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From eTwinning to EPALE: How to Stay Connected During Covid-19
The Covid-19 crisis has brought unprecedented challenges for all, including those working in the youth, education and training fields. People and organisations are moving activities online, and grappling with new realities like e-learning, online training and digital youth work. And while it may seem overwhelming, making the most of digital opportunities is vital right now!
In Léargas, we recognise the challenges in operating European projects at a time when physically bringing staff, learners and young people together is impossible. However, there are ways to remain connected and continue learning and working during the current pandemic.
We will share some of the national programmes and digital opportunities which exist as part of the European programmes that we manage across the fields of youth, education and training. We hope that these opportunities will keep you motivated and inspired to stay connected at this difficult time.
National Programmes and Digital Opportunities
Youth: Erasmus+ Youth Participation Activities
Erasmus+ Youth Participation Activities are projects where young people come together with policy and decision makers, and get involved in the decision making and policy processes that affect their lives. Unlike other Erasmus+ projects, these projects can take place completely in Ireland. You can work with an international partner, but it’s not a requirement of this activity.
The Central Remedial Clinic used Erasmus+ funding for their project ‘The Rights to Decide - Making Equality Our Policy’. It connected young people with decision makers and helped them advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. One of the young people involved in the project, Conor Dillon, recently wrote on our blog that “it is obvious that the aim and objective of the project is being met, as I am now getting more confident in contacting relevant stakeholders.”
* In the new Erasmus+ programme you can carry out similar activities under Erasmus+ Youth Participation Activities.
European Solidarity Corps
The European Solidarity Corps provides opportunities for young people aged 18 to 30 to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad, which benefit communities and people across Europe. ‘In-Country’ opportunities are available for young people to volunteer, train, or work in their own country. These opportunities encourage and facilitate the participation of young people with fewer opportunities.
Young people themselves can also initiate, develop and carry out a ‘Solidarity Project’ in their own community. The project can last from two to 12 months. A minimum of five people must get involved, and commit themselves to affecting positive change in their community.
Dasha Lavrinienko is a drama facilitator with Kildare Youth Theatre, and set up a Solidarity Project called ‘The Room: Community Drama’ to bring asylum seekers and local young people together. The project ran for eight months and received nearly €6,000 European Solidarity Corps funding.
Visit our European Solidarity Corps section to find out more.
School Education: eTwinning
eTwinning is a free online platform that links a community of more than 500,000 teachers across Europe. It supports primary and post-primary schools in finding partners and working on joint projects in any curricular area, using Information and Communication Technology.
Teachers can register on www.etwinning.net to create a profile, search for partners, browse ongoing and completed projects, or develop project ideas. Once you have found a partner and agreed a project plan, you can register your project and access a specially created ‘Twinspace’. This is a private and secure online workspace that you and your partner(s) administer. Students can be invited to join as members.
Recently, eTwinning in Ireland have developed the ‘In This Together’ project for Irish teachers. The projects can be used as a repository of distance learning material for teachers and/or as a collaborative space to share ideas with other Irish educators. Like all projects on eTwinning, the 'Twinspaces’ are secure spaces with in-built Adobe Connect, discussion threads and project materials. The positive interaction in the projects and the feedback from teachers has been wonderful to see.
You can take a peek at the homepages of the Primary project and Post-primary project, but only members of the projects can access the full Twinspace. If you are interested in joining the ‘In This Together’ projects, or would like further information, please email our eTwinning co-ordinator Caoimhe.
Adult Education/Vocational Education and Training: EPALE
EPALE is a great platform for adult educators to connect, collaborate and innovate. It’s entirely online, so offers those in the adult and vocational education sectors many opportunities for learning and teaching while social distancing!
The EPALE website has information on upcoming events, resources, and innovative blogs from EPALE-users. By joining the EPALE family, organisations and individuals can engage with other adult educators and avail of the many web-based opportunities.
Join EPALE and get connected with fellow educators across Europe today.
Find Out More
We welcome contributions to ‘Insights’ at firstname.lastname@example.org.