over textbooks.

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