I animate, I communicate and I integrate
MEDEA 2009 Highly Commended
This entry consists of a double project with 2 project websites created in 2008 by the Free primary schools Meulebeke (Belgium) in relation to an eTwinning project.
For “I animate and I communicate” the twin @ni (a girl) and m@te (a boy) want to travel around the world and so they visit children’s classroom, school, city or country. Children from all over the world create animations to present their environment, culture and their way of life. They turn into @ni and m@te (two stick figures) and choose a view or scenery of the country or region where they live as the background of the animation. Photos of the activities illustrate how teachers and pupils from all over the world enjoyed this project.
The showcase video of I animate, I communicate and I integrate
For “I integrate” the project website is called “Make @ wiz” in which children dream about the future and try to build a better world step by step and 'stone by stone'. One team discovers a problem, makes a wish and the other team works out a solution. The children create animations showing their ideas and possible solutions to world problems after which they are shown on the website by the funny wizard 'Wizzy'. The topics range from protection of nature, environmental pollution, famine, children’s rights, racism, immigration to road safety.
What the judges said of this entry:
“A pedagogically sound approach; by breaking the process down into simple steps it has helped children get to grips with complex issues, including immigration, terrorism and domestic violence. It’s helping to raise awareness of global issues in ways the target age group can explore and, more importantly, explore solutions by using the friendly twins @ni and m@te. Its language independence is another great asset and bringing together teachers and students from Belgium, Israel, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Mongolia, Slovakia, USA, Poland, Romania, Estonia, Italy, England and Hungary, it is not only promoting cooperation and understanding across Europe, but is having a global impact as well.
Great inspiration for the very young learners that learn to express themselves and explore their own cultures and other cultures in a very easy and appealing manner. Animations are in general very entertaining tools, particularly appealing for the target students and the free software is properly used. A wonderful example of integrating ICT with other strands of the curriculum, at the same time helping to break down barriers across continents and promote understanding of other cultures.”
About the creation of I animate, I communicate and I integrate
Mr. Lieven Van Parys, teacher and ICT-co-ordinator at the Free primary schools Meulebeke (Belgium) talks more about the creation of these two websites: “The aim of this double project was to develop a new e-Learning and e-Teaching strategy: “I animate, I communicate and I integrate”. These projects and strategy are developed by the ICT-coordinator of the Free Primary Schools of Meulebeke in Belgium with the help of partners from Belgium, Israel, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Mongolia, Slovakia, USA, Poland, Romania, Estonia, Italy, England and Hungary. We believe this project facilitates the realization of the final objectives of environmental studies in an innovative way. It’s a new way of collaboration: ‘animate and communicate’.
Using animations, we try to develop anoriginal learning environment for young children: (step1) collaborate and communicate by means of animations (as a universal language) and (step 2) optimise the integration of ICT into the curriculum by solving together world problems with the help of our little wizard, the special ‘personality’ in our animations.
By means of computer animations, pupils from 6 to 12 years old can reveal their critical reflections on problems and difficulties they encounter in their living environment and further. The animations are made with a simple freeware 'animation' program (Pivot Stickfigure Animator): with the help of simple tools, even very young children are able to use ICT to express their own ideas in a creative way. We also used Skype, which is free, to discuss our results on line.
The project can be integrated in lessons throughout the whole school year and we also let our Japanese colleague work together with the Belgian pupils on the development of some animations with the aim was to initiate our pupils into some typical Japanese customs.”
The projects have had a very positive response from within Belgium but also from other countries; for example the project coordinator received a ‘Queen Paola Prize for Education’ (the most prestigious award for education in Belgium) for this approach of integration of ICT into the national curriculum and the projects' strategy received 2 eTwinning awards from the Ministry of Education of Flanders (Belgium) and a European quality label from the European Schoolnet.