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Brussels, 13 January 2006

eTwinning: conference in Linz to celebrate the achievements of the ‘virtual’ school partnerships

eTwinning, the European scheme to encourage school partnerships on the internet, was launched in January 2005 and has quickly established itself as a major instrument for school collaboration in Europe: over 11,300 schools have already registered. Today, in Linz, Austria, prizes will be awarded for the first time to the best eTwinning projects by Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism and Elisabeth Gehrer, the Austrian Federal Minister for Education. eTwinning is the main initiative of the European eLearning programme.

This Friday, in Linz, a three-day conference will be opened by Commissioner Figel’ and Minister Gehrer: it will showcase examples of best practices in eTwinning through workshops and displays in the exhibition hall of the Design Center. More than 400 teachers from all over Europe are expected to take part, together with representatives from the European Commission and the eTwinning European and national Support Services. eTwinning awards will be handed out to successful partnerships launched in the past 12 months.

In less than a year, over 11.000 primary and secondary schools have registered at the eTwinning portal, and close to 2000 of them are already participating in collaborative projects. These cover pupils of all age groups, all subject areas, and all of the official languages of the EU.

“These figures show that phenomenal results can be achieved with a very simple set-up,” said Jàn Figel’. “The e-Twinning action distinguishes itself from other education programmes because it provides schools with a simple and safe infrastructure for collaboration, tools, training and advice: the service is free, and there are no burdensome administrative procedures for the participants. It makes it as easy as possible for schools to form all types of partnership in any subject area. I believe it is a very effective way to foster the use of ICT, language and intercultural skills in school education.”

The Commissioner added: “Today’s prize-giving ceremony gives visibility and recognition to the great work done by teachers across Europe. eTwinning is helping to create a Europe–wide community of active and motivated teachers who share experience, ideas and resources.”

The shortlist of the best eTwinning projects was chosen from among 320 contributions by a European jury of experts in education and ICT. They competed in the following categories: school collaboration, pedagogical innovation and digital resources; and in one of two age groups: 5-12 and 13-19 year-olds.

The prizes:

The prize-winning eTwinning projects get the opportunity to meet and continue their ICT and school twinning activities at a four-day residential course on the island of Lanzarote from 27 to 30 April 2006. The runners-up will be invited to participate, with expenses paid, in one of the European networking and development workshops for eTwinning teachers that take place throughout the school year in different European countries.
For further information about this initiative and about the prizes please consult the eTwinning website:

Venue for the conference: Design Center Linz, Europaplatz 1, A-4020 Linz

See also: Full list of the nominated projects, Background material for the media

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