The KONECT pilot projects go beyond ‘show-and-tell’ exchange programmes because they are based on the premise of Project Based Learning and require a joint end-product that is destined for an audience outside of the classroom, thus linking the classroom and the everyday world. Different draft versions of the projects will receive input from community leaders related to the negotiated topics.
The selected schools are centers that are representative of cultural diversity in the current Spanish society and the projects include students who face challenges in assimilating the basic competences required by the current curriculum, especially students at risk of becoming early school leavers and learners of linguistic minority communities. The topics of the projects deal with relevant aspects of the curriculum, and the main content of the projects were negotiated with the teachers that implement the projects. English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) was be used for communication between telecollaborative partners.
The projects serve as field sites for collecting data for analysis as well as for teacher education case studies. Both pilot projects have received national awards in their respective countries.
Brief outline of each pilot project
The Solidarity Project
CEIP St. Jordi (Mollet del Vallès).
Lead teacher: Maria Mont
2nd grade primary education (7-8 years old)
Duration of 6 months
Recipient of APAC John McDowell award 2017 (February 2018)
This transversal project aimed to introduce students to cognitively challenging issues while guiding them to a deeper understanding of empathy, responsible entrepreneurship and civic obligations. The students were carefully presented the difficult situation of Syrian refugees (through videos, expert chats and videoconferences with 3 children from Aleppo who were living at the time in camps in Greece). This was carried out during the English class. Parallel to this, the students were provided with a 3D printer (thus bringing in digital literacies) in the arts class. Students were guided through decision-making processes regarding products that would be useful to create with the 3D printer in order to create a money-raising campaign for the 3 Syrian families (resulting in 880 € in donations!). An unexpected outcome was being featured on the local TV news.
How to make a difference
IES Torre del Palau (Terrassa) & Furutorpskolan (Hässleholm)
Lead teachers: Alexandra Bonet Pueyo & Sara Bruun
2nd grade middle school (12-13 years old)
Duration of 2,5 months
The data were collected during an intercultural telecollaborative project between two middle schools in Sweden and in Spain. The project was designed as a series of telecollaborative activities and creative tasks in which the students worked together on the topic of the problem of Syrian refugees in Europe, mediated through the use of English as their lingua franca. The students in both groups were performing at lower-intermediate and intermediate level of proficiency of English. The project was planned in conjunction with two secondary teachers, a university teacher and a doctoral student, all of whom met face-to-face in October of 2015 to plan the project. This pilot project aimed to guide the students through a series of research and discussion activities to help them understand what it means to be a political refugee and to get a better understanding of the current European Union (EU) policies about relocating Syrian refugees. They also were expected to consider potential social actions that could be promoted locally, while working on communication skills in the target language (English). The final output was a blog aimed to raise public awareness of the situation of political refugees and suggestions about ways EU citizens could positively contribute to resolving some of the challenges faced by refugees and local administration. An unexpected outcome was the a national prize from the Swedish government for the blog.