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Travelling creativity in 'Art on the Move'

2012  |  

Title: Art on the move

Education stage: Infant and Primary

Subject: Interdisciplinary


Art as a tool to learn about other European cultures, bond as friends and become familiar with the symbols and values of European identity. This was the main idea that encouraged pupils and teachers from five schools in Spain, Finland, the United Kingdom, Poland and Bulgaria to embark on an adventure that would last almost two years.



The friendship also became stronger thanks to the meetings held between pupils during the stay, given that the project is a good example of integration between eTwinning and a Comenius association. In this case, eTwinning boosted the number of digital experiences in the classroom, also promoting interaction and collaboration between partners. Furthermore, eTwinning provided the digital tools required to help pupils - who are always guided by their devoted and attentive teachers - to go on cultural trips to all partner countries through artistic expression.

For two years, on the way towards the knowledge of European identity, several topics were dealt with in a creative and different way, such as regional festivities and celebrations, the importance of family in the societies of partner countries, feelings, interpersonal relationships, European celebrations, the most famous monuments in each country, literature and books, music and dance, celebrities in partner countries (artists, politicians ...), etc.

The cultural trips that pupils in “Art on the move” went on cover almost all forms of artistic expression: they make drawings, paintings, sculptures, plays, folk dancing, photos, mini-films, literary works, etc. The result of the project is a huge amount of artistic material, which can be reused in class and is stored in a perfectly organised and user-friendly wiki, an ICT tool that is popular for being so collaborative.

Teachers Cristina Grau and Jessica Juárez were in charge of coordinating “Art on the move”. The detailed study plan and the timing of the activities reflect good coordination levels and a careful distribution of the tasks and roles assigned to each participant. The outstanding planning is reflected in the great quality of the resulting materials, which together represent a real cultural and artistic guide of the participating countries.

The artistic adventure of both pupils and teachers in “Art on the move" is divided into two different stages: firstly, it attempts to bring pupils closer to their partners' culture, and then it tries to awaken their interest for collaborative work, designing activities that would promote interaction and collaboration between partners. All of this is based on the use of English, which is the lingua franca used by these children to get closer to one another and understand the diversity of European culture. As Cristina Grau said: "we make friends by teaching, learning and respecting the traditions, customs and features of each country, using a common code and channel: English through ICTs."

The success of this project proves that pupils' early age is not an obstacle towards collaborative work. Quite the opposite, these Infant and Primary pupils have shown their liking for team activities, as well as a great interest in new technologies. Within this collaborative scenario, we must mention the partners' idea of becoming teachers and recording videotutorials to show their European partners a typical dance. Here is the Spanish version of the dance suggested by the Finnish pupils and teachers:

Likewise, pupils let their imagination fly and, with help from their partners, they created several collaborative stories in English, making clear that creativity and learning a foreign language are closely connected. The new stories were then illustrated with lovely drawings that reflect these pupils' talent, originality and fantasy. With great ease, they have shared with their partners something about cultural diversity, briging them closer and promoting a feeling of belonging to the common European cultural space.

The project is always based on the use of new technologies. ICTs have played their role well, both allowing participants to communicate by email, Skype, chat and videoconferences, and making it possible to carry out different activities thanks to tools like Power Point presentations, Slideshare, Prezi and TripAdvisor's Tripwow, audio and video recordings, etc. In addition, ICT tools were very useful when it came to organising and distributing all the tasks of the two year-project. At this regard, we must highlight the excellent organization of the wiki, based both on time and topic criteria, which stores all the materials created during the two years of the project.

Being able to view so easily on the wiki the results of their effort has become a real motivation for pupils, and has also managed to involve parents, as it allows them to follow the development of the project there. As teacher Cristina Grau said, pupils' motivation was essential to the suitable progress of “Art on the move”: "Within this project, teachers highlight pupils' motivation, from the youngest to the oldest ones. Doing things for pupils from other participating countries, receiving things from partners and even doing collaborative work was even more exciting for them than communicating in English. Bearing in mind that the work of all countries was exhibited at the schools strengthened pupils' dedication and effort to do things well, thus resulting in great-quality work." The use of English and new technologies to bring them closer to their eTwinner friends and the freedom to be able to express their creativity through a wide range of activities triggered pupils' motivation for the two years that the project lasted. As they said: " eTwinning is one of the best things that has ever happened to us! A unique experience with other European countries that we'd like to have again next year."

Another remarkable thing about the “Art on the move” project is that it has managed to mobilize and actively involve the whole educational community. In the Spanish school, an actual school team was created, whose members worked closely together in order to overcome any difficulty encountered during those two years. Adopting a school team approach is the key to complementing an eTwinning project with a Comenius association. As Cristina Grau, the school headmaster, said: "As coordinators of 'Art on the move', our primary goal was to involve as many people as possible from the educational community in the project. This way, we made sure that any member of our community could take part in it within their possibilities (pupils aged 3 to 12, teachers, families, canteen staff, cleaning and administration staff, Council representatives…)". Pupils, the headmaster, teachers, Special Needs teachers, parents, representatives from local authorities and the local press that ensured visibility for this project, all worked together to make sure this project was successful. The pupils are the ones who have benefited the most from this eTwinning – Comenius experience; they now understand that approaching other cultures is not something optional, but rather vital and essential for peaceful cohabiting in a multicultural, yet united Europe.

Have a look at the presentation of this project at the National eTwinning Award Ceremony 2012::

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Wiki: http://artonthemove.wikispaces.com/

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