eTwinning is one of the main actions of the European Union’s eLearning programme. It is a framework for schools from different countries to collaborate using the Internet. eTwinning projects involve pupils aged between 3 and 19, and must include at least two schools from two different countries.
So far, more than 19,000 schools in EU Member States, plus Iceland and Norway, have registered to participate in, or have taken part in, eTwinning projects.
eTwinning initiatives encourage members of school staff - including school heads, teachers, librarians and others - to get involved. The eTwinning framework is highly flexible; the only requirements in terms of aims, duration or scope of projects are that they should be relevant to the needs of the school and should encourage ICT use.
Often, eTwinning projects deal with languages and other standard academic subjects. However, co-operation projects have also been set up encompassing many fields in the arts, the environment, international peace, media, ethics, religion, sports and humanitarian activities.
Through eTwinning projects, both teachers and pupils benefit from cross-border sharing of knowledge and experience. Because the initiative uses Internet technology, ICT skills can be developed. At the same time, participants gain a deeper understanding of other cultures, including their languages, which can open the door to better career prospects and opportunities for living, studying or working abroad.
For teachers there is the additional benefit of working with colleagues from other countries. In this way, professional materials are shared, and networks for exchange of experience are built.
The annual eTwinning award has proved an effective incentive for schools. For more information about the award scheme, see: eTwinning website
In addition to the eTwinning awards, the eTwinning initiative provides ready-made project kits, collaborative models and assistance for ICT skills learning. Frequent conferences are also organised enabling teachers to discuss their ideas face to face.