Abstract: Generally teachers’ professional development is a constant life-long process of learning, training, acquiring or improving competences and an efficient way of getting to certain maturity and wisdom in their didactic profession. In this respect, e-twinning facilitates teachers’ access to a virtual environment of collaboration, sharing experience, to partnerships with other teachers and professional training activities together with other colleagues from the European countries.
Key words: e-Twinning, educational partnership, education, e-learning
Short overview on the E-Twinning platform
First launched in 2005 as a fundamental component of the E-learning program within the European Commission, the eTwinning platform has become an essential part of the Erasmus+ Program, the European Union Program for Education, Training, Youth and Sports. The action appeals to all schools from the pre-university system, all teachers, schoolmasters and school inspectors; it facilitates access to a virtual environment of collaboration, sharing experience, partnerships and professional training activities together with other colleagues from the European countries (source: www.etwinning.ro).
With the help of this platform, the eTwinners have access to a European network and great opportunities for further professional development through the involvement in international projects, through participation in international in-training or experience sharing seminars. Both sudents and teachers have access to an active learning environment, pedagogical instruments which integrate the latest technologies in the learning process.
The eTwinning Platform offers the following (http://etwinning.ro/despre-etwinning/):
pedagogical instruments integrating the new technologies in the learning process;
getting closer and getting to better know other participant countries
getting involved in common curricular activities;
teachers` taking part in a European network and opportunities for further professional development through collaboration in international projects and participation in international in-training seminars and experience ex changes;
an attractive learning environment both for theachers and students ;
official acknowledgement and a greater visibility of the participants` activity both nationally and internationally;
annual prizes and national European quality certificates for the best projects.
Benefits of participating in the eTwining platform, conforming with http://etwinning.ro/despre-etwinning:
A program for teachers-eTwinning facilitates teachers`access to a virtual environment of collaboration and experience sharing, to partnerships with other teachers and professional training activities together with colleagues from the European countries;
A program for students- By taking part in the eTwining projects (online twinning among schools), students have the opportunity to communicate with other students from the participating countries, find out cultural and educational elements typical of the partner countries, learn how to use the latest technologies and develop the communicative skills regarding different foreign languages;
A program for the community-Online twinning of schools may be accompanied by the community twinning as well. Some localities have decided to “etwin” and complete the online communication through other projects– visits, cultural activities for adults etc.
The advantages of using the latest technologies and ICT in educational process are multiple: first, images can be used in teaching, this way improving students retentive memory, second, teachers can easily explain complex constructions and ensure students’ understanding, third, teachers can motivate students and create more interactive lessons ( Jeremy Harmer, 2001). The uses of computers and the internet are numerous: for reference, in teaching and testing programs, for e-mail exchange, different websites used to look for information or for playing games, for homegrown materials both for teachers and students, educational platforms, in this case e-twinning portal is exemplified, in order to show alternative ways, other than the traditional ones, of improving English in general and receptive skills in particular.
To conclude with, the eTwinning platform is more than useful in the didactic process as it represents an inexhaustible resource of ideas for various learning activities in which both teachers and students are involved. To be more specific, the platform can be used as a learning and teaching tool in the EFL classrooms, especially for performance sports students who are most of the time away, on training camps or sports competitions. That is why the eTwinning platform is of a real use to our students through the wide range of learning activities and projects it brings about. Its impact on both students and teachers is a great one since all these projects develop not only team work, team spirit, skills and competences, transdisciplinarity, but also characters and people.
Harmer, Jeremy, The Practice of English Language Teaching, 3rd Edition, England, Pearson Education Limited, 2001, p. 149-153