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Showing posts from 2013

Twelve

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Looking back at 2013, I can say that never before has there been a year with so many ups and downs as this one.  There are both good and bad moments every year, but in 2013 the oscillations between the ups and downs were really huge. But now, at the end of the year, I'm going to leave behind all those disturbing, terrifying and utterly devastating moments, along with all those failures and disappointments and take stock of the good moments only, of achievements, of successes which will hopefully continue in 2014 as well.

1) Academically, it's been a terrific year - my husband got his Masters, my older son is just about to get his Bachelor's and will continue to pursue his Masters and my younger son enrolled at college. And I got a grant for a year-long ELA - eLearning Academy by CARNet, so this year I'm a student again - studying about e-learning and pedagogy, writing papers about it and getting grades for my work!

2) We travelled a lot - on stand by, of course. We st…

Eleven

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I've been tagged in a blogging meme by my dear friends Eva BuyuksimkesyanJanet Bianchini and Cristina Silva.

The task includes:
Acknowledge the nominating blogger.Share 11 random facts about yourself.Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.List 11 bloggers.Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.So here I go:
11 random facts about me
1. I'm a proud mom of two boys who are now at university, studying mechanical engineering and ICT.
2. My husband and I swim 2 kilometers every Sunday. We've been doing that  for 12 years now.
3.  I travel a lot, but always on stand-by, which means that we can travel only if there are free seats available on the plane. It can get really nerve-racking, but it's worth it.
4.  Until last year I thought  jogging was not my kind of sport. Now I simply adore it.
5.  I like reading and always have my Kindle…

ETWION - inspiring, powerful, irresistible

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I love Twitter, I always have, ever since I first started following Ashton Kutcher @aplusk, (yes, really!) in April 2009. Only a month later, my PLN began to take shape. That was also the time when the first educational Twitter chat took place.

4,5 years later, my PLN plays a very important role for my professional, but also personal development and Twitter chats are events I take part in whenever I can.  I have grown both professionally and personally over those 4,5 year, as Italian educator Alessandra Pallavicini aptly said:



Yesterday, I went even further than that -  I led the first eTwinning Twitter Marathon together with Bart Verswijvel, with whom I have already done lots of educational projects that have inspired a huge number of educators worldwide.



ETWION as we called it, brought together more than 150 educators from all over the world. It lasted for 5 hours non-stop, with Bart and me welcoming the audience, involving them in the conversations, making sure everything was runni…

Miracles do happen

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These days when the West Jet Christmas video is going viral, I've been thinking about the message it conveys - Miracles do happen if we all work as one. Yes, I know, it's a fairy tale, but still, I want to believe and I do believe that miracles really happen - if we join forces we can make things happen, do the unthinkable, make dreams come true!

Take my school for example. It's old, it desperately needs a complete makeover, which will most likely not happen, not even in the distant future, with all these cuts in the field of education (unfortunately, my government doesn't understand that investing in education brings prosperity to a country).

This time last year our computer lab looked like this:


Today it looks totally different:



Inspired by the Future Classroom Lab in Brussels, it is now a flexible learning space that motivates students, sparks creativity and instills the love of learning and teaching.
I've written about it so many times before here

How to take part in #ETWION

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#ETWIONis an eTwinning Twitter Marathon that Bart and I are organizing for eTwinners and educators from all over the world on December 19.

We're really pleased to see that lots of teachers have opened a Twitter account and are getting ready to take part in the twitterathon. Here are some tips for newcomers on how to make the most out of #ETWION:

First and foremost, we communicate with other Twitterers (or tweeps) by sending short messages or tweets which are up to 140 characters long. Even though this may seem really short, we can add links, photos and even video clips to our tweets. Every Twitter user has a Twitter name, also known as Twitter handle, which consists of the symbol @ placed before the username. If you don't add the @, the user might not see your tweet, so make sure you always add the twitter handle of the person who you're addressing this tweet to.

For example, I sent out this tweet to no one in particular so it appeared on the timelines of all the people wh…

Let's #ETWION

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Many teachers use social media to connect and collaborate with peers from across the world. Twitter is one of the social networking sites where they can communicate by sending short messages to their peers. Twitter chats on different educational topics are very popular among educators because they can easily share their ideas, experiences and examples of best practice and promote their professional growth.

That's why Bart and I have decided to do a new project together - on December 19, 2013, we're organizing the first ever ETWION - eTwinning Twitter Marathon - a five-hour festival of teaching and learning on Twitter for eTwinners, but also for educators from across the world, no matter what subject they teach or where they live.
The ETWION will be held from 6 pm - 11 pm (check your time zonehere). It will be divided into five time slots - Twitter chats -  each featuring a different educational topic. The topics are as follows:
6 pm - 7 pm -  Social Media for CPD  7 pm - 8 pm  - …

Distinguished educators

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The President of Croatia, Mr. Ivo Josipovic, received a delegation of Croatian educators last week and I was really honored to be one of them. I was invited to join the delegation by CARNet, which I wholeheartedly accepted. We introduced ourselves to the President and then had a coffee with him and talked about the CARNet User Conference and edtech in general. 

In the delegation there was also Mr. Cho, Senior Vice President of Samsung, who gave a plenary speech at the conference. I was really pleased to have met Mr. Cho in person and talk with him about how we have been implementing Samsung School Solution at my school.





eTwinning magic in Dubrovnik

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I'm a perfectionist and I'm hardly ever totally satisfied with the workshops and seminars that I deliver. But last weekend at the eTwinning contact seminar in Dubrovnik I was completely totally fully satisfied and euphorically happy with my workshops A Little Bit of Magic with Collaboration Tools.


It was magical indeed! And I even had a magic wand and a magician hat filled with -I'm sure you would never guess! - with chocolate and gingerbread hearts, and what's more I also had my own (magician) assistant - Bart, with whom I also gave the opening plenary workshop called eTwinning on the Beach.

In my Magic Workshop I introduced some useful web 2.0 tools to the participants from 9 European countries, but the best part of the workshop had nothing to do with technology - it was all about collaboration: it was about singing karaoke and making a lip dub together!  The participants were so enthusiastic and passionate about it and I immensely enjoyed every second of the works…

Dear eTwinning 3.0 participants!

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Dear eTwinning 3.0 participants,

ever since that warm June afternoon when Bart and I were asked to do yet another Learning Event in the Learning Lab, we lived with it and for it! We worked on it day and night, we looked for new tools and resources, did research, explored the tools and discussed their pedagogical value and usage in education, experimented, created new tasks, invented new  activities, tried them out with our students, reflected and reviewed, critized, praised and inspired each other, dealt with issues and problems, were excited to find something that worked perfectly and disappointed at other times because it didn't. And now after the learning event has finished, after ten days of intense online collaboration, fascinating connectedness and creativity, after having received so many compliments, beautiful comments, lovely posters and thank you notes, we know that we have inspired and motivated you and that together we have ... touched the sky! Thank you for flying w…

From eTwinning with Love

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Today is the last day of yet another learning event that Bart and I are leading in the eTwinning Learning Lab. Our event, eTwinning 3.0 is about education 3.0. We prepared lots of resources, tools and most importantly lots of creative tasks for our participants. Those past ten days were so intense, totally filled with collaboration, connectedness and creativity that I feel like we have reached the stars!All those comments that have been posted all over the web show that we have fulfilled our mission - to fly to the moon:


Here are some of the comments:




Words fail me - I'm so deeply touched and .... over the moon! A million thanks to all of you, dear participants, fellow etwinners and friends. It's been an out-of-this-world experience.


RSCON presenter

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The 4th annual Reform Symposium e-Conference will be held from October 11th - 13th on the Blackboard Collaborate platform. There'll be more than 100  prominent educators giving keynotes, talks and workshops.
I'm really proud to be one of the presenters. I'll be giving a talk entitled Lifelong Learning in the Learning Lab about online courses for professional development. The talk is based on my experience of leading ten-day online courses in the eTwinning Learning Lab:

The Pedagogical Value of eTwinning projects (held in March 2013)
eTwinning 3.0 (happening now)
Alati i kompetencije (for teachers from Slavic countries, starts on October 10)
My talk will be held at 6:00 pm CET on Sunday, 13 October.

Dreams come true - in the CFC!

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This time last year  this was only a dream. Today it's a reality. The Croatian Future Classroom was officially opened last week.

It all started with my visit to the Future Classroom Lab at the European Schoolnet in Brussels and a course I attended there. The FCL is a "living lab  for how ICT can be implemented in schools and where policy makers, ICT suppliers, teachers and educational researchers come together to reshape the use of technolgy in education and to develop new models of teaching and learning with technology. It was developed by European Schoolnet, its 30 supporting Ministries of Education and leading educational technology providers."
(No, the Croatian Ministry is still not a member, but hopefully it will become one soon - that'll be another dream of mine come true) 
The opening ceremony was grand.... it was just like a dream! So many good, positive, inspiring vibes! Sonja showcased the use of Samsung Smart School with students so successfully and effecti…

Interactive learning and empathy

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New Opportunities Upper-Intermediate, the textbook that I have to use in my English classes (Gosh, how I hate it because I HAVE TO use it), opens up with a module about autobiographies. Two excerpts are there for students to read and discuss. One of them is from Anne Frank's Diary. My students know very well who Anne Frank is. Most of them read the Diary in their elementary schools. Most of them don't remember much about the book except that she was Jewish and lived in an attic.

The excerpt in the textbook is, well... to be read once and then forgotten. No matter how hard I try, I can't make it any more appealing than it is to my students. But what I could do was to use this extract as an introduction and then go online to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. This museum has fantastic resources for teachers, such as timelines, videos, photos, stories. But what my students liked most was the Interactive walk through the Annex. One student volunteered to be our guide through …

Something completely different

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I love web 2.0 tools! No, that's rather an understatement! I adore tools! I enjoy exploring this vast sea of new technologies and  experimenting with them to see what would work best in my classroom.  Some of the tools are really awesome, but yesterday I stumbled upon one that is beyond awesome!!!! Videoscribe by Sparkol  is "a unique way to create engaging animated videos quickly and easily". It's something completely different! I've seen and admired such animated "doodle-style" videos so many times before and I always thought that you need to be an artist to produce such stunning pieces of art!

Until I saw a jaw-dropping video created by Adrijana Leko, an innovative and creative teacher from Croatia. And I immediately gave it a try and was euphoric all day yesterday and still am about this fabulous, fantastic, awesome, wondrous tool! Now I can draw too! I can be an artist as well!

So here's my first Videoscribe - eTwinning 3.0. It's a &qu…

Summer in the shade with 2 eTwinning publications

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With temperatures between 36-38 degrees Celsius here in Croatia, there's no better thing to do but to grab a book and find a shade somewhere near the beach. Instead of a book, I'd suggest grabbing these 2 inspiring eTwinning publications.


Daniela Bunea, English teacher from Romania, is the leader of the Visibility of eTwinning projects Group on the eTwinning portal and the editor-in-chief of the eponymous newsletter,  published once a year. Each newsletter brings a huge number of articles written by teachers from across Europe about their innovative projects and creative ideas that they have put into practice.

I'm especially proud to be one of the contributors to this year's newsletter. I've written an article about the learning event that I co-ran in the Learning Lab of the eTwinning portal earlier this year.