The TwinSpace is a collaborative workspace which is automatically created for all eTwinning projects. It allows communication between partners and students, allows them to work together and share their resources and their findings. As from September 2009, all eTwinning projects have a newer version of the TwinSpace. These introductory notes will help you navigate easily through your new workspace. Over the course of the project, pupils and teachers can be involved in a great number of activities throughout the TwinSpace. They can work independently or as a group, depending on the activities set up by the administrators of the TwinSpace. The TwinSpace allows a high level of interaction both for the teachers, who can meet in private in the Staffroom and for the Pupils who can familiarise with their peers in the Pupils Corner. In the Activities section mixed group of pupils and teachers of different nationalities can work together developing a Wiki on any chosen topic relevant for the school curriculum. They can discuss together in a forum, they can make comments to entries posted in a Blog: the only limitation could be not seeing the enormous potential for collaboration that this system allows. To log onto your new TwinSpace, go to http://www.etwinning.net, and log onto your eTwinning Desktop. Once your profile loads up, click on the My Projects tab to access your project and your TwinSpace. Click on the TwinSpace button and your login screen should load. Click on Login and your new TwinSpace should load.
eTwinning National Support Serviceâ€”TwinSpace Guidelines
As soon as your TwinSpace loads, it will look something like this:
The first thing to note when you log onto your TwinSpace is the Project Title on the Title Bar, with the eTwinning logo at the top right hand side of the screen. It is important to note that every different eTwinning project should have its own TwinSpace. If by mistake you have clicked on the wrong TwinSpace project button, you do not need to go back and start over. Simply click on your name, at the top right hand side of the screen, and scroll down until you find the TwinSpace you want. You will notice that all your TwinSpaces are accessible from here. When you open your TwinSpace, you will notice that it is divided into several different sections, which facilitates ease of use. On the left hand side of the screen you will notice a tab called Activities. This will be bare when you log onto your TwinSpace for the first time; however it will soon fill up with your projects’ activities. Right in the middle there will be your projects’ Latest Actions, which once again, will start filling up with time. On the left hand side of the screen, you will then see a list of all the members of the TwinSpace: Teachers, Pupils and Visitors. The founders of the Project will be Teacher Administrators and can invite other teachers, pupils or visitors. The latter will be able to view the TwinSpace, but not edit it in any way. Further down the screen, you will also notice your TwinSpace’s Mailbox (Internal Mail) and the Calendar to note down any important events. eTwinning National Support Service—TwinSpace Guidelines
Inviting Members Your TwinSpace is a collaborative space, where teachers and pupils collaborate together on a project. You will be able to invite teaches and pupils from the TwinSpace homepage, by clicking on Invite Teachers and Visitors or Invite Pupils. Teachers will receive an invitation in their personal email inbox, whilst pupils do not need to have an email address: the system will immediately generate the login name and password which will be displayed on the screen. Take note of those logins and passwords and give them to your students. (The system will automatically generate those logins and passwords: however if you want to make those easier for your students, you can change them at this stage. Your students will be able to access the project’s TwinSpace by going directly to the TwinSpace’s URL: http://new-twinspace.etwinning.net. It is important to invite pupils to the TwinSpace because it gives them a sense of ownership of the design and progress of the project. However there is no need to have All the pupils as Pupil Administrators, especially in the case of large groups or very young students. Discuss pupil roles with your project partner. Remember that Pupil Members can participate in Pupil’s Corner, reply to Forum Posts and participate in Chat; whilst Pupil Administrators can do the above plus create Activities and post files and photos.
Developing Your Project Activities The Project Activities is where you and your project partners develop your project. The structure of your project will have to be defined between all members of the TwinSpace. Lack of co-ordination will result in a collection of uncoordinated pages not linked to the overall design. The Project Activities will be different in each TwinSpace because they will reflect the pedagogical objectives and structure of each individual project. Pages can be created and named according to different project compontents or according to the taxonomy of the main topic of the Project. For example, a project about “The Weather” may have activity pages on Summer, Winter, Spring and so on. eTwinning National Support Service—TwinSpace Guidelines
Other examples of activities could be: • • • •
TwinSpace familiarisation activities between teachers and pupils; Online Socialisation between the different members; Informal exchange of information; Knowledge construction. To set up a new page, click on the Project Activities in the top bar and then on Manage Pages Tab (this is valid only if you are an Administrator of the TwinSpace).
The system will ask for the name of the new page: so you will have to write the name in the box provided and then click on the button Add. Once the page is created, you can then customise it by choosing the application(s) you will need for that particular activity. Each page can hold a number of applications; some for content management, some for collaboration. Click on the page you have just created from the Activities menu, and then on the black drop down menu at the top right hand side of the screen (the one bearing your welcome message). Scroll down and click on Add Applications. Collaboration applications include: Blogs, Forum or Wikis; while the Content Management applications are for File Archives, Image Galleries and Web Content Display. Each page can be uniquely constructed according to what the partners had previously planned. Simply choose the application required and drag it onto the page. The order of the applications can also be changed and moved around the page as required. If an application has been erroneously inserted, simply click on the close ‘X’ button at the top right hand corner of each individual application. Different applications will allow the partners to do different things on their TwinSpace. As a general rule, each page can only hold one type of application: for example, one Blog, one Wiki, etc. The only exception is for the case of Web Content Display. Although each page can hold each and every one of the applications, it is suggested that you plan the activities ahead—i.e. Do not insert an application unless it is really needed or was planned. Less is more ! eTwinning National Support Service—TwinSpace Guidelines
Applications Overview Blog: Used for posting messages and comments. One can post both text only Blogs, insert pictures or web-content widgets (such as YouTube videos). To insert a picture, click on the Insert Picture icon > Browse Server > Upload. (The system will also allow you to create a dedicated image file folder at this stage). Before publishing, remember to adjust the picture’s size (in pixels). To insert a video which has been previously uploaded on YouTube or TeacherTube, click on the Source tab and copy and paste the object’s embed code. The latter method also applies for other content uploaded online, such as PPT’s uploaded on SlideShare.com.
Wiki: Wikis are similar to Blogs, in the sense that are used for posting messages and comments, however they have the added feature of having multiple pages. The home page of a Wiki is called Front Page. To add a new Wiki page click on All Pages > Add Page. By default Wiki editing will load in Creole mode. To switch to a more familiar editing mode, click on the editing tab (where the word Creole is shown) and switch to HTML mode: you will be able to edit in much the same way as you edit a Blog.
Forum: Forums allow the users to start off a discussion and post messages and replies. Different members of the TwinSpace will be able to post and see each others’ replies. They encourage communication and sharing of ideas between members. Create a Category first; then, you will be able to add Sub-Categories and post Threads.
eTwinning National Support Service—TwinSpace Guidelines
Image Gallery: Allows uploading of pictures on the TwinSpace. Start by clicking on Add Folder and create as many folders as needed. Then click on the newly created folder, and Add Image > Browse to add images or Add Subfolder to add a subfolder. Images can also be tagged for easy reference. After uploading multiple photos, you can also click on View Slideshow. Picture files must not exceed 10MB.
File Archives: Used to upload multiple files, such as Presentations, Documents, PDFâ€™s, etc. Create a folder first by clicking on Add Folder > Browse to add files. Documents and files must not exceed the 2MB.
Web Content Display: The only one of all the applications of which you might have more than one of on each Activity Page. Click on Add Web Content , and then on Source and copy and paste the EMBED code. To edit web content, click on the Edit .
eTwinning National Support Serviceâ€”TwinSpace Guidelines
Dedicated Activities: Staff Room and Pupil’s Corner The new TwinSpace has specific, dedicated Activities for Teachers and for Pupils. These are the Staff Room for the teachers and the Pupil’s Corner for the students. The students cannot access the teachers’ Staff Room and the teachers only have a visitor’s access to the Pupil’s Corner; however teachers can moderate the latter. Staff Room This is an area designed for teachers only. Not only pupils cannot access it but it doesn’t even appear on their menu. It may contain for example, guidelines for teachers and a teacher’s forum for their private discussions which do not necessarily involve pupils. The Staff Room is the ideal place for teachers to work to work together, to plan, discuss progress and keep track of events before and during the project. They can have exchanges relating to the planning of their project, they can reflect together on different pedagogical approaches, evaluate the development of the project, and so on.
Pupil’s Corner The Pupils Corner is the dedicated area of the TwinSpace for “pupils only”. It is intended as the area where the pupils themselves pose questions to each other, share information and develop friendships - perhaps outside of the project work plan. It will be important to encourage your pupils to use this space particularly at the beginning of the project: in this way they will get to know each other and they will familiarise themselves with the tools available in the TwinSpace. Teachers can of course enter the corner, but only with viewing rights. Thus, it remains an area for the pupils, by the pupils. Teacher Administrators can moderate the area. The tools available are the same as those in the Project Activities section. eTwinning National Support Service—TwinSpace Guidelines
Final Thoughts… If you run an eTwinning project, that means you are someone who wants to provide his or her pupils with the best chances of succeeding by offering them the possibility to exchange, to share, to cooperate and to broaden their horizons. By running this type of project you are making a specific contribution to improving the quality of teaching. Maybe you are not aware of it, but the practices you carry out in your projects, whether they are simple or complex, are teaching treasures and techniques that deserve to be shared and should be made known to and recognised by the whole of the European educational community. Enter a network-based work dynamic that changes everyone’s day-to-day professional life which mutually enriches know-how and provides invaluable assistance to teachers who are new to the field!
eTwinning National Support Service—TwinSpace Guidelines