Pupils felt more empowered and motivated and were better at team working. The study found eTwinning to be an easy and cost-effective way for schools to engage in international cooperation. New study underlines benefits of eTwinning.
The impact study gathered evidence over 21 months through a literature review, data and document review, 24 school case studies in 13 countries, and a survey in 25 languages of around 6 000 teachers registered for eTwinning.
eTwinning is financed through the Lifelong Learning Programme and is part of the Comenius programme for school education. The European Commission plans to reinforce and expand eTwinning from 2014 as part of the proposed Erasmus for All programme.
eTwinning uses information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance cooperation between schools. 190,000 teachers at 100,000 schools have so far signed up through the European eTwinning portal which offers both tools and secure internet spaces for joint school projects, exchanges and training activities.
Impact on teachers
- The majority of teachers in the survey said they their expectations of eTwinning were largely fulfilled. Improvements in knowledge and skills, particularly, teaching skills, were noted. However, few teachers had received official recognition or a change in status following their eTwinning experience.
- Teachers identified five main benefits of eTwinning: (1) making new friends and networking across Europe (64%); (2) new or improved ICT skills (60%); (3) a positive impact on pupils’ skills or motivation to learn (55%); (4) a sense of involvement in an international teaching community (55%); (5) improved foreign language skills (54%).
- The impact was greater among teachers who were actively involved in projects. Involvement in a collaborative project appears to stimulate both personal and professional development and encourages teachers to widen their involvement in professional exchange and networking.
Impact on pupils
- Teachers´ expectations of change and improvement in their pupils’ abilities, knowledge and attitudes were generally fulfilled. Many teachers noticed better and less formal communication and interaction with pupils.
- Pupils were enthusiastic about collaboration and team working as well as learning about other cultures.
- eTwinning also made pupils feel empowered or more independent, especially those over the age of twelve.
Impact on schools
- In many cases eTwinning had led to other projects and a more international outlook within the school.
- If eTwinning is to have an impact on the whole school, the head teacher needs to be closely involved, and several classes – or the entire school have to be involved in the activities.
- Curricular integration of the project is common. Typically eTwinning projects might combine elements of language learning and literacy, ICT, sciences and mathematics and social sciences.