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“Personalising” eTwinning

2014  |  

personalizando eTwinning

The National Support Service  takes an interest in distinct projects and we often find very inventive proposals like the one we shall describe today in this article. Why not create personalised identity cards which identify active members of an eTwinning project? Would it increase their motivation to work on the project? We shall see what various teachers, who have implemented these initiatives, have to tell us about these projects.

The Project: 'Young journalists without borders'. Spanish participating centre: Ventura Rodríguez Infants and Primary School (Ciempozuelos- Madrid). Teacher: Javier Arias Bonell.

During the academic year 2012 – 13 we participated in a project called Young journalists without borders. The main objective of this Project was the improvement of communication skills through the creation of a digital newspaper.

Over the years, since our beginning in 2005, we have been looking for an increasing active student partcipation in all the phases of the projects. The initiatives and proposals have enriched our projects and shown the teachers that creativity and motivation have no limits.

Once designed, the newspaper, the title, the sections and other organisational tasks, the pupils came up with the idea of an identity card / passport for journalists. This identity card could be used in all our activities, when we were working as reporters and we could even include it as a signature for our own work (news, interviews, reports etc). It could be used as an identification document for all the school community.

Immediately, right from the first moment, this initiative motivated us and contributed positively to the feeling of belonging to a group. This feeling improved the atmosphere of group work because it made our shared objectives more explicit. In addition to this, it helped the positive atmosphere of this group to go further than the walls of the school and to form part of a larger European group. The identity card / passport was an excellent idea which identified us as members of a community.

The pupils of all the participating countries (The Czech Republic, Turkey and Spain) created their proposals in a spirit of total creative freedom but basing themselves on common agreed ideas. (Ideas that appeared through the references made to countries, the title of the Project and at least an allusion to the term eTwinning). All these ideas were uploaded on to the TwinSpace site of the Project in a specific folder created for this purpose.

resumencarnets proyecto young journalists


The next stage was the selection of the same model for each pupil / reporter. This was decided by voting because there were many drawings and designs of high quality. The voting was carried out using Skype through a dialogue which took place in the Pupils' Corner.

All this voting process gave security and confidence, it made the pupils feel valued and promoted the values of cooperation and respect. It encouraged the pupils to broaden their horizons, to break down frontiers and to establish an intercultural dialogue which respected the linguistic and cultural diversity that are the basis of all eTwinning action.


Project:'Mieux vivre ensemble'. Participating Spanish centre: Leopoldo Queipo Secondary School, Melilla. Teachers: Francisco Javier Alés Fernández y José Antonio Sánchez Ojeda.

At the beginnning of the academic year 2013 – 14, in our centre, the idea occurred to us that the pupils could have an identity card. The aim of this card would be to have all the details necessary to access the platform within easy reach. We saw that, besides the practical aspect, we could satisfy various objectives with identification cards. The pupils would feel that they formed a more active part of the Project and the cards would be valuable, distinctive and immediately recognised by other pupils, teachers and parents.


From the eTwinning ambassadors blog, Don José Antonio Sánchez, our ambassador in Melilla shared this idea:


Mieux vivre ensemble 1

...from September of the present academic year 2013 – 14, the pupils from Leopoldo Queipo School that particpate in the Project 'Mieux vivre ensemble' will have an identification card... we believe that the fact that the pupils have this card has increased their motivation because:

1. They feel that they form an active part of the Project because they are identified specifically, especially when we go to the IT rooms in the centre.

2. Their details are always present in TwinSpace, that is, their username and password.

Figure 1: Here is a description of the identity card.


3. The families, friends and classmates see the importance of the work they do.



At our centre, Leopoldo Queipo in Melilla (http://www.iesleopoldoqueipo.com/), we are convinced of the benefits of the identification cards. Via this article, we aim to demonstrate how we have generated these cards in a simple digital format by showing the cards themselves.

In order to do this, we have used a fantastic tool called GIMP (http://www.gimp.org) that, apart from being a multi-platform, is free to use and frequently kept up-to-date. We start from a PDF document generated by software from our School where various identification cards from each class and stage can be seen. Six appear on each page, ready to print with personal details, such as, name, surname, year group and a photograph of the pupil. Of all these details we have only used the photograph because, in the new design, it seemed to us that the written words were not well presented. In any case, all that is necessary is LOGIN and PASSWORD and the rest of the details are generated automatically by the calculation sheet. This is done for every group of participating pupils for every eTwinning project.

The most creative part of the identity card design is the symbols. In order to generate these symbols, we have to bear in mind that they should be simple to understand, a pleasant design, and the colours used must be similar to the colours used on the eTwinning webpage. Images with licences and rights are freely used. On the eTwinning site we can find quite a number of useable symbols which can be used to send a message that we like eTwinning.


Mieux vivre ensemble 2

Figure 2: The process of generation of the identity cards.


From the identity card document of the centre used as a background in GIMP we must only superimpose the layer of the identity cards designed for eTwinning. This appears with the  LOGIN and PASSWORD and we can add these with the text tool of GIMP as new layers. Later, if needed, it is possible to combine all layers of text or re-use them each time that we are going to generate identity cards for other groups.

This is a simple process in which pupils can participate in subjects, such as, Technology, Information Technology or in training courses that are taught in our centre using information technology.

We realised that, in a short space of time, we had many new identity cards ready to print and to be used by the pupils.


Mieux vivre ensemble 3

Figure 3: The use of GIMP to create new identity cards.

Our eTwinning ambassador has requested, in the eTwinning ambassadors blog, that they make the production of the identity card automatic in the eTwinning platform. In this case, the pupils themselves can create and print cards after having been given permission by the teachers responsible for the Project. The teachers make absolutely certain that the right to privacy is respected.

… it occurred to the teachers involved that we should integrate the eTwinning team of our centre automatically in this Project. The National Support Service for eTwinning could collect their suggestions and generate the identity cards automatically. The identity card model could be personalised by inserting fields like the logo of the school, the photograph of the pupils and the pupils' password.


Source of images: the heading of the National Support Service for eTwinning and images made available by the coordinators of the projects described in this article.


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