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DISTANCE LEARNING/The first anniversary of the pandemic spreading

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The current state of affairs, marked by COVID, has deeply affected our lives and brought about changes overnight that we would not think of not so long ago. On the first anniversary of the pandemic spreading all over Europe we decided to check how it had affected education, with distance learning being a sudden reality even for months.

Our partners in Greece made survey (online) which was answered by 14 students and two teachers. We attach it at the end of this interview for its interest. At the same time, a whole class of 16-year-old students in Spain also talked about the same issue.

The Greek survey started asking if distance learning is effective, and what its effects might be. Most people there answered it is not efffective, but some remarked it could be useful as a complement. We asked people in other countries.

Mr Hartman, English teacher in Poland considers « there are not many positive aspects of online learning » , an opinion shared by colleagues in Spain. « I could see from the very beginning that certain contents would not get to the students effectively, so I turned to face-to-face videoconferences almost every day, as there was some interaction and feedback from the students « , says Enrique Caballero, English teacher in Spain. His students agreed that distance learning is not effective. Adrian (16) remarked that « it’s only effective in the most practical aspects ».

One participant in the Greek survey summarises the point  « No, it isn’t affective on it’s own virtue. Combined with physical learning can help especially during difficult times like this one. It is just a means of keeping in touch with education and supports is psychologically ». The little interaction is felt as a big problem.

The second and third aspects in the survey were the advantages and disadvantages of distance learning. Participants in the Greek survey highlight the already mentioned lack of interaction or communication, and other difficulties and consequences broought about by technical issues.

Anthony (15) from Romania starts: « I don’t like to study online because it’s harder to understand » and continues « sometimes teachers can’t be heard or the quality of the video camera is unclear, other times my internet doesn’t work anymore ».        David (16), also from Romania adds: « PersonalLy,  I don’t like “studying” online because it’s harder to have a student-teacher communication than going to school in person. One difficulty that I have is lag or hearing problems. Technical difficulties are hard to deal with and the requirements are expensive(…) ». Their colleague Daniel ( 17) saw both sides : « Yes and no. I like to study online just because I’m at home and I have the chance to sleep more (I’m in campus at school) ». Though he concludes :  « Otherwise, compared to the physical classes at school, I don’t learn too much ».

Since participants were asked to reflect on positive aspects, most focus on the convenient side : being at home, waking up later, not walking to school. Mario (16) from Spain adds « there is not so much pressure with exams ». However, he also concludes « there are fewer parctical lessons and you don’t have contact with your friends ». His classmate Alberto (16) concludes « you learn very little ». So again, lack of effectiveness and interaction are major drawbacks. One participant in the Greek survey even mentions « loneliness ».

It comes as a result that the question is if distance learning is better. Elena (teacher in Italy) states « I prefer teaching at school because students tend to interact more. They also have no distractions thus they can learn more easily », and her student Aurora says « I prefer going to school because I can concentrate more than when I’m learning online ».

Their opinions are widely shared by students and teachers in the rest of the countries. Mario (16, Spain) says « on average it is not better, and being together is more motivating », a fact that was shared by all Spanish students. Jorge (16) concludes : « we need to socialise ».

Mr Hartman (Poland) adds : « it seems to me that our students don’t want to  study this way » and refers to an aspect to bear in mind : « Many students abuse it (technical issues) and they cheat while writing a test ». He draws a good conclusion : « nothing can replace a teacher at school » (…) « we may draw a conclusion that  working at school with students with the use of a computer and an interactive whiteboard is a crucial element in achieving a success ».

The Geek survey added yet another question: Which suggestions would you make in order to improve distance learning? And that seems a difficult one. Most participants refferred to technical issues or said nothing. « In general » reflects Mr Caballero from Spain « I think it worked pretty well. We had to adapt overnight, we could only organise ourselves already from our homes. In my case contact with my students worked and the videoconferences worked as good as they could » though he agrees with Mr Hartman from Poland : « I really miss my students in my classroom because I need their interaction, the expression of their faces, which helps me to evaluate the progress they make with the new material and the pace of the lesson I run. All of us are social beings and we need a real contact in a real world with the second person. So far such a contact is the best method to educate, and bring up our students and nothing will ever replace it. »

Nato nel 1984 quando il passato era troppo lontano e il futuro ancora stentava ad arrivare. Cresciuto nell'epoca sbagliata, alla ricerca di un posto giusto

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SHARING POLAND

ERASMUS WŁOCHY/Zacznijmy jeszcze raz!

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Relacja z realizacji projektu Erasmus + “eUropean Fellowship for Digital Citizenship”

Po półtorarocznej realizacji projektu za pomocą narzędzi zdalnych, w dniach 17-23 marca 2022 delegacja uczniów I Liceum Ogólnokształcącego wyruszyła na od dawna wyczekiwane spotkanie miedzynarodowe we włoskim Rapallo, gdzie razem z uczniami z Grecji, Rumunii, Hiszpanii, Włoch i Turcji (online) uczestniczyła w warsztatach dziennikarskich związanych z publikowaniem treści w internecie, dotyczącymi takich zagadnień, jak dobór treści, redagowanie, tworzenie marki, stosowanie grafik i infografik, czy wreszcie tworzenie bloga.

Oczywiście, nie zabrakło też czasu na zwiedzanie malowniczego Rapallo i pobliskiego Portofino, a nawet skosztowanie prawdziwej, włoskiej pizzy. Z żalem opuszczaliśmy ciepłe Rapallo, ale osłodą była świadomość, że już w maju widzimy się w greckiej Edessie!

Pełna fotorelacja: https://1lo-sulecin.edupage.org/news/

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ERASMUS+ GREECE/Expectations Vs Reality

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The journey

The leaving was set for 2 a.m. in Rapallo; It was finally time to start this whole new chapter of our project and we were happier than ever. We set off really early, so we tried to sleep a bit both on the bus and the plane, but we hardly managed as the excitement and anticipation have been building up for weeks.

Firstly, we arrived at the airport of Bergamo Orio Al Serio, and we had breakfast there. Then we landed at Thessaloniki and started our trip by bus. It took us some time to realize that we actually landed in Greece: it was surreal.

 

Expectations

Indeed we had very high expectations for this trip,  as we have been constantly talking to the Greek guys we hosted here in Italy for weeks at that time. Looking forward to meeting our friends once again was the predominant feeling, we missed them lots; But also, getting to know new people and seeing the place we had been hearing of for a long time, Edessa.

As we started leaving the big city and getting in the rural area we noticed the first the differences in the landscape and the buildings. Everything we saw was very green, the houses small and every writing in Greek. In the beginning it was fun to try and read the sign with the correct pronunciation, but soon we realized that modern Greek was very different than Ancient Greek, that we study at school. Just like we expected. We also pictured the typical greek architecture sites and historical patrimony that we are used to study on books, and it was all there.

Reality

When we first arrived, screams and shouts. We warmly hugged our Greek friends, who greeted us kindly, and started to realize just how different our cultures were.

The place had barely any signal, different climate and different colours, but getting to know all of this was a beautiful experience.
All of the streets were clean of any rubbish, covered in stray cats and dogs, and it was very safe. Some locals told us it had been about 6 years since the last theft, which is impressive.

It’s time to come back

We made the most out of this project, lived every minute of this amazing opportunity. Indeed, when it was time to get back home, we were all sad. Romanians, Greeks, Armenians, Spanish, Polish and Italians: we were all crying. It has been  an incredible experience, we met new people and built new friendships, we were able to get to know new cultures, not only the Greek one but all the other countries’ too. Exchanging knowledge, habits, opinions…our points of view were widened by all of this.

On the way back to Rapallo we realized just how much this project gave us and that now we could count on a friend on the other side of the world.

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ERASMUS+

ERASMUS+ GREECE/Day 4

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One last day

For the last day before leaving, May 7th, we had the whole day for ourselves. First of all, we took some rest from the rush of adrenaline of the last days and decided to spend the last moments of our trip together. So we agreed to meet at 11 a.m. for breakfast in a really nice bar in the center of Edessa, where we ate some delicious pancakes. Afterwards, we walked to the waterfalls for the last visit in the place and we also admired a typical flower exhibition. There, we bought some presents for our kind host families and some souvenirs to take to Italy.  At 3 p.m. we returned home, we had lunch with our hosts and at 6 p.m. off we went.

The fare well party

The destination was the school’s fare well party, with all the Greek parents and the major of Edessa himself. Professors from each country made their speech and us pupils presented the slides of the presentation we’ve been working on for the past days. Everyone looked enthusiastic about our project and we couldn’t be more happy about that, but we soon realized that it was almost over. The friends that we bonded with the next day would be gone, back to their hometowns. But we erased this feeling, reserving it for the morning after, to spend a nice night together. We ate typical Greek food that every family brought on their own and, with international songs and the beautiful friendships we built, we had one last dance.

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