If you want the official covering of the event, you can have a look at the article on the eTwinning portal When eTwinning meets policy makers! You can find videos there , documents and much of what was said and done.
I was convinced by:
- Anne Gilleran's sentence: eTwinning is a place where you're allowed to fail. Great! Even if as teachers we're usually obsessed with being perfect, in fact we can't be. And it's a relief to feel free to make mistakes once in a while - and learn from them. That's what LifeLongLearning is supposed to mean. Now, to the question: will policy makers understand this? will we still be free to fail in an "institutionalized" eTwinning?
I was NOT convinced by:
- the projection of a bright technological future for the European schools, where teachers and students communicate via twitter, regularly meet on social networks and happily exploit ICT as creative educational tools. I've visited schools in Tuscany (and we're supposed to be one of the rich parts of Italy) where the ICT equipment is zero. A high percentage of teachers can't even hold a mouse. Lots of pupils think exploiting ICT means playing Wii or Play Station games. And there are even more serious issues: more and more families, in this time of crisis, can't afford buying a pc or paying for the internet access. Lots of Municipalities have less and less money to provide their schools with ICT equipment. Not to mention the crisis of European Education we've been discussing in another post (how can we forget all of those un-met benchmarks?). My feeling was that the impact of the present crisis was underestimated. It's my personal opinion, but the efficient and creative hypertechnological school of the future is Utopia school... or (worse) it is going to be an elite school for those who can afford it.
- the policy-makers speeches: sorry, apart from very few happy situations, the distance between the politicians and the EU-minded experts (Eugenio Riviere, Santi Scimeca, Anne Gilleran, Donatella Nucci etc) was patent. The politicians just kept seeing their small slice of the educational world, while the others talked in a wider perspective. And sadly, I'm not sure they had the same goals in mind. My question: did they understand each other?
Ok, that's all for my experiences and thoughts about Genova. I know maybe I've been boring with all of these posts, but we are living such a difficult period for the EU and the debate in Genova got for me a wider meaning, going beyond eTwinning.
After all, in my opinion the question is not if eTwinning will or won't be recognized by the institutions of the different countries. The question is: will the different countries recognize the existence - and value - of the European dimension in education?