General Hints


 
 

 

Technology

1. Before you start, make sure that your students have sufficient time in the computer lab to write their letters. If you have just one access to the Internet, let the students write their letters on diskettes and send the messages from there.

2. It is not necessary that every pupil has Internet-access. Most teachers collect all letters their pupils have written, and send the complete package of letters to their colleague. Upon receiving, the colleague abroad distributes the letters among his/her pupils. This can be done in print or by copying the file to the class' area on the school's intranet.

3. If you use this procedure, then teach the students to organize their work by naming their file in a specific way like: the student's initials, which number the letter it is, and the name of the school.
If it was Martin Smith at St John's Secondary School, that had written his first letter, the file could be named: ms _ letter1_ St Johns. When the student saves the next letter he writes, he just needs to exchange letter1 with letter2. In this way it is easy for both the senders and receivers to keep track of the correspondence.

4. If you are not too confident in using the technology, hopefully you have a colleague that may assist you - or at some schools an ICT adviser that is available.

5. It may be useful to inform each other about the ICT equipment situation at the school. Is it possible to retrieve images from the net? Does the partner have access to a scanner or a digital camera?

6. It is important to have the postal address, telephone and fax numbers of the partner school. E-mail can go wrong and it is essential that you can reach your colleague in some other way.

Collaboration between the teachers

7. Try to establish a good working relation with your colleague by writing regularly. You will discover that it is great fun to have this personal contact and an extra motivation for involving and supporting your students in their work.

8. You and your colleague must agree upon the schedule for sending letters. An overview of holidays, exams etc. is extremely important.

9. Try to establish dates on which you will exchange letters. Beware of not drawing up too tight a schedule. There will always be unforeseen events during the school year. It may be an idea to make a calendar for a whole school year. This can be a big help when planning other activities.

10. Confirm the reception of letters. Immediately after receiving letters, you should always send your colleague a short message to let him/her know whether or not letters have arrived in good order.

The Communication between the students

11. The 'Image of the Other is based on the idea of letting the students work in pairs in order to give everybody a chance to get a personal contact with peers from the very beginning of the project. If there are too many students in one class, then some students may collaborate with two students in the other class.

12. Make sure that everybody has someone to write with, it is a good idea to exchange lists of names of students and indicate against the names whether the name is for a boy or a girl. In some countries a name may be both a boy's and a girl's name. In some cases a little extra information between the teachers about the students may be useful.

13. Agree with your colleague who is doing the matching. Return the list with the matched groups, so both classes have them available.

14. Agree with your colleague the level of accuracy required, which level of grammatical and idiomatic accuracy do you wish to aim at?

15. If you receive a video or pictures, try to guide your pupils' reactions. Some may have built up an image of their partner which is not in accordance with reality. Defuse any awkward situation immediately.

Evaluation

It is vital to evaluate the project, both during and at the end, with your pupils and your colleague.

1.  Every time that letters of the pupils are sent, you and your colleague abroad keep each other informed of the development of the project by adding an electronic note.

2. You can always send messages separately in which the development of activities or problems is reported. Also appointments that were made earlier, e.g. on dates of transmission, are discussed and changed if necessary. Plans with regard to the topics of the letters or the sequence in which they are dealt with may be adjusted. Sometimes the pairing of pupils is not successful. An example is the extremely diligent pupil co-operating with a partner who writes very concise letters

3. An end-evaluation is advisable

4. Between pupils and teacher interim evaluations may prove to be worthwhile. Suggestions and ideas from the side of pupils can improve quality of the project.

Golden Rule No. 1 !!!

Electronic mail is a fantastic medium for communication. But you will have to keep in mind that e-mail need some rules for successful usage, especially in education.
This is why Golden Rule Number 1 within many teleproject is "ALWAYS ANSWER". Nothing is more serious than you not knowing what happened to your partner when there is complete silence or vice versa.

So please take care that you always inform your partner, by e-mail, by fax, or by phone, about the reasons of hopefully temporary electronic silence.

Good luck in the work to you and your students!!!

 

 


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