The integration of modern media into the everyday reality of the students has already taken place long ago. In contrast, the educational use of these technologies drags behind. With our project, we aimed to promote a reasonable and intelligent use of mobile devices in class to make use of their great potential and foster media competence also in schools that are not equipped with the latest technologies.
We tested the teaching methods of our ‘digital classroom’ on the topic ‘Refugees in the EU’.
There could not have been a better time for this project, as during the last two years we experienced the refugee crisis at its peak. The rising number of asylum seekers has posed a challenge on the different countries of the EU. Cities and schools have to cope with the rising number of refugees. Intolerance, fear and ignorance often cause problems. By learning together about statistics, challenges, chances and integration it became clear that this crisis is far from being solved. However, we also experienced the importance of a strong EU and that European cooperation can make it possible to meet at least some of the challenges brought along by the high number of refugees.
The project's main objective was enhancing digital integration in learning and teaching. Our project was an answer to the increasing integration of digital media into the world of work and our daily lives. Our schools are responsible to promote a confident and intelligent use of new technologies and to provide a modern, dynamic and professional environment in order to prepare our students successfully for the challenges awaiting them. To reach this aim the profile of the teaching profession needs to be strengthened.
Our project offered teachers the chance to try out digital devices and apps in lessons, to gain self-confidence in the use of modern media in class, to internationalize their work and to experiment with transnational team teaching. New methods and teaching strategies were exchanged, tested and applied. By working together transnationally on the prevailing European issues ‘Refugees in the EU’ our students experienced the importance of a strong EU. Their cultural and intercultural competence was strengthened. They learned to think and act diplomatically and developed a positive attitude towards European values.
Moreover, the project linked our different European educational systems and boosted educational performance by providing an exchange between various European schools. Mobility and cross-border cooperation strengthened the quality of the project’s outcome.
We were seven partner schools from seven different countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Norway and Slovenia. All schools wanted to promote the use of mobile devices in class. However, through different technical preconditions and experiences, every partner made his own complementary contribution to the project. We had chosen partners from all parts of Europe to emphasize the differences in situation and problem-solving approaches concerning refugees.
At the beginning of the project we had a transnational teaching activity, which aim was to impart basic digital skills necessary for the projects' activities and to bring all teachers on one level. Throughout the project, we carried out different classroom activities about ‘Refugees in the EU’. All lessons were based on the use of mobile devices. The results include all kinds of digital products such as digital documentations, video clips, podcasts, cartoons etc. During the first year we focused on the situation of refugees as well as differences in asylum policy in European countries.
During the second year, we worked on possibilities of integration. Our classroom activities were complemented and intensified by two transnational learning activities and project meetings that gave the students the opportunity to present their result and exchange experiences. The transnational meetings gave life to our project and offered students and teachers the chance to meet face-to-face after having worked hard together in a virtual reality at home.
The main products of the project are two eBooks. The teachers’ eBook is a guide about the use of modern media in class. It is supposed to support our colleagues and strengthen their self-confidence in applying new digital methods themselves. The students’ eBook is a summary of their work on the topic ‘Refugees in the EU’ and contains a lot of products created throughout the project.
We consider our project as step towards the integration of digital media in everyday teaching. All results and experience gained throughout the project are shared on our website. However, like the development of digital media, they are not carved in stone and therefore, we aim to keep on developing the eBook after the end of the project.