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How to find an eTwinning Project Partner in 5 Steps

We want you to find the most suitable partner for you, your pupils and your school. Here are 5 steps to guide you through the partner finding process and kick start your eTwinning journey!

1. Update and refresh your profile 2. Who would you like to find? – Becoming aware of your own expectations 3. Looking for a project partner A _ Find eTwinners: use the search functions B_ The Forums 4. Getting in Contact – starting your project 5. Online and offline: eTwinning events

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1 Update and refresh your profile Before you search make sure that you are showing as available to start a project on your profile page. This will encourage other eTwinners to contact you. To do this: Log-on the eTwinning desktop http://desktop.etwinning.net/ → Click ‘Profile’ tab → Look at ‘My eTwinning Life’ on the right hand side → Make sure you click yes in response to ‘I am ready for an eTwinning project’.

Make sure your own profile page is kept up to date: → Upload a picture To do this: → click on ‘edit profile’ which is circled below → go to ‘photo gallery’ and upload your picture

Why do I need a photo in my profile? What kind of picture should that be? You are not obliged to have a photo in your profile. But it’s clear that a profile with a picture is much more attractive for possible project partners. However, this does not mean you have to choose a picture of yourself, if you don’t feel comfortable with this option. How about a photo of a landmark in your town? Or you could just take a photo where you are not recognisable.

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→“About me” and “My Journal”: tell people something about yourself!

About me: What should I write, what doesn’t belong here? What would you like to know about a possible project partner? Try to write a short, interesting text about yourself, your professional interests, your school, your experience and your ideas for eTwinning projects. It is crucial that you always write in the language in which you want to do the project. For example, if you write in French, you can attract a partner who would like to also communicate in French. English is the most common language on eTwinning. You can find more on choosing the right language later, at point 4. Getting in Contact.

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2 Who would you like to find? – Becoming aware of your own expectations Put some thought into your project idea. Projects should always support and enhance the curriculum work you are doing in the classroom – eTwinning projects are NOT about creating a lot of extra work for you and your pupils! Let us know if we can help you at this stage. Here are some questions you could ask yourself to become aware of your own expectations:     

What kind of partner school should it be? What age should the pupils in the partner class have? Project language? Subjects the project should be implemented in Concrete ideas and suggestions for the project Tools I’d like to use What is of special importance for an eTwinning partnership?

Having a well thought through and communicated project idea will also encourage teachers with similar ideas to get in touch with you. Give your project a catchy and clear name - e.g.

 Geography/History/French project.  How did we get here? Stories of Migration – Age 15-17 in French/English

http://www.etwinning.net/en/pub/collaborate/kits.htm

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3 Looking for a partner A _ Find eTwinners: use the search functions To do this: Log-on the eTwinning desktop http://desktop.etwinning.net/ → Click ‘Find eTwinners’ tab. You will see two types of search options; a quick search and a category drop down search option.

If you know the name or school name of the teacher you wish to contact then you can use the quick search. If you wish to search by a particular category then simply select from the drop down menu. You may need to try a few different search options to either narrow down the results or widen your scope. How do I use the category search? One way to get a reasonably long list with results is to think about which categories are most important to you: do you need your partner to come from a certain country or are you already sure in which subject or language your project should be done? Another good starting point is the age range of the pupils.

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When you click SEARCH; the next page you will see displays a list of potential partners that match your search.

You can now click on the teachers’ name or school (the blue text). This will take you to their profile page where you will be able to read more information about them and their school. Bear in mind that users aren’t necessarily active – you can check to see when they last logged in under their ‘My eTwinning Life’. You can leave a message on their ‘My Journal’ space, send them an eTwinning message or send a contact request – see step 4. Getting in Contact.

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B_ The Forums The Partner-Finding Forum is a great way to reach other European teachers that are using eTwinning right now. You can search the forum and create your own post. There are two forums, an ‘eTwinning Forum’ and a ‘Comenius Forum’ if you are looking for a Comenius partnership. To do this: Log-on the eTwinning desktop http://desktop.etwinning.net → Click ‘Find eTwinners’ tab → On the right hand side you will see ‘eTwinning Forums’ → Click on the appropriate age group. This will result in a chronological list of all projects for that age.

It’s possible to narrow the search further. To do this: Click ‘Search forum’ on the right hand side. The free type box is good for searching a particular topic, eg. ‘Olympics’ or if you are searching for a specific project, put the name in here. You can also use any of the drop down boxes.

You can click on the blue text which will show you the teacher’s full post and the replies. You can reply to the post and also click on their name which will then display their profile page!

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You’d like to create your own partner-finding message? To do this: Select the appropriate forum for you and click on CREATE MESSAGE which will open a blank message box for you to fill in. What does an interesting and appealing partner finding message contain? The message should be short and contain the most important information on your project idea. At least you should indicate the age of your students and the subject(s) and language(s) you’d like to include in the project. Additional information could be: tools you’d like to work with, aims you’d like to achieve and some words on your experience in eTwinning. Look at the posts with the most replies and you will get an idea of what makes a good partner-finding message.

Subject: Enter as many subjects as are relevant to your search, by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on all the relevant ones. Tags: Choose the key words from your post, and add these as tags so that when other people search there is a chance your post will come up. Eg. Primary, Olympics, French. You can reply to your own post if you want to add more information, this will also ‘push’ your post to the top of the list again. To keep track of the replies to your post you can check the “Your messages”-box in your desktop. Click on the ‘Find eTwinners’ tab, the box is on the right hand side above the forums.

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4 Getting in contact – starting your project When you start to receive messages from other teachers concerning your project ideas, you should always try to answer them promptly. - Be polite: Let them know whether you’re interested – including when you’re not! - Be patient: After 10 days if you still have no messages, resubmit your post on the forum taking the opportunity to re-word, and review your profile again. Getting in contact with other teachers to talk about your project ideas is easy on the eTwinning platform, but it’s important to use the tools according to their purpose. Journal The journal is part of every eTwinning profile. eTwinners can subscribe to the journal posts of their contacts. You can use your own journal to publish information: news on your projects, interesting links, etc. – and you can post something in the journal of other eTwinners. If you want to approach possible project partners, you shouldn’t write your whole project idea into their journal. Say hello and ask if they’re interested into starting a new project, and if they are, send them your project idea as a private message. Private message You can send private messages to other eTwinners. Describe your project ideas and explain why you think they might be suitable partners – keep your message short, but personal. Don’t send the same impersonal message with your project idea to many teachers. This kind of mass mailing is considered SPAM.

Once you have found someone you’d like to work with, you should take your time to talk about your ideas. Think back to the answers you gave yourself to the questions in step 2 and figure out if the teacher you are in contact with matches your expectations. Talk about your objectives, your timetables and holidays, the technologies you can access, the time commitment you can offer and of course your project plan.

Which language should we use in our project? When looking for an eTwinning project partner, language is an important issue. You should think about it beforehand: what language(s) do you want to use in your project? Is the level your pupils have achieved in the chosen language high enough – so they won’t be frustrated because they cannot communicate with their partners? Most eTwinning projects are implemented in English, but you can use any other language. It is important to ask your partner about the fluency of his/her pupils in the chosen language, the classes should have more or less the same language skills.

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Once you have found a suitable partner and you wish to create a project you will need to add this teacher to your contact area first. To do this: Use the search in the ‘Find eTwinners’ tab (as shown in step 3) you can simply click on the icon with the green plus sign. This will send a contact request to this person that they must click on to accept.

You can also do this from their profile page: let’s look at the teacher above, Niels Askholm. Click on his name, circled above, to go directly to his profile page. As you see below you can also click on the green plus icon and you can also send him an eTwinning message which will be displayed in his inbox.

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5 Online and offline: eTwinning events Through-out the year there are eTwinning events taking place online and offline – you can participate in a contact seminar or a professional development workshop to pair up with another teacher. Or take part in an online learning event. They give you the opportunity to meet teachers from all over Europe and work together on a topic. The events are led by experts and include active work as well as discussion.

To do this: Contact your NSS if you’d like to participate in a contact seminar or a professional development workshop. They are often announced in the News section of your eTwinning desktop, so keep an eye on it! The application to online learning events is open to all registered eTwinning teachers. You can find information on the upcoming events on your eTwinning desktop.

http://www.etwinning.net/en/pub/get_support/contact.htm 11

How to find an eTwinning Project Partner in 5 Steps_2012  
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