Last September, Let Her In organised an international event in Reus, Spain, at Espai Boule, an open education centre. The meeting brought together representatives from 21 organisations from 13 countries, including Spain, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Cyprus, Portugal, Croatia, Romania and Lithuania. The event was another important step in the journey of Let Her In, an international network of organisations working for equal and full participation of all people in society, regardless of their gender, origin or abilities.

Let Her In is driven by a vision of a world where diversity is valued and gender equality is the norm in all aspects of life. Their commitment spans various fields including education, employment, politics, social life, civic participation and human rights. With unwavering determination, they work together for gender mainstreaming by strengthening the voices, knowledge and interests of all genders. Their mission is rooted in the pursuit of social justice and embraces people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, sexual identities, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the T4T project by DomSpain, a member of Let Her In. The presentation called attention to the aims of the project, its progress and the final steps needed to make it a success. It also showed up the positive impact the project has already made, especially through six highly successful webinars that were very well attended.

The international Let Her In event in Reus, Spain, demonstrated the commitment and determination of organisations such as DomSpain, Artied, Edupro, MyArtist, SAN and VIOne to strengthen education and promote inclusion.

On 11 and 12 September 2023, partners from Greece, Spain, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Poland participated in the last transnational partner meeting in Šiauliai, Lithuania. The meeting was hosted by the Lithuanian partner EDUPRO. The meeting was organised in a mixed format.

During the meeting, the partners discussed the results achieved – guidelines for effective group dynamics in an online learning environment and practical exercises.

A very important topic of the meeting was also the dissemination of the project. The Greek partners provided valuable insights into the current status of the project efforts and outlined strategies for wider engagement.

Special attention was given to the exploitation of the project and its sustainable impact. In an extremely productive discussion, the partners jointly defined the necessary steps to ensure that the project results continue to have a positive impact after the project is completed.

All partners are very satisfied with the result they achieved in two years and hope to work together on future projects as well!

We are delighted to share the exciting news that our cycle of international webinars, which took place throughout May and June, has been a great success. Over the course of these two months, we conducted a total of six webinars, each focusing on diverse topics:

  • “Keep students engaged during an online language class”
  • “Gathering your ideas! Being an entrepreneur & the Boss”
  • “How can we engage students while teaching environmental topics?”
  • “How to use artistic & creative activities for boosting online teaching creativity and learners’ engagement?”
  • “Practical exercises suitable for People with Disabilities”
  • “Keep Your students active during online ICT training”

Our main objective in organising these webinars was to pilot practical exercises in the partner countries and to enlarge the network of educational experts. We have exceeded our expectations in both aspects because more than 180 participants from various fields, including teachers, adult educators, and NGO representatives, actively took part in these webinars. 

The feedback we received from the participants was positive. They expressed that attending these webinars significantly improved their knowledge of engaging learners in a virtual environment. Additionally, they acquired valuable insights into new practical digital tools that they can readily utilise and adapt to their teaching practices.

The success of these webinars has further awakened participants’ interest in our project, and they have expressed their desire to stay informed about its ongoing implementation.

All webinars were recorded and you can access them on the project website –https://digitaltools4teaching.eu/results/webinars!

On 6-7 February 2023, all partners of the Erasmus + T4T: Tools4Teaching in Digital Education Settings project participated in the third international meeting in Lodz, Poland. The meeting was hosted by a Polish partner, the University of Social Sciences, on their campus. The meeting was held in hybrid mode.

During the meeting, the partners discussed how to improve online group dynamics in adult education. All important issues regarding the progress of the work on the project results, the next planned activities and the implementation phases were discussed in depth.

In the course of producing a guide for adult educators on how to better design effective group dynamics in the online learning environment (available on the project website in all partner languages), the consortium developed a set of practical exercises suitable for an online learning environment.

The partners developed 18 different energisers, warm-up exercises and follow-up activities suitable for different educational areas: Language, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Education and ICT, as well as artistic and creative activities and exercises suitable for people with disabilities. Soon, all exercises will be available as an interactive database on the project website.

The partners have also planned future webinars where all the developed activities will be tested with real educators. The trainers – experts in the field of adult education – will also present case studies and practical tools showing how energisers, warm-up and follow-up activities can be used in practise and directly applied in online courses and sessions.

The face-to-face meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss all relevant administrative issues such as project management, reporting, quality assurance and risk management. The consortium summarised dissemination activities and planned how to publicise the project in the coming months. The T4T project has an active presence on the discussion platform where teachers and other members can foster community, share good practises and learn about useful materials. You can join the T4T group here: https://www.discuss-community.eu/community/groups/viewgroup/82-digital-tools-for-teaching.html. If you don’t want to miss any more news, stay in touch and follow us on Facebook.

Another face-to-face meeting in Poland gave us the opportunity not only to work effectively on the project results, but also to meet our partners again. A common goal and a mutual understanding of tasks and responsibilities promotes group cohesion and strengthens efforts to deliver a high-quality project with many useful results.

Creating a Visual Exhibition as a tool of Hybrid Learning

The third Learning Teaching Training Activity (LTTA) for the EU-funded project “T4T – Tools4Teaching in Digital Education Settings” took place from 3-5 October in Athens, Greece. MYARTIST, an organisation with expertise and experience in various fields related to arts, culture, accessibility and inclusion, served as host for the mobility.

The aim of the LTTA was to enhance the practical skills and abilities of the participants in adapting their current online training activities to the proposed new approach and to provide a platform for the discussion of ideas and viewpoints among the participating adult educators and training experts.

Participants in the T4T initiative also had the opportunity to stroll through downtown Athens and view their surroundings through a different “lens”. With the invaluable help and guidance of the Emfasis Foundation, our participants had the opportunity to learn more about homelessness in Athens, the various outreach initiatives that the Emfasis Foundation currently manages, and the importance of the daily work of professional street workers. Through this activity, the group dynamic was strengthened and communication within the group was improved through a more vulnerable discussion on difficult topics.

On the second day, participants had the opportunity to work with more informal techniques taught and trained by psychologist and drama therapist Stamatis Paraskevas.

They created a six-part narrative introducing our protagonists and their goals, as well as the challenges they face or the support they receive. They drew their experiences on paper to be scanned later and added to our online exhibition.

After learning about automatic writing, they wrote a fairy tale together. In the process, they each had to say a word or phrase so that they could come up with something of their own as a group. They have to coordinate their efforts and look after each other. Then everyone had one minute to draw a scene from the fairy tale on a shared sheet of paper.

The participants also visited EMST Athens to see the different artworks and discuss the topics they had studied. They were lucky enough to visit the group exhibition “Statecraft (and beyond)”, which deals with issues such as race, xenophobia and nationalism. Through team discussions and visits to different places, they got to know each other better.

On the last day of the training, the participants were given time and space to reflect on their experiences so far. They created stories with words and colours, using their bodies and the method of automatic writing. The fact that they ventured out of their comfort zone was the most important factor.

MYARTIST showed the potential of a virtual exhibition. They discussed how to ensure and improve accessibility by doing simple but efficient activities. Canva served as their main digital tool. Participants uploaded their original artworks along with titles and descriptions. Finally, they recorded audio versions of the descriptions.

The fact that this event had a hybrid format is very important. This allowed the partners to explore how group dynamics emerge and change through different pedagogical approaches in mixed or hybrid learning environments. The team will release the finished product of the virtual exhibition soon for you to enjoy and be inspired by!

Guidelines on how to building effective group dynamics online

For the first activity under Result 1, the partners have produced six modules covering six different aspects of teaching in digital education environments. The modules provide general methodological guidelines for adult educators on how to more effectively build and maintain group dynamics in online learning environments, what digital tools and software to use, what behaviours to adopt, how to engage learners in small group activities online, and how to use artistic exercises to foster creativity 

The modules are aimed at adult educators, teachers, trainers, mentors, coaches and other education professionals working in the field of formal, non-formal and informal adult education. In addition, the modules enable the target group to increase their knowledge and skills on how to effectively build and maintain a group dynamic in their online courses and trainings and how to actively engage learners in different types of activities. This enables a better response to the increasing expectations of learners who are nowadays no longer just passive recipients of knowledge but actively involved in the online education process.

All partners participated in the identification of resources and in the creation of the modules. The general coordination of the process was done by the Dutch partner – ViOne Consultancy.

At the beginning, the partnership agreed on what they understood by ‘blended learning’ and defined the 3 types of learning environments for this purpose. For the purposes of the project and in line with its objectives, the partners agreed to use the most widely used definition of blended learning as a ‘combination of face-to-face and online learning’, known as the rotational model of blended learning.

The partnership agreed on the following themes to be developed in the form of six modules:

  • Specifics of online learning environment comparing to physical settings and blended learning
  • Suitable digital tools and software for maintaining effective online interaction 
  • Specifics of engaging learners and working in small groups in online learning environment
  • Creating engaging energisers and warm up exercisers suitable for online environment and remote learning
  • Boosting online teaching creativity and learners’ engagement through artistic activities
  • Educator’s role and behaviour in online teaching environment some tips for success

To create the modules, the partners agreed on the following steps: 

  1. Create and agree on a document template (Word) for consistency and to provide a general overview of the nature of the content of each module 
  2. Create and agree on a presentation template (PowerPoint) that includes attractive visuals and follows the structure of the document template.
  3. Agreement on joint knowledge testing activities in the form of open and closed questions on the website, in the presentation and in the form of a practical case study in the document 
  4. The partners also agreed on the design, the appearance of the results and the time schedule. 
  5. The partners agreed on the use of the following methods: Desktop research on the topic, identification of techniques from formal, non-formal and informal education that can be used in the context of digital education, providing guidelines for the development of online learning activities suitable for distance education and learning, etc.

All six modules were combined into one structured document, which resulted in the ‘Guidelines’, developed in a user-friendly format. All modules and resources for each module were uploaded to the project website 

The partnership received feedback that the Guidelines met the growing needs of training professionals who wanted to learn how to easily adapt face-to-face interaction to digital environments. In doing so, they were able to put a ‘human face and meaning’ to online education and help learners to become active participants in the process rather than being treated as passive recipients of information.

The modules and thus the ‘Guidelines’ were created in English and later translated into all project languages. Each partner was responsible for the translation 

The modules can be viewed on the project website: https://digitaltools4teaching.eu/results/guidelines

Second Transnational Partner Meeting in the Hague

On 5 and 6 September 2022, all partners of the Erasmus + T4T project: Tools4Teaching in Digital Education Settings participated in the second international meeting, which took place in The Hague, the Netherlands. The meeting was hosted by the Dutch partner VI One Consultancy at the headquarters of The Hague Tech, the city’s largest tech community offering offices and co-working spaces.

During the meeting, the partners discussed the progress of the work on the project results and planned the next activities and implementation phases. The consortium analysed in detail the modules of the guide for maintaining effective group dynamics in an online environment and decided on necessary improvements. The Guidelines consisting of modules, presentations and evaluation, can be found on the project website: https://digitaltools4teaching.eu/results/guidelines. The partners also summarised the process of creating the Resource Library, which brings together many useful tools, materials and European good practises on maintaining online group interaction. The Library complements the guidelines and serves as a useful reference.

The next step planned was to develop an interactive database with hands-on exercises suitable for an online teaching environment and to promote group dynamics. The partners will develop a series of energisers, warm-up and wrap-up activities suitable for different areas of education: Language, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Education and ICT, but also artistic and creative activities and exercises suitable for people with disabilities.

An important theme of the meeting was also general project management. The face- to-face meeting provided an opportunity to discuss all relevant administrative issues such as reporting, quality assurance and risk management, sustainability of the project and finances. The consortium also planned the dissemination of the project in the coming months. An important means of disseminating news about the T4T project is the discussion platform where teachers and other members can foster community, share best practises and learn about useful materials. You can join the T4T group here: https://www.discuss-community.eu/community/groups/viewgroup/82-digital-tools-for-teaching.html. And if you do not want to miss any news, stay in touch and follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/digitools4teaching.

The meeting in The Hague not only gave us the opportunity to work effectively on the project results, but also to meet and get to know each other better. The mutual understanding promotes the cohesion of the group and strengthens the efforts to carry out the high quality project with many useful results. 

Methods and tools to engage adult learners in the digital environment

As part of Result 1, Activity 2, the partners have created a Resource Library that demonstrates how to build and sustain effective group interactions in virtual classrooms. It takes the form of an easily accessible database and serves as a reference for best practises and helpful materials on the subject. This will enable the partners, their trainers and all interested teachers, tutors, mentors, coaches and other representatives of the project target groups to enrich their knowledge and daily practises in planning and preparing their online and hybrid lessons and sessions 

All partners were involved in identifying resources and building the Library. The overall coordination of the process was done by the Bulgarian partner – Creativity and Educational Studio ARTED.

At the beginning, the partnership agreed on what they understood by a ‘resource’, what criteria to apply and what steps to follow.

Thus, the partners decided to accept as a ‘resource’ any methodological, didactic or pedagogical material related to building and maintaining effective group dynamics and interaction in digital educational environments.

It was also agreed that the selected resources should meet the following common criteria: 

  1. They should address building and maintaining effective group interaction in an online learning environment.
  2. Preferably they should represent a European practise (produced by a European organisation), but interesting global practises are also accepted 
  3. Should be available in English (if there are versions in other languages, that would be a plus).
  4. They should be available on easily accessible public sources (websites, digital libraries, digital journals, web portals, etc.).
  5. They should have a clear source of origin (i.e. the owner of the resource should be easily identifiable).

The partnership then proceeded to the following steps: 

  • finalising the template for the Resource Library;
  • first phase of identifying resources, where partners matched appropriate materials based on mutually agreed criteria and sorted by type, title and link;
  • cross-checking for duplicate resources to avoid repetition;
  • 2nd Resource identification phase, in which all information about the identified materials was entered into the common template;
  • building the Resource Library in English;
  • translation of the Resource Library into all partner languages.

As a result, 65 resources, good practises and tools were identified and selected, which significantly exceeds the number of 30 foreseen in the proposal. Currently, the library includes: 2 manuals, 16 articles with helpful tips, 4 guidelines, 7 methodology/ToT documents, 2 examples of activities, 1 infographic/other graphic representation, 8 case studies, 1 online course, 14 videos and podcasts and 10 other resources. 

For easy navigation, educators can choose between two options – either search the entire database or apply a philtre and go directly to the materials in the selected category. This saves them time and gives them direct access to the resources they need 

So, would you like to browse the suggested materials and enrich your online teaching methods? Check out the following link – Resource library – digitaltools4teaching.

Methods and tools to engage adult learners in the digital environment

One of the main objectives of the T4T project is to improve the knowledge and skills of educators in order to provide and maintain a high level of interaction and engagement of adult educators in digitally delivered lessons and sessions. This goal can be achieved by equipping adult educators with the tools to work with adult learners in online environments. Therefore, in this article we will present some tips and tools to equip adult educators. 

  1. Build in activities and tasks that encourage exploration 

When adult learners are actively engaged in their own learning process, they acquire knowledge more quickly. Create tasks or activities that motivate students to research independently and learn from their own experiences. Divide students into groups and ask them to work in a team, discuss a problem and benefit from each other’s experiences. 

  1. Use humour

This method is really great because it involves even the most unmotivated learners in your course. Your students will follow the content of your course more attentively because they want to hear your funny sense of humour. 

  1. Get emotional

If the material of your courses does not seem very interesting, try to engage the students with some memories and real life stories. 

  1. Add suspense

Your course could become more exciting if you save some interesting points until the end and do not tell them right at the beginning of the course.  

 

We also provide you with some digital tools that will help you engage your students:

  • Testmoz is a tool that allows teachers to create online quizzes. This tool is free and does not require re- registration. You can find it here: https://testmoz.com/
  • Nearpod is a tool that allows you to create interactive presentations with quizzes, surveys, videos and more. You can find it here: https://nearpod.com/
  • Quizlet is a free website that allows you to create digital flashcards that make your course more fun! You can find it here: https://quizlet.com/

If you want to find more useful resources (articles, videos, tools, etc.) to help you create more interactive courses and engage your students, check out our Resource Library

Kick-off Transnational Partner Meeting in Reus, Spain

On 10 and 11 February 2022, all partners of the Erasmus+ T4T project: Tools4Teaching in Digital Education Settings came together for the first time for a kick-off meeting in Reus, Spain. The event lasted 2 days and took place at the premises of DomSpain, the coordinator of the project.

VI One (Netherlands), MyArtist (Greece), EDUPRO (Lithuania) and ARTIED (Bulgaria) participated at the face-to-face meeting and SAN (Poland) joined it online. 

Hybrid meetings can be challenging and require the participants to multi-task attending such a meeting: ensuring the person on the computer can listen and contribute, talking on top of each other or at the same time, moderating the discussion between face-to-face and virtual participants, etc. Fortunately, all partners of the kick off meeting were able to overcome these problems and everything went smoothly for the duration of the meeting on both days.

The first item on the agenda was a session on project management and financial aspects. DomSpain was responsible for this as the coordinator of the project. The partners also discussed the first steps in project implementation they had taken before the kick-off meeting: first drafts of the documents/templates prepared for Outcome 1 and 2, dissemination materials, including logo, and a draft of the quality assurance plan.

DomSpain presented the main aspects of the evaluation of the project proposal and the partners discussed the strengths, weaknesses and points for improvement in the categories of quality of the project design, quality of the partnership, cooperation arrangements and impact 

To strengthen the networking of the partners and to promote the project among the project stakeholders, each partner created an account on the platform DISCUSS and invited adult learners and educators to join the project group. The platform shares best practises, provides feedback from community members that can be useful for piloting, and can be used to exchange opinions, ideas, etc. with the project target groups and stakeholders.

DomSpain then organised an ‘open office’ activity where all participants were divided into three groups to discuss project management, quality assessment and dissemination. Some of the key points in the workshop discussions were:

  • meeting deadlines;
  • active participation, communication and involvement in meetings;
  • willingness to talk about challenges/difficulties and ask for help;
  • all documents requested by the coordinators must be submitted in time for the coordinator to prepare interim and final reports;
  • a lead partner for each outcome/activity coordinates the work of all partners, offers support, tracks progress and deadlines, sends emails/reminders and is available in case of questions or doubts;
  • involve as many target groups and associated partners as possible – in the evaluation of results;
  • check which risk factors are more related to impact/quality of results/participation of target groups;
  • and be aware of the needs of the target groups (educators) changing, so it’s important to be sure that the results are relevant to them.

The fulfilment of all these objectives plays an important role in the success of the project so far.

On day 1 and 2, the first work package was presented and discussed. Artied and VI One were the leaders of these activities, so they shared their presentations accordingly.

  • VI One was responsible for developing a template for the guidelines aimed at adult educators to create effective group dynamics in an online learning environment. 
  • Artied was responsible for the Resource Library. The Resource Library consists of a listing of resources for sustaining online group interaction and identifies available European practices. It complements the guidelines and serves as a reference for adult educators.

Both are already available on the project website.

Last but not least, MyArtist presented the dissemination plan. Dissemination plays a very important role in the success of a project because it is the way to reach the stakeholders. The partners talked about the website, how it should look like and what it should show. It was also agreed to publish 4 newsletters during the project.

All in all, it was a fruitful meeting and all partners agreed that it was a crucial step to start the project on a good foot.

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