“Mille et une pistes… y dos detectives”
Milles et une pistes… y dos detectives (1001 clues and two detectives) is an award–winning project; it won a 2016 eTwinning National Prize for the 12-15 years old age category. This project is integrated in the Foreign Language subject area and it involved students of ages between 13-14 years old; it was the perfect tool for both teachers and students to get to know each other, to collaborate, and carry out an exchange visit at the end of the school year. The working methodology is original and it constantly fostered student collaboration, involvement and creativity; it boasts careful planning, clear task and role allocation, and the use of a wide range of adequate digital tools for the students’ age. The project methodology is active, the activities foster creativity and are aimed at knowing the partners and constantly interacting with them; all of this makes the students the true project protagonists. Juana Hermoso, who is the project coordinator in the IES Ítaca school, describes the experience of implementing this experience in her school.
“Mille et une pistes… y dos detectives” is a collaboration project between the students from the Colegio Voltaire (in France) school and IES Ítaca school (in Spain). With the help of solving puzzles, the students got to know each other and the culture of the country whose language they had been already studying; they also got the chance to see each other face to face in an exchange visit at the end of the school year. During the project, the students worked in groups to complete the tasks. They created two characters, two detectives, who became the common thread that runs through the entire project; they came up with their names, created their portraits, and agreed on these characters’ final appearance. Lastly, they created them in a virtual environment and gave them a voice and made them able to move. For the students this was a fun and engaging way to learn a foreign language and discover a different culture with its similarities and differences. The experience helped them to develop their communication skills, to appreciate and respect others cultures, and to strengthen the European culture.
Upon completion of the project, we realized we met the objectives we had established at the beginning and with a high level of satisfaction.
The difficulties we stumbled upon during the project development were minimal due to the fact that the students had a very good attitude and were always very receptive and excited with the project. The students had the leading role in the project and were actively involved in all the tasks that were completed in groups of students from the same country or in mixed groups with students from the two countries. Team work and the constant information exchange were essential and constant all throughout the project. We focused on the use of ICT tools and worked with tools students already knew, but also introduced many other new ones which enabled our students to give expression to their creativity and independence. The blog was the ideal way to display our work and we organized it so that the different stages of our project (objectives, schedule, methodology, and task allocation to students) could be easily seen.
Working in teams, our students realized their role and relevance in the project and the fact that each of them could contribute with many diverse ideas and opinions. The exchange of information enabled the students to practice the language in real communication situations and with native speakers. They become more confident and open-minded with respect to different cultures and their sense of belonging to the European community was strengthened. Some of the competences we developed were: communicative competence, autonomy and personal initiative, learning to learn, social and civic competence, cultural and artistic competence, processing information and digital competence.
This project allowed us to meet the requirements of the Foreign Language class, and combine them with student creativity, and competence development. The results were very positive: students made great progress in using the language and became more aware of it after the exchange trip. It was surprising how well they handled the audiovisual tools considering many of them had never used them before or had had very little experience with them. Moreover, they got to know many features of the partner country’s culture (France and Spain) especially after their visit, and also made new friends among the other students.
All throughout the project we needed good planning and to be in constant contact with the other teachers and students in order to agree on what tasks to complete, what procedures to follow, and on the tools we were going to use. We mainly used emails to communicate; also, we made effective use of the TwinSpace, of the forum, the chat, the contents, etc. When we introduced new tools to the project, we used to exchange tutorials so that we could learn how to use them faster.
So as to summarize the activities, a digital book was created as a final product which included all the tasks related to the characters and the solution to their mysteries. Students worked in mixed groups and design and prepared the book.
TwinSpace allowed us to upload all the images, audio and video files, written documents, etc. in a clear and organized way so that we could reuse these contents in different stages of the project..
As for us, the teachers, it was very rewarding to see the progress our students were making and their level of involvement in the tasks. Moreover, the biggest accomplishment was seeing students that had certain difficulties in learning the foreign language make satisfying progress. This project gave us the chance to discover new ICT tools that supplemented and broadened the number of tools we had used in the previous project, increased our experience, and boosted our confidence to undertake new projects..
Thanks to all the eTwinning projects carried out in my school, eTwinning is now seen as the perfect communication space to work together with other schools; also, as a consequence, other colleagues started to become interested in the eTwinning platform. My colleagues and the managing team at my school have always encouraged me and supported me in the implementation of my eTwinning projects .
To sum up, we the teachers are very satisfied with the final outcome and so are the students, as they made it clear in the Final Evaluation.
Personally speaking, winning the 2016 eTwinning National Prize was a true reward for me both personally and professionally and it inspires me to keep believing in the fact that teaching is the essential foundation of student training. My colleagues from the Instituto Ítaca and the managing team are also very proud of the recognition the school got through this prize.
Student comments on the project
“I had a very good experience with the project. We worked a lot and managed to succeed together. I learnt a lot of interesting information about France; we used the platform to get closer to the great friends we met thanks to this project. We loved solving the puzzles in order to find out more about the characters we had created. Another thing is that we learnt how to use this platform that many of us weren’t familiar with. Another very positive aspect was that the teachers were very much involved in the project and helped us with everything we needed. Anything can be done if we put hard work, imagination, and above all motivation into it”
Paula Pino Morillo
“It was an experience that I would most definitely do again. I got to know a new country, new people, a new culture, and at the same time I was improving my French. All the group members were very much involved in the project and had a good attitude from the beginning; that is why we made it work. At the beginning we didn’t know how to use this platform because we had never used it before, but we saw how it worked in class and practiced at home with the teacher’s help. In conclusion, I learnt a lot of new things in this project, especially on our exchange visit. As I’ve already said, the project offered me many things; not only did I improve my French, but also improved my relationship with students from other classes who I didn’t use to hang out with.”
María Rodríguez de Segovia
“I am very proud to have been involved in this project. It has been a very interesting one-of-a-kind experience and I would do it again.
The idea was very original and, with the teacher’s big help, we completed it and even won a prize.
All of us have improved our French and we got to know more things on a different culture; we met a lot of wonderful people and shared with them unforgettable moments. At the same time, we got to know our classmates a lot better and we did well working in teams. I think we deserved the prize because it’s recognition of a job well done.”
Ana De La Morena Ontalba
“After weeks of hard work to complete the project and using web pages that we had never used before, and above all helping each other, we managed to pull off a project that is worth wild. This experience gave me many positive things and brought me much closer to my classmates; I understood what teamwork meant and I realized that if each of us does his or her part, we can achieve fabulous things. Moreover, we had some very nice companions in this journey (the students from Voltaire school in France) and we still keep in touch with them. Above all though, I have to thank the teachers, Juana, who is our teacher, and Isabelle, the French teacher, for giving us the opportunity to get involved in this project, for guiding us and always encouraging us. I hope I have the chance to get involved in another project soon; this is and experience I will never forget.”
María García Verdugo
“At first I wasn’t particularly interested in the idea of the project; but then, as things progressed and started to fall into shape and we started to get to know our mates from the other school, I felt satisfied of having had the chance to become involved in the project and to share it with all the people I got to meet. At times, the project got difficult because it wasn’t easy to get 44 students (22 from each country) and two teachers to work together, to plan, and compromise. I will always remember the first task we had to do for the project; we had to take pictures of ourselves in a classroom or in different parts of our schools and upload them to the twinspace so that our colleagues would see our schools. It was then that we started to get to know our French friends. This experience was my first eTwinning project, my first student exchange, and the first time I got out of the country, so I couldn’t possibly be happier with it. I am even more proud now after being awarded this prize because I realize now that the good feeling we had when we completed project was also felt by the juries who evaluated it. I would definitely repeat it, with its pros and cons.”
Elena Cámara Quílez
“I am very happy to have lived this one-of-a-kind experience that gave us so many things as far as language learning as well as on a personal level. This project gave me the chance to know wonderful people and to practice my knowledge of French.
We pulled this project off with hard work and enthusiasm, but we couldn’t have made it without the fantastic contribution and involvement of our teacher.”
Esteban Espinilla Hernández
“This project turned out to be a magnificent thing for all of us. Spanish and French students learnt from each other; we got to know ourselves better and slowly realized all the things that we could achieve. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without all of the hard work and dedication shown by the students and above all by the teachers. It’s an experience that I would definitely do again.”
TwinSpace link: http://twinspace.etwinning.net/2869/home
Website link: http://projetetwinning.wix.com/mille-et-une-pistes
Exchange blog link: http://milleetunepistes.blogspot.fr/
Link to the Colegio Voltaire school website: http://clg-voltaire-saint-florent-sur-cher.tice.ac-orleans-tours.fr/eva/spip.php?rubrique275
Link to the IES Ítaca school website: http://www.iesitaca.org/imagenes/noticias/intercambioconelliceofrancesvoltairedesaintflorent