Sunday, 5 October 2014

eTwinning PDW in Tallinn, Estonia


Last week (26th - 28th September) I took part in the eTwinning Professional Development Workshop "Integrating coding into curriculum" in Tallinn, Estonia. It wasn't a coincidence that the PDW took place in Estonia. This small country is one of the most advanced e-societies in the world. That is why it is often reffered to as e-Estonia. In 2000 the Estonian Parliament declared basic Internet access as a human right.
Estonia has revolutionized the educational system in order to raise smarter and tech-savvy children. The aim is to develop digital skills of both teachers and students (at each level). One of the educational initiatives in Estonia is a programme called ProgeTiger launched in 2012. The objective is to raise children who like technology and understand how it works. How do Estonians do it? They integrate coding into different subjects, train teachers, support schools in acquiring high-tech devices, and organize competitions for students.
Poles haven't got nothing to be ashamed of. Although our society is not as tech-savvy as Estonian society, we have also got our own coding educational programme called Mistrzowie Kodowania (The Masters of Coding). I'm proud to take part in it from the beginning. 

I think that having basic knowledge of coding is very important is the 21st century. That is why I was so excited to participate in the PDW. In Tallinn I have met a lot of wonderful eTwinning- and ICT-geeks like me.
On 25th September we started with a networking dinner. We were divided into 10 international tables. It was a good chance to get to know at least 6 teachers from different countries and share our teaching experience. The organizers planned some icebreakers. Our table was so creative that we have even written a poem about our group.
26th September was a very busy day. We started with a 3-hour plenary session. The keynote speach "Internet of Things – how dust will change the future?" by Jürgo-Sören Preden, Head of the Research Laboratory for Proactive Technologies, Tallinn University of Technology, was inspiring and a bit terrifying at the same time. Will we control devices in the future or will devices control us?
It was good to hear Anne Gilleran, Senior Pedagogical Adviser at eTwinning's Central Support, EUN. She presented the future directions of eTwinning. She also explained why the eTwinning community should be interested in coding. I agree with Anne that it's "better to control that to be controlled" and that "coding will build the future".
There were three more presentations, but I was mostely impressed by a 14-year-old, Karl, who presented his experience with coding. He spoke English quite fluently and he was very enthusiastic about the topic.
After lunch we took part in workshops. I chose Lego Mindstorm and I have to admit that it was fun. We worked in pairs and we were given some simple tasks to solve. The last part of the workshop was a challange: how to program the robot to drive a given distance without hitting a Lego figure. My partner from Norway and me were successful.
The second workshop I chose was about creating games in Sploder (an online environment for creating games). The workshop was hosted by Estonian teenagers. I wasn't very fond of Sploder, but I'm sure my students will love it.
After such a busy day, we were taken to Kolu Inn. We could try traditional Estonian food, play old Estonian games, watch a short performance by folk dancers and even dance together. I had the best time ever, as I love dancing.
On 27th September we planned and registered our eTwinning projects. I found two project partners, Kairi from Estonia and Robert from Sweden. We came up with the idea that we can integrate coding and culture. We registered a project entitled "Across the Baltic Sea".
In the evening we had a guided tour in Tallinn old city. We did some sightseeing on Sunday morning, too.
The PDW was a memorable experience. I met a lot of amazing teachers, I learned a lot of new things, I got a lot of new ideas and inspirations. But most of all, I felt a part of very powerful and creative eTwinning community.

Monday, 15 September 2014

What's in my pencil case?

A little help to learn the names of six school supplies.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Simple vs. Continuous

For young Polish learners of English it may be not so obvious when do we use Present Simple Tense and when do we use Present Continuous Tense. 
I hope this picture will help you to remember the difference.