This is a copy of a conference paper presented at the 11th International
Technology, Education and Development Conference, 6th-8th March 2017,
Valencia, Spain. It is published by IATED in the INTED2017 Proceedings, pp.
1073-1076, ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2. It is available on the publisher's website
Paz-Albo, J., & López, I. (2017). Higher education perspectives on
eTwinning: The future of Initial Teacher Training learning. In L.
Gómez, A. López, & I. Candel (Eds.), INTED2017. Proceedings of the
11th international technology, education and development conference (pp.
1073-1076). Valencia, Spain: IATED Academy.
HIGHER EDUCATION PERSPECTIVES ON ETWINNING: THE
FUTURE OF INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING LEARNING
Jesús Paz-Albo Prieto1, Isabel López Cirugeda2
1 Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (SPAIN)
2 Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (SPAIN)
Teachersʼ collaboration networks in fostering Innovation and Communication Technology (ICT) are
essential to promote 21st century skills. Teacher education forms part of the core mission of many
universities and eTwinning can help accelerate this educational change needed in initial teacher
training (ITT) reforms. eTwinning is part of the European Unionʼs Erasmus+ programme, devoted to
lifelong learning to promote collaboration between schools in Europe and enhance students' learning.
This study discusses the perceptions of undergraduate and graduate college students about the
impact of introducing eTwinning as a prospective pedagogical tool in ITT. Data for this study were
collected via an online questionnaire distributed to 22 students actively participating in the eTwinning
Teacher Training Pilot for Higher Education Institutions in Spain. Analysis of the responses revealed a
number of beneficial effects on teachers training that facilitates constructive and successful
collaborative learning. eTwinning participants experienced a greater motivation, improved academic
achievement and language skills, and development of lifelong skills, such as cooperation and
independent learning skills. The results suggest that eTwinning is a promising pedagogical tool in
teacher training. The study concludes with a discussion of the challenges in the implementation with
suggestions made for future research.
Keywords: eTwinning, teacher training, educational innovation, project-based learning.
The educational platform eTwinning, originally designed in 2005 and introduced by the European
Commission in the eLearning programme (2004-2006) as a tool for the development of technology
literacy among teachers, has evolved into a massive community for schools in Europe. This fast-
developing virtual environment has already produced over 55,774 projects involving over 437,543
teachers and 173,097 school centres . It is a user-friendly, free, safe space in which teachers can
locate colleagues from the European Union and other countries, namely Croatia, Iceland, Norway,
Switzerland and Turkey, as well as other areas which can act as guest countries, to twin their schools
through the design and implementation of common projects for their students.
eTwinning participants, also known as eTwinners, report significant improvement in both motivation
and academic achievement . Besides, the voluntary nature of this cooperation naturally reserves its
use for especially vocational and proactive educators and an estimated 95.2% participants willing to
learn about technologies . Accordingly, the confluences created through the online networks spread
a good academic practice to a wide range of 21st century skills, ranging from those related to
collaborative learning to the use of Innovation and Communication Technology (ICT). This helps the
acceleration of school change and the evolution of educational systems through pedagogical
innovation without a previously-planned theoretical orientation different from the identification of good
practice . Moreover, it promotes strategic alliances, partnerships, academic training, mobility and
even job searching through the parallel School Education Gateway platform.
Due to all these beneficial effects, eTwinning training courses and seminars are becoming increasingly
common among the different levels of non-university education, as its implementation for higher
education studies has not been planned. As the lack of technological skills or the inexperience
regarding task design and implementation prevent senior teachers from using the platform, instruction
on its use in initial teacher training (ITT) seemed advisable for the consolidation of eTwinning in
schools. Thus, younger teachers would be qualified users of the platform and would hopefully act as
mentors, instructing their peers. Therefore, since the academic year 2012/2013, the European
Commission has fostered this process in several higher education institutions in 15 out of the 37
countries of eTwinning, including the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Universidad de Castilla-La
Proceedings of INTED2017 Conference
6th-8th March 2017, Valencia, Spain
Mancha in Spain, which include eTwinning as a component of their training for undergraduate degrees
and Master’s degrees in education programs.
1.1 Purpose of the Study
In order to evaluate the impact of the experience on the students of those institutions who received
that training, a Likert scale-type online survey was conducted to measure their perceptions in terms of
motivation, ICT skills, collaborative group skills, implementation and evaluation of real school practice
and the derived sense of belonging and commitment to the educational community. All of these
aspects are very much demanded in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), so positive
feedback from the students would be interpreted as a hint for the inclusion of eTwinning into ITT in
A total of 22 students (3 males and 19 females) participated in the study. These students included
prospective early childhood, elementary and high school teachers from institutions participating in the
eTwinning Teacher Training Pilot for Higher Education Institutions in Spain during the academic year
2015 and 2016. The mean age for students participating in the study was 24.36 (SD= 6.58).
At the end of the eTwinning experience, participants were asked to contribute in the study by taking
the online survey to assess overall perception of their eTwinning experience at the Universidad Rey
Juan Carlos and the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha. E-mail invitation messages were sent out to
all students actively participating in the eTwinning Teacher Training Pilot, highlighting its purpose and
benefits of the study. Participation and responses were completely voluntary and anonymous.
2.3 Instrument and Data Analysis
The instrument used for this study was a questionnaire designed by the primary investigators. This
questionnaire was reviewed by a group of teachers’ educators and then pilot tested. The final version
of the survey instrument consists of 28 items that include demographic items and items included for
forthcoming analyses. Scale items 6-25 were coded using a five-point Likert scale ranging from
‘Strongly disagree’ to ‘Strongly agree’. For our analyses, ‘Strongly disagree’ was coded as 1,
‘Disagree’ as 2, ‘Neutral’ as 3, ‘Agree’ as 4, and ‘Strongly agree’ as 5. Descriptive statistics were
calculated via means, standard deviations and percentages, using the Statistical Package for Social
Sciences (SPSS 22.0).
Prospective educatorsʼ perceptions towards the eTwinning experience are presented in Table 1.
Preliminary analysis of studentsʼ eTwinning experience suggests that eTwinning should be included in
Initial Teacher Training Institutes (84.4%) since it improves participantsʼ decision making skills (86.4%)
and promotes cooperation and acquisition of key competences (81.8%). In fact, eTwinning participants
experienced a greater motivation (90.9%) and considered eTwinning as a tool to increase teaching
involvement and motivation (86.3%).
Generally speaking, an enriched studentsʼ academic improvement could be seen by most participants
actively involved in eTwinning projects. Additionally, students showed significantly more positive
attitudes towards independent learning skills. Participants believe eTwinning projects promote
students' autonomous learning (72.7%) through intercultural collaborative work. In addition, data
revealed a number of beneficial effects on prospective teachers training that facilitates constructive
and successful collaborative learning.
Table 1. Descriptive statistics of prospective educatorsʼ responses.
6. My eTwinning experience has reinforced my sense of belonging to the
7. My eTwinning experience has shown me real school practice.
8. I have experienced the potential of digital tools in the classroom.
9. My group decision-making skills have improved.
10. My leadership skills have been reinforced.
11. My preparation for project-based learning has improved.
12. The schedule for the project has been efficiently handled.
13. I am aware of the challenges posed by eTwinning projects and I know how
to successfully face them.
14. I intend to develop eTwinning projects when I work as a teacher.
15. eTwinning is an advantageous tool for the multicultural classroom.
16. eTwinning reinforces the acquisition of key competences.
17. eTwinning fosters autonomous learning.
18. I have perceived great involvement among my peers / students.
19. I have been able to use my prior knowledge to design an eTwinning project.
20. I have improved my assessment techniques.
21. eTwinning projects can improve student motivation.
22. eTwinning projects can improve teacher motivation.
23. There is evidence that eTwinning projects lead to improvements in
24. I believe eTwinning should be used at schools.
25. I believe the handling of eTwinning must be taught at Schools of Education.
The feedback from students was highly positive regarding the introduction of eTwinning as a
pedagogical tool in prospective teachers training. Most participants believe that eTwinning should be
integrated not only into higher education classrooms but also into K-12 classrooms. Although many
different approaches can be taken to integrating eTwinning projects into the classroom, one must
consider the challenges in its implementation. eTwinning may provide one viable option to place
students and their activity at the center, but the role of educators must change by necessity . To
further improve the effectiveness of eTwinning projects, measures should be taken to use this
promising pedagogical tool in most teacher training institutions and analyze its impact in the EHEA.
Support for this study was provided by the eTwinning National Support Service in Spain.
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