Meetings in Santa Severina

From 4 to 6 July 2012, within the lifelong learning policy of the Grundtvig program, it took place the second professional meeting attended by the delegations of Ireland (Dublin School of English), Spain (Centro de Cualificación Turística de Murcia) and Italy (Comune di Santa Severina). This time the appointment was in Santa Severina (Italy). During the trip, thanks to this wonderful village’s hosts, different cultural visits were organised so as to make all the participants get to know the place. In the same way, there were several meetings to talk about the activities to carry out in the second half of 2012, and also about future options to develop once the current project is finished.

 With reference to the activities that can be carried out in the second half of this year, there was an agreement about the following ones:

Ireland suggests uploading various kinds of materials to Sonett blog in a way that the later can be a constant source of information for those visiting it. They confirm to have some of these materials ready.

As for the Spanish delegation, we launch the idea of a future exchange of students who come to CCT (Murcia) not only to learn the language, but also to get training on a job in the tourist sector (internship). Besides, an exchange of teachers among the participant institutions (DSE, Laleo and CCT) is also regarded as advisable and desirable. On this last point our Irish partners claim to have some difficulties, provided that their teachers are usually busy all year long, but find the idea positive and as something that could be arranged somehow in the end. 

Nevertheless, as an essential requirement – previous to these possible cultural exchanges – all the participants think that they must work firmly in all the aspects related to ICT within their reach. Apart from Sonett blog, which was created during the first meeting at the beginning of the year, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Flicker must be used as well. The Irish representatives have already incorporated them in their teaching methods and confirm they are essential in the development of the project. Some other social networks are also mentioned, as it is the case of LinkedIn and Pinterest.

The proposal would be as follows: Students in the different organizations (DSE, Laleo and CCT), build or generate their own materials. These will be uploaded to the blog later. But how should this be done? They actually think we all should propose our students that they record videos in their schools so as to use them as a lure for other international students. Such videos could be shared in social networks and also in Sonett blog. That would be just the first step to attract people and encourage them to take part of the project, and all these materials would be the base of the lessons to be used in the different teaching processes of the three participant institutions. It is vital the previous existence of a coherent structure that helps the upcoming material follow a logical order.

Second semester 2012 – Timing of activities.

From 7 to 20 July – Uploading of pictures and posts of the trip to Santa Severina to Sonett blog. This task must be carried out by CCT.

From 20 to 30 July – Second upload of materials related to the trip. Every contribution must be simultaneously shared in different social media so as to give them a greater

When DSE partners are back to work, they will ask their students to start creating some materials. They will be doing so until the end of September.

Santa Severina undertakes to record videos of students telling their own experiences related to tourism, to any sort of learning process they’ve been involved in, etc. Once these videos are ready, they will share them in the blog and other social media from September onward.

By the 3rd week of October (approx.) the three partner institutions will check the march of the project and will definitely fix the dates for the next meeting in Ireland, which should be by mid-January 2013.

 With reference to possible activities to develop once the current project is finished (from the second half of 2013 onward), some different proposals are discussed in Santa Severina:

The Italian delegation suggests using Moodle as a common working tool, in a way that it exists an e-learning platform for all the participants. CCT already uses Moodle so they know how it works – its advantages and disadvantages – and consider that this may not be the most suitable means to reach a lifelong and flexible learning intended in the project. This sort of platform needs a permanent administrator, who controls, authorizes and updates contents, and the student is not completely free to manage through such platform, since most of the time they will need an instructor’s supervision enabling them to use certain apps. This does not mean that the results obtained in courses based on Moddle system are negative, but maybe the costs of creation, maintenance and monitoring of this platform are a bit too high.

The Irish delegation, along the lines of the activities to carry out in the second semester 2012, considers that our efforts should continue focusing on social networks and social media. This would allow students and participants as a whole to interact and learn in a freer way. They still defend their idea of letting students to generate materials freely and share them in these social networks. After that it would come the creation of didactic contents and their use, but with a coherent structure established from the very beginning of the process.

The proposal of the DSE is agreed and accepted by all the participants. However, given that English should be the “lingua franca”, both the creation of materials and their former structured use in any learning process, are limited, that is, the target audience will be those people with at least an elementary level of English. Those people who have a very low level of English might not be capable of taking part in this project because they can’t either generate materials or have access to them in a comprehensible way.

CCT emphasizes their former proposal: cultural exchange of students and teachers. These trips seem to be viable as long as the project works at an online level, which is one of the main aims of the current project.

The highlight of the meetings kept in Santa Severina is the reinforcement of all the three participants’ commitment to develop Sonett blog with high quality contents about culture, gastronomy, tourism, etc., as well as with a series of activities which strengthen the lifelong learning of students and teachers from the associated schools. Cultural exchange, thus, is not only one of the aims of this project, but also a means to get the longed-for learning.

Laura Martínez Moya

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