Most schools participating in TILA are in the middle of the pilot sessions or already finished them. The first impressions are positive, but unfortunately problems with ICT equipment and the internet do occur. At NSG Groenewoud (Nijmegen, Netherlands) they are lucky to have technical assistants to help setting up the equipment. Since only four students of this school participate in the project in the pilot phase, laptops are provided by the school so the sessions can take place in a regular classroom. It is good to see that there is made effort to make telecollaboration possible. Unfortunately, the third session with the partnerschool in Valencia, planned for last Thursday, was cancelled. At NSG everything worked fine, but the Spaniards were having trouble with the internet connection. There was disappointment among students and the teacher, but they are still looking forward to the next session.
In a short period of time all the results of the pilot sessions should be collected and the next step will be to evaluate them. Like said before, first impressions are mostly positive. A quote of the NSG Spanish teacher: “As long as everything [ICT] works fine, the students are very enthusiastic and motivated while communicating with the Spanish peers.” This seems to be the main experience, so work has to be done to reduce negative ICT experiences. Once schools and teachers get more experienced in setting up the necessary equipment for intercultural communication, computer issues shouldn’t be an obstacle anymore in future sessions. Results of the former NIFLAR project has shown that even though technical issues may occur, it doesn’t reduce the positive impact a session can have. As a participant of the NIFLAR project myself (as a student of the Bachelor Spanish Language and Culture, 2010) I can fully endorse this.
From 29th till 31th of January there will be a face-to-face meeting in Saarburg. Project leaders, among others, will be discussing and evaluating important points about the project. Presentations will be held, and there will be OpenSim and Moodle workshops. Hopefully this will be another successful and fruitful meeting which will help to lead the projects’ progress in the right direction.
Dayen, trainee at the TILA-project