From 16 to 24 February, five PAI4 / Year 3 ESO students from our school – Andrea Regadas, Andrea Nicieza, Antonio Carro, Patricia Gutiérrez and Iria Turnes – accompanied by two teachers – Katharine Murphy and Sara Bouzada – travelled to Sibiu (Romania) to participate in the first exchange with students of the ERASMUS+ ‘Life Of A DIGI’ Project. This initiative brought together 25 students and 15 teachers from partner schools in Poland, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Spain and Turkey to share a week of activities.
The ‘Life Of A DIGI’ project of the KA229 category – interchange of good practices between schools – has as its linchpin that “our students be an international standard in digital citizenship through the elaboration of materials to raise awareness and education of young Europeans”. This initiative takes place from September 2018 to August 2020, with thematic meetings in each of the partner countries articulated around the 9 Pillars of Digital Citizenship (digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital labelling, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellbeing, digital security), where PAI4 students are the protagonists.
In this first meeting with students, the theme chosen was Digital Identity (within the Access pillar). During that week of work, participants worked in international teams, debating on the most important aspects of digital citizenship in the European context. In addition, they took part in workshops on the use of tools for the development of avatars and secure identifiers, creating one for each partner country and writing a blog about this process. These activities promoted intercultural and cooperative learning.
Meanwhile, the Spanish team had the opportunity to learn in the library of the host school Colegiul National ‘Gheorghe Lazar’, founded in 1692, one of the oldest in Romania. They particularly enjoyed the experience of being able to see and touch the collection of books from the 15th century, being given the opportunity to trying to translate some of them.
In addition to the activities directly related to Digital Citizenship, the mobility programme included a cultural aspect with a visit to Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle), the city of Brasov and a Dragobete festival (the Romanian equivalent of Saint Valentín’s Day), as well as a sample of national cuisine and folklore of the region.
As a curiosity, the teachers accompanying the delegations were able to meet and talk with the First Lady of Romania, Carmen Iohannis, who is a teacher at the host school.
An unforgettable experience that was summed up in the words of the participating students themselves: “Five students from year 3 of ESO were selected to participate in an Erasmus + Life of a Digi mobility scheme that took place in the town of Sibiu, Romania. We were guests in the homes of the families of those students who participated in the project (and who will come to Galicia, to our homes, the coming school year), in which we all felt very welcome. During a whole week we did many activities, so we never got bored …
Among these activities were: our visit to Bran Castle, located in Romanian Transylvania, that inspired the story of Dracula; guided visits by the teachers of the host school and also by their students; a visit to the town hall of Sibiu; afternoon of bowling and exercise sessions at the local gym in the city. The project itself tackled Digital Citizenship and how to be European digital citizens. The work we did in the project itself involved creating web pages for the presentation of the schools in each country, with information about their city. In addition, we also learned how to create digital avatars (which could even talk!), since safeguarding digital identity is very important. Finally, we designed our posters about what it means to be European for us, which we then presented to the other groups.
We know that we will never forget this experience. We made friends from all over Europe, experienced a new culture … and even tasted new food! But what we have learnt most about were the foundations of Digital Citizenship and its importance. Without a doubt a wonderful experience to live, discover and learn!”
The ‘Life Of A DIGI’ project continues throughout this and the next school year, with mobilities planned for the rest of the partner countries, next being Portugal during the month of May, in which five other students and two teachers will continue to develop activities related to European Digital Citizenship.