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about the project (detailed information)

Recent European studies (Ólafsson, Livingstone, & Haddon, 2013) have shown that teenagers all over Europe are going mobile using new online platforms to engage in a wide range of activities mostly at home. The studies reveal that the most common online activity is using the Internet for school work (85%). Bauer et al. 2009 also revealed that pupils who use the Internet intensively and regularly for schoolwork, choose almost prominently Wikipedia as the preferred site, visiting other pages very rarely and do it mostly as an individual activity in their homes without any guidance. Most pupils “copy” and “paste” information from the Internet and use a variety of strategies to cover up their plagiarism. In schools, the Internet is mostly used to reinforce traditional teacher-centred methods and it is still little used for collaborative, interdisciplinary production of knowledge and non-formal learning is almost non-existing. The fear of innovation is still very present so is the lack of portable technology (laptops or tablets) which would ease the integration of ICT in the classroom. Apps4EL project was designed to address these issues by developing, implementing and testing innovative approaches and practices for pupils and teachers use of apps and mobile technology in learning and teaching. The project will be monitored through a joint participatory action-research which will comprise a set of surveys (paper questionnaire and interviews) and document analyses to assess the impact of the use of educational apps and mobile technology in students’ academic achievement. So, this project will help teachers become proficient in exploring how different mobile applications can be used in their teaching practice and develop the skills required in order to make innovative use of online mind mapping tools, collaborative debates, digital text, audio, images, video and games in their classrooms. The participants will also explore how tablets or other portable devices can be used to enhance interactivity in a classroom and used for project-based group work and to produce knowledge in a creative way. Furthermore, the Internet offers the opportunity for interaction among students in multicultural and multilingual contexts that need to be explored in teaching foreign languages. Schools in Europe have the responsibility to guide their students in the network, so that they develop competences to learn how to learn, to learn how to explore the wide range of sources of information at reach, to produce knowledge, to learn to share points of view across frontiers. At their reach, teachers have the eTwinning action from the Erasmus plus programme that provides schools with an elearning platform for collaborative work, while providing opportunities to strengthen the European dimension in their curriculum and foster the integration of educational online applications in their teaching. As eTwinning project is based on the principles of collaborative and cooperative learning, it is expected that it will lead to: a change in the teaching process; the promotion of an effective intercultural communication based on collaborative transnational team work; the improvement of foreign language communication competences; the enhancement of digital literacy; the increase of pupils and teachers' motivation to use and learn mobile applications for teaching and learning.

Participating schools will have an important role to raise their staff awareness toward the value apps can have in enhancing learning opportunities for learners of every age. Teacher professional development, in the form of continuous training, is essential to enhance their skills, competencies and pedagogic approaches, thus to ensure the success of the project.

Throughout the project, teachers and pupils will experiment, create, and implement freeware for brainstorming, online collaborative debate, mapping of students' pre-knowledge, creating interactive exercises, digital text, videos, animated films and presentations, stop motion, audio and images and other education applications in their teaching and learning practice. The teaching resources will be generated in the national languages of the partners and then translated into English. Teachers will work collaboratively in international teams in order to conceive, plan and design teaching units for different schools subjects supported by apps and also create apps for teaching purposes, utilising the skills and knowledge they will gain through research, in-service training, sharing of practices with peers or own experience. These pedagogical resources will be showcased in all participating organisations in workshops where teachers and students will share best practice, evaluate approaches and provide evidence as to how apps-supported learning can make learning more relevant and effective and foster self-directed lifelong learning in students. Mobilities will also offer participants a unique the chance to widen their perceptions of life outside their local area, to develop awareness of cultures other than their own and develop a sense of belonging to the European concept and their role within it.

Author: Maria Silva 
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