Documents 3.e: Meeting colleagues, finding partners

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Getting to know colleagues, finding partners

eTwinning is a community of professionals with thousands of teachers from 32 European countries. It is the perfect place to get to know other colleagues, exchange ideas and experiences, and discuss and develop projects with them. How and where can you find them?

Meeting points: eTwinning groups, Didactic Meetings, Teachers' Blog

These tools offer teachers places to meet around a common topic. Here you will find a variety of activities focused on these topics (forums, files, chats, learning activities…). On the other hand, finding a common professional concern and working on it from the start is the perfect way to find a partner and start a project.

  What it is: What you can do:
Teachers' room
Work spaces open for a limited time, so that teachers can use forums to share material, experiences, etc. Any teacher can open his or her own room or join an existing one that is already open. Some are public and some are restricted so that you have to apply for admission.
Exchange experiences, material, doubts, methodologies; debate about tools, pedagogical aspects of the projects, etc. Although it is not really a space for looking for partners, you may find common interests with other teachers and contact them outside the room.
eTwinning Groups  Teachers' Communities focusing on a specific project. They have forums, a database, chats… The topics and moderators are suggested by the Central Support Service and the National Services. In a near future, teachers will be able to open their own groups. Discuss ideas, share experiences, get advice to develop the topic dealt with in your projects and your usual teaching practice.
Didactic Meetings Virtual short and intensive meetings about different topics. They are led by experts and include active work and discussions amongst teachers. Develop your skills, learn new techniques and tools to use in your teaching practice, helped by experts and with other teachers. Some of these Meetings have limited vacancies, so make sure you check the 'Professional development' section in the SCA site from time to time.
Teachers' blog  The SCA site has a blog (European Blog) made for and by eTwinning teachers. You can access it from the corresponding site or at (SCA blog). The posts can be written in English, French, German, Italian or Spanish. Go on! Read, comment, publish… You will certainly find interesting discussions and posts.


Exploring ideas: galleries, connecting opinions

Teachers' profiles are not the only thing you can check and explore in eTwinning. You can also access many examples of good practice, proposals and ideas for projects, etc. In many cases, users can assess them and share their opinions with the rest of the community. Simply explore a project you find interesting and you will be able to contact the teachers who took part in it. Or maybe you will find an attractive idea and see who shares your opinion. You can also leave comments and valuations; this way, other users can 'follow your trail'. It is a good starting point to get in touch with someone and see what possibilities there are to start a project.

  What it is: What you can do:


project searchers 

Good practices are made public and promoted in eTwinning, both in the European site and the SNA. You will also find search tools to find projects by using different filters (with the public twinspace, age, subject, language…). Browse the projects and read about them. Not only you will find many good ideas, but also the teachers who came up with them. If you think a certain project is interesting, whether it is because of its topic or the way the work is organised, do not hesitate to contact the teachers. Maybe they are willing to start a similar one.
Kits The Kits and Modules are ideas for projects and activities. You can find them in the Spanish and European sites. In your profile, you can tick whether you wish to start a project using one of the kits available. They can also be assessed by teachers. Through the partner searcher you can find other teachers who want to work with the same kit as you. You can also see the valuations that a kit has got and who gave them (or do so yourself). Therefore, you can find and contact teachers who share your opinion about any particular kit or module.
“eTwinning and me: my Diariy" When you access a teacher’s profile, in “My Diary” you can read their ideas about their participation in eTwinning and their project. Depending on the contents of the Diary, you can get a more precise idea of the interests and way of working of a teacher. If you like their idea for a project, click on the “Like” button. This does not imply that you have to start this project with this teacher. It is just a way of telling the other users that you like the idea, and to include you in the list of teachers who share your opinion. You can also write a comment.

Searching for partners: searchers, forum

Should you be looking for a partner, bear in mind that not all eTwinning teachers take part in the groups, appear in galleries or can be found through their opinions. Maybe you have a really clear idea about the type of project you want to do: your future partner's city, age or subject… Or perhaps you want to visit the profile of someone you know (whether virtually or in person) and add it to your contacts. In order to do so, the following tools will be specially useful to you.

  What it is: What you can do:
Partner searcher  From your desktop, you can access this tool from the 'Partner search' tab. In the basic search, you can type in a teacher's name, a school, or any other key word. In the advanced search you will find filters to be combined, including the use of a kit (as we explained before).

As a result of your search, you will get all those eTwinning users who coincide with your filters. Take a look at the list or insert another filter if you get too many results. You can invite any teacher in the list to become a contact of yours. You can also use this tool when you want to add a specific person.
Comenius searcher  In the 'Find eTwinners (Partner search)' tab you can tick whether you want to start a Comenius project different from the eTwinning one. If you click on 'Available for a Comenius project', a list of available teachers will appear. Many are the possible interactions and synergies between eTwinning and other Comenius actions. Maybe you wish to start a Comenius action, whether it is aside from or connected with eTwinning to some extent. If so, this is a great tool to find partners.
Forum On the right side of the “Find eTwinners", (Partner Search)  window you can find the link to the Forums. There are two Forums, one dedicated to eTwinning projects and one to Comenius associations. Both of them are classified into age groups and there is also a general category. Teachers publish here all their ideas and project proposals. As you can see, the forum is quite active and you will see new entries all the time. If you click on a topic, you can read the full text and will see a link to the teacher's profile. You can also filter the entries using key words. Should you have an idea for a project and do not want to wait for other teachers to visit your profile, you can publish it here. Or you can browse the entries and answer those you find interesting. You can also visit the corresponding teacher's profile and send him/her an e-mail.



Some advice: you may not always be successful on your first try

Like in any other community, there are certain behavioural guidelines you should follow. On the other hand, not all teachers you contact will be the 'perfect' partners for your project. In fact, you can meet teachers whose work you find interesting, whose opinions you share or whom you exchange materials with, but they may not be the best choice to start a project; perhaps your students' ages, the subjects or the kind of project are not compatible. Be patient and do not hurry: sooner or later you will find someone to work with. Here is some advice to help you contact teachers and find a partner:

  • Do not add anyone without prior notice: Should you find someone you would like to work with, do not start by sending them an invitation to become a contact of yours. Before that, try to establish some kind of communication and make sure that the other teacher is also interested. You can do this in the Groups or Didactic Meetings, by replying to a post in a forum or sending an email.
  • Do not forget about cultural differences: Be careful with cultural differences amongst participants. The same text can be considered too formal or too informal depending on the country, and words like 'pronto' can have a wide range of meanings beyond their literal translation. Be clear and reasonable when you write, and if you read something you do not understand or do not like, ask for an explanation before judging (and be prepared to do so yourself!)
  • Stick to your commitments: If you decide on certain deadlines to send documents or answer to messages, try to respect that. If you can't, at least write to your contact to let him/her know. And if you eventually decide not to work with that teacher, just be clear and tell him/her. This is certainly better than making them wait for a reply.
  • Browse through all the available information: Whenever you read an idea you like, explore the projects that teacher has been involved in; check how many they are, how this teacher works… This will give you a specific approach to how that idea is transformed.
  • Find coincidences: You have found a possible partner and you both wish to work together. But before starting the project 'seriously', there are some aspects to be borne in mind. The answers to these questions do not necessarily have to be identical, but at least they must be complementary, so they allow for collaborative work between partners. Some of these questions are suggested below. Perhaps, creating and exchanging a questionnaire based on them will allow you to solve many doubts from the start:
    • What topics do we want to work on together?
    • What objectives do I want to reach with my eTwinning project? What are our common objectives?
    • Do we have a similar pedagogical approach?
    • What language/s do we want to use? And what about our students?
    • Do I know about my partner's educational system? Are the type of schools and years similar?
    • If the project is going to last longer than a year, shall we plan it for different groups of students or for one only?
    • What final results are we searching for?
    • When are our holidays? Can we work jointly?
    • How many hours a week/year do we want to use for this project?
    • What ICT tools do we want to use for collaborative work amongst students?
    • How shall we implement the project in class? And how are we going to make students take part?
    • How can we get in touch easily and quickly?
    • What means of communication do we wish to use (email, phone, chat…)?

Are you ready? Have you met interesting people and maybe one of them could be a partner? Do you agree on working together and believe it is possible? Then it is time to start working on your project. Good luck and good work!

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