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Barbara Dieu
Teacher High School/Secondary (ages 14-18)
    Lycée Pasteur - Curso Experimental Bilingue
Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
Division Category: An Educator in the U.S.A.; Projects for ages 13 to 19

Candidate Personal Narrative

NAME: Barbara Dieu
  1. History
  2. Projects
  3. Collaboration
  4. Learning Requirements
  5. Assessment
  6. Affective and Other Outcomes
  1. Professional Impact
  2. Personal Impact
  3. Promoting your Project
  4. Direct Project Assistance
  5. Empowering Others

HISTORY (10 points)      TOP

I have been teaching EFL in Brazil for thirty years, but have been a student of foreign languages since I was born. Although my surname “Dieu” sounds very French and "omnipotent", I am a local teacher and owe it to my Belgian husband. I was born in Brazil of Polish parents, with whom I regularly travelled. Thanks to this accidental combination and exposure, I now speak four languages: Polish, Portuguese, English and French.

I started as a student- teacher while still preparing for the Cambridge Proficiency Exam in 1973. At the Cultura Inglesa, a language school associated to the British Council, I taught teenagers, adults, businessmen, prepared students for the Proficiency Exam and developed a conversation course for advanced levels. In 1981, I went back to university to complement my studies. In 1983, I entered the Lycée Pasteur, the Franco-Brazilian school in São Paulo, where I have been preparing secondary school students for both the French baccalaureat and the national certificate.

During my teaching and learning experience, I have been in contact with and trained in a wide variety of methods. I have been very fortunate to interact in a multicultural milieu that has shaped my values and perspectives and taught me a lot both personally and professionally. Therefore, when I discovered that online shared learning gave me the opportunity to extend this individual experience to my classrooms and open them to other communities and cultures, I did not hesitate in taking it up.

I organized my first project in 1997. My school was neither properly equipped nor connected and I did not know much about computers either. The French program directives our school follows had not yet implemented the use of current technologies or the concept of collaborative learning. Workshops for teachers were sporadic and costly as they involved disruption and displacement. Besides, they generally focused on specific software and were mostly aimed at the science department so they did not meet individual pedagogical needs. I craved for more. The Internet provided me with tools, leading examples, permanent access to topical information and contacts abroad. I knew educational innovation was under way and that our kids could only benefit from it.

The support I received from the people I collaborated with, students’ reactions, and parents’ satisfaction at the outcome of USA Connection Project stimulated me to blaze a trail in spite of lack of structural and financial support. Management was indifferent and many teachers were not prepared to abandon their routine. I missed interdisciplinary work and responsibility sharing with colleagues, time to get together and discuss, and more flexibility, which was very difficult within the conservative system we are in. The network and contacts established through international collaboration in these six years helped me partly overcome this barrier and became my most invaluable allies in encouraging communication, enabling classroom cooperation and promoting change.

Today, I represent This is Our Time project, for which the Lycée Pasteur has become home base both for French and Portuguese speaking countries. I am responsible for organizing the Time Classroom Twinning Activity for students and teachers around the world. I participate actively in various professional development communities online, discussion forums and lists through which I get informed of the latest developments in my area, exchange information, share knowledge and present projects through online chats. I also help colleagues in their everyday practice at school and online. I have designed and maintain my own website, and published articles about my experience with ICT.

In 2002, I gave a workshop on This is Our Time project for Language Teachers at Cyberlangues in Bordeaux, France. In 2003, I was nominated for the Global Schoolnet Award, which listed me among the 11 finalists . I was invited , the same year, to give a presentation on international collaborative projects for Children's Day in Brazil and Global Learn Day VII. In February 2004, I gave a chat on blogging for Evonline 2004 and am participating in a work group whose aim is to form an online CoP to train and write materials for Brazilian EFL state school teachers. Today, after looking back and analysing what I have done, I feel I have come full circle. I am about ready to venture once again outside my comfort zone and fly a new loop.


PROJECTS (10 points):    TOP

Since 1997, I have contributed to, developed, jointly managed a number of projects and collaborated with many different people and institutions around the world. In the link below you will find all activities online I have engaged in until now.

Among the projects, six deserve particular attention: USA Connection , Twinsite 2000 , The Copabacana Club (already completed), This is Our Time, WKTO and Europe in Brazil (ongoing or developing). A more detailed narrative/ outline can be found through the links and under the collaboration rubric.

1997 – 1998 USA Connection
Narrative URL:

This was the very first collaborative project I conducted online. In 1997, it brought together seventy of our 8thgraders and students from nine schools all over the United States. It aimed at making them discover the American/Brazilian culture and way of life and these countries’ human and natural environment through reading, writing, social studies, biology and technology. The students learnt about young people their own age and discovered the similarities and differences between themselves and their new friends, their living conditions, the teaching they received. They used and practised English in a communicative context through e-mailing. The second year, e-mailing continued with three schools:

Sycamore in Gridley, a rural area near Sacramento, CA
Valley High School, in Sanders, a Navajo reservation near Phoenix, AZ
Lowell, an urban school in San Francisco, CA

A two-week trip to the west coast of the USA took place in October 1998, involving 43 students and 4 teachers. During the trip, the students visited the places they had studied. We exchanged presents with the teacher in Phoenix while in San Francisco we met and spent our day on Pier 39 and had diner at the Hard Rock Café with the Gridley key pals and teacher. We also spent a morning at Lowell, where the American pals hosted the Brazilians and took them to class with them. The whole trip was documented live online through the website created for this purpose.

Website URL:

1999-2000 – Twinsite 2000

Website URL:
Narrative URL:

The aim of Twinsite2000 international competition was to team up a teacher and group of students from a Dutch school with another group abroad, agree on a topic and build a site following given criteria. The team: three voluntary 12th graders and I joined Patrick Holmes and his team from Lyceum Berlage. After three months of intensive communication and collaboration (e-mail, MSN messenger and file exchange on server), we entered the competition with the site: The Time of Your Life, ranked among the first four.

2001-2003 The Copabacana Club


Viva, the Virtual Village in Ardèche is a dynamic online writing project created by a team of educators including Christine Nucci, Benjamin Friess et Jérémy Royannez from the CDDP de l'Ardèche and Philip Benz, English teacher at the Lycée Astier in Aubenas, France.

In 2001, I discovered the village on a surfing trip and read we could ask for a building permit in the town hall. In class I suggested the idea to my 75 9thgraders, who fell in love with it and we started working on this new project. By interacting online with the graphic department responsible for the village in France, our students in Sao Paulo imagined and created a whole new area: The Copabacana Club. In the first semester 2002, they hosted the club and exchanged messages with participants from schools in France, Martinique and the USA in the different forums they had helped to design. You can see the results in the 2001/2002/2003 archives in sports, music, events, restaurant, and park. They also participated in The Copabacana Restaurant food quest designed to animate the restaurant. Later, more classes joined the project and exchanged ideas with their peers about the environment, the homeless, museums, European enlargement, holidays and school in the forums around the village.

1999-2004 This is Our Time 

Time is an annual global school project managed by e-linQ Educational Technologies and organized in cooperation with UNESCO Associated Schools Project network and ten Time home bases around the world.

Throughout the year, students and teachers worldwide work in class on global citizenship, cultural diversity, environmental issues and aspects of ‘time’. Participants have a wide range of structured lesson plans to choose from:


On Time Day, schools from all time zones and both hemispheres get together for 24 hours in a virtual platform. There they race against time in the Unite the Nations rally, communicate, search, create and divulge what they have done, sharing invaluable cultural contributions and insights.


When we first participated in 1999, the discussions for Classroom Twinning were so productive and the kids had so much fun in the Unite the Nations game that I decided it to include Time in our everyday life.

Discussions on Time Day and classroom twinning forums are usually based on UNESCO annual themes, so the outlines below show the progression I established for my classes every year, the number of students, the aims, the activities the classes participated in and the concrete results.

Towards a Society for All Ages (1999)

Connecting Through Peace (2000)

Dialogue Among Civilizations (2001)

Respecting Diversity (2002)

Intercultural Dialogue (2003)

As a result of our classes’ active collaboration and involvement, the Lycée Pasteur was invited to become Time multilingual home base (French and Portuguese speaking countries), which I represent. In this role, I act as liaison between headquarters and countries in these areas; invite, select and support schools; organize activities, help teachers in the use of technology and am slowly translating the educational material into French and Portuguese with my classes.

I am also responsible for the Twinning Activity. Together with the other teachers involved, we are gradually incorporating it into day-to-day teaching. We have virtual meetings at Tapped In, exchange ideas and I post links and lesson plans in the collaborative community I opened for this purpose at European Schoolnet.


Interview: Successful Communities: Classroom Twinning and School Projects

2003 - 2004  WKTO Multilingual Electronic Schoolbag


WKTO, the electronic schoolbag, is a communication platform installed on a server designed to support school activities. Bernard Garcin and Mary Vernet from the Lycée l'Oiselet (Académie de Grenoble, France) invited us to participate in project E20. Using this platform, 30 of our 10th graders were paired to classes of approximately the same number of students from Japan, Sweden, Romania, Spain, Italy and France, accessed shared resources and worked together around a common theme: Sustainable Development. The students wrote about themselves and their way of life, exchanged information with students about their cities and countries, through text and photos they took, digitalized and uploaded; translated a questionnaire from English into their mother tongue (at school, French and Portuguese); conducted a survey in their community; organized and classified the resulting data.

2003 - 2004   Europe in Brazil


Classes involved from our school: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades (100 students)

This project was presented to European Schoolnet at the occasion of Spring in Europe 2003 event. We want to contact and work with secondary school students around common themes. The project federates several sub-projects as we collect information about the influence of Europe in Brazil and work with different partners. The aim is to develop students awareness to their family roots, identity and debate about what the European enlargement may represent for them. The website is a gateway through which teachers from other countries get in contact with us. It showcases all the material resulting from the students' research, work and exchanges.

During the first semester 2003, the project was launched. A class of 10th graders (30 students) took part in the Spring in Europe forums. They introduced themselves and wrote to their European colleagues, contributing with ideas and opinions about peace and human rights. 9th graders (75 students) introduced themselves to other European classes, identified their family origins and cultural background. They also researched the European influence in the city of Sao Paulo, contributing with photos and information.

This year, our 12th graders (15 students) will interview local representatives from Britain, Poland, France and Italy on issues concerning the European enlargement. They will then discuss the issues raised with their European counterparts in special forums hosted by European Schoolnet.

Garibaldi - Exchanges, Breaks and Continuities

In the second semester 2003, the English teacher from the Liceo Clássico Garibaldi, an Italian school from Naples contacted us through the Europe in Brazil website. After brainstorming for some time, we decided to work on Giuseppe Garibaldi and his time.

20 Italian and 20 Brazilian high school students have started interacting and introducing themselves in a common blog:

while teachers have outlined their ideas, plans and are keeping a log of the development in a teacher's blog

More Italian schools have made contact and plans for this year include:

  • interdisciplinary lesson plans between classes and collaborative group work on the blog.
    Envisaged themes: what makes a hero/a rebel (from different points of view, how the same character is portrayed in history in Italy, France and Brazil), English/American/Italian/French women during the Risorgimento, immigration and cultural adaptation/influence.
  • interview with immigrants from both countries and exchange of material and questions through the blog.
  • a trip (an Italian group of students is planning to visit us next July)
  • a common website where the exchanges, photos and different phases of the project will be published.

COLLABORATION (10 points):    TOP

Completed Projects

USA Connection (1997- 1998)

E-mailing was the main technology used in this project. Through it, we maintained contact and corresponded with the schools involved during all the phases of the project. At Christmas time, we all experienced a very special moment sending and receiving “culture boxes” (book about the country for the school library, postcards, photographs, and little gifts to respective e-pals).

The writing project between Sycamore School in Gridley, CA and our school consisted in each class writing stories that somehow involved their pals or their countries. These stories were shared digitally by e-mail, published online and later compiled to become part of each participating student's and each school's libraries. The video project between the two classes was also an exciting way to promote collaboration. Students were not only involved in writing their own script based on a common plan but also engaged in teamwork when producing the film. They exchanged their creation with the American school by mail and the teams from both countries compared their way of life and commented on their similarities and differences.

A digital camera and cyber cafés along the way enabled us to document the trip live online on the USA Connection website so that Brazilian parents and American students could daily follow our adventure and communicate with us during the trip.

Twinsite 2000 (1999-2000)

At the beginning, e-mailing was used for introductions and to report/sum up the main points. ICQ and MSN messenger were used for brainstorming and in the building phase when we exchanged ideas on how to put the material together. After visiting an exhibition on the Dutch influence in Brazil, my students collected data and material on the Internet, scanned pictures from books and showed through a timeline how Brazil and The Netherlands met in history. Following instructions from experts, one of the students created the Flash flag that illustrates the timeline. The Dutch team chose to represent every day examples of how time can be fast and slow. We also searched the net and books for quotations to illustrate the home page and articles about time, which we read and discussed in class. We used Dreamweaver and Front Page to build the site while Tripod server hosted “ The Time of your Life”.

The Copabacana Club (2001 – 2003)

In 2001, my three classes of 9th graders mustered all their resources in order to create the Copabacana Club in Viva Village. The void space, with all the possibilities open before us, invited us to get out of the beaten track and leave the rigid limits of tradition to embark on a virtual adventure. The English classroom became a building site where students discussed their projects and decoration ideas.

As the graphic team was not on the spot, the students had to communicate their ideas, describing exactly what they wanted either in the forums or through e-mail.

“In the happening part of the Copabacana Club, we imagined 2 rooms: the Hall and the Event room. In this last one, concerts, award parties, plays, fashion shows and all kinds of parties could take place. The walls in the room would be dark red and there would be a stage in the front, with technical equipment on it. There would be many tables with chairs around them facing it. And in the end of the room, there would be a bar on the right side.
In the Hall, the walls would all be covered with play posters and top models pictures.
There would also be boxes made of glass with awards and costumes from parties like Carnival inside.
In the Happening part we could talk about fashion shows, award parties, concerts, plays and parties.
We could ask these questions:
-Do you like going to plays?
-Have you ever attended a folkloric party in Brazil or in your country; what was it like
-Have you ever been to a fashion show?
-Do you have a favourite top model?
-Do you often go to concerts?
-Have you ever been to an awards party? If you
have, what was it like?” (Mariel and Candice 9th grade)

The students also sent visual material they drew or collected on the web with suggestions on how to decorate the forums. Every time a building or a modification appeared on the screen, they observed and gave their comments:

 "I think that in the Copabacana club park, there should be more colours: trees with flowers of different colours like yellow, red, blue, pink...You could also put different animals like birds, butterflies, Brazilian panther (yellow with black spots)"(Stephanie).

This interaction made us taste the wealth and strength of the creative mind and allowed students to exercise their communicative skills in a real life situation. In the forums, I have inserted custom-made activities and questions to provide students with the opportunity to pair with others and discuss their opinions. I also designed the Copabacana restaurant food quest to animate the restaurant forum so that students from different schools could practise the vocabulary in class, search the net for information, discuss their points of view and post them on the restaurant forum.

Ongoing Projects    

This is Our Time (1999-2004)

Time is our flagship project, the structure around which I weave most of my class activities and find inspiration for other projects. What I find fantastic about Time is that it offers students and teachers alike, an unlimited scope for local and international teamwork and development. Themes like global citizenship, the environment and the concept of time not only fit easily into any school curriculum but also go beyond it, opening up opportunities for cross-curricular work at school and among partners. By fostering an atmosphere of collaboration, enjoyment and support, the activities lead to active participation. We share our group and individual successes online through multilingual sites which have become a meeting point among cultures.

For the Unite the Nations rally, students have prepared questions with their Portuguese, History and Geography and Social Studies teachers and then translated them into English. I have helped translating questions sent to us in French by schools in Africa to include them in the rally as well. On Time Day, high school students have monitored younger ones, helping them search the net, making telephone calls to experts (consulates, immigrants of different nationalities). They also negotiated (by e-mail and on forums) with other countries involved to get the answers to the difficult questions.

In the classroom twinning activities, which now take place all year long, students have regularly e-mailed partners in Mexico, Indonesia, Italy, Belarus, Russia, Canada, The Netherlands, France and Finland. They introduced themselves and their country, met their pals in chats organized during the year and exchanged views on global issues both in groups in the classroom and later on online forums. Some of the material collected from the discussions on the themes resulted in newspaper articles for The Classmate or summaries of discussion. I have been posting lessons on diverse themes like identity, stereotypes, celebrations and coaching teachers on how to use the net and interactive forums with their classes.

Local activities were also organized. The first year our students interviewed elderly people while in 2000, the Peace Manifesto was used as backbone for many of the 9th/10th grader activities. For the first time at school, we had year- long interdisciplinary teamwork, gathering teachers and students around a common theme. In 2001, a forum was set so that students worldwide could express their views on the September attack. Some wrote poems for the Tolerance newspaper to voice their feelings.

As our school offers instruction in five languages (French, Portuguese, English, Spanish and German), I realized we could open another communication window by using our linguistic assets. Working with a team of voluntary students and teachers, I have helped to translate some of the educational activities into French. We have also started doing it in Portuguese so that English does not act as a barrier for wider participation. Together with other FL teachers, I organized a Language Day to raise awareness and promote the international day of languages and the 2001 dialogue among civilizations year. Groups of 9thgraders taught 4th/5thgraders to introduce themselves, say their age and where they were from in English, Spanish and German.

In 2002, I contacted local NGOs and youth centres and one has already contributed with drawings for Design a Clock activity, which we have scanned and published online. Plans for the future include trying to open our school to the local community to raise our students’ awareness of the social context they live in.  I would like to engage them in positive action so that they use their skills and knowledge to help less privileged schools participate in the project.

In February 2004, I was invited to participate in a seminar to share my experience in international collaborative projects online for a project sponsored by the British Council, BrazTesol and the University of Paraná: "Developing intercultural ELT materials online for use by state school teachers". On this occasion, I presented Time project and Classroom Twinning and gave an example of a lesson plan, explaining how Brazilian teachers can adapt it to their classrooms.

WKTO - Multilingual Electronic Schoolbag (2003-2004)

The Electronic Schoolbag is a digital workspace, a communication platform installed on a server of the Académie of Grenoble, France. I was invited to participate in project E20 in the 2nd semester of 2003 and my class of 30 10th graders was paired to 4 different classes around the world (France, Japan, Italy, Spain), forming mixed groups of 16 to 20 students (minimum 2 and maximum 4 per country). Each group had a classroom with its own code where they could upload documents (photographs and files), a training area where they could leave messages for the teachers to correct and the main exchange area (Wiki Wiki Web), where they posted their final material. The teachers involved had a similar room where they introduced themselves and could exchange information and chat.

The common language was English and the project was developed during class time. My students were divided in two groups of 15 and each group had access to the computer room once a week to post what they had done together in their sub-groups, read their peers' comments and report their impressions in class. Their work was to:

  • introduce themselves to the participants of the other countries.
  • introduce their country/ city /district and upload pictures to illustrate what they had written.
  • translate a document ( a survey on sustainable development) from English to their mother tongue.
  • conduct the survey (each student had to interview 20 persons).
  • organize the data and collating the results of the survey in class.
  • send the data to the others on Excel through the platform.
  • compare and contrast the common data. Each group had to prepare a one-page report to be included in the communication area of their virtual class. In this report they had to send the conclusions they drew from the survey and to develop one of the points which they considered to be particularly important.
  • share the report with their local community.

The project is well-structured and trains the students to work on a common assignment in a collaborative platform respecting instructions and deadlines. They have to distribute the tasks within the group, search for information on the net and in their neighbourhood, take photos, digitalize them, upload them, read about students in other countries, compare, contrast their experience and report back in class. They also had a taste of how to conduct a survey and gather the data on an Excel file. Unfortunately, due to our school summer holidays, we did not manage to complete the two last assignments in the project, which were discussing and comparing the data collected with the other groups,writing a report and presenting it to our community. We will try to catch up with it when we go back to school beginning of February provided the other students are still online.

I was invited to organize and lead, together with a teacher from Finland and from France, one of the projects in August 2004.

Europe in Brazil (2003 - 2004)

During the "Spring Day in Europe" event, students exchanged information and discussed topical issues in the forums provided by European Schoolnet. They also presented the material they prepared through the website set for this purpose.

Through the website, an Italian school in Naples contacted us and we decided to start the Garibaldi project. We started exchanging mails but decided to provide a more dynamic and efficient environment so that students from both classes could interact. The Italian students and teachers were invited to join our blogs and we coached them through the process. First exchanges and plans are taking place at:



We are planning to carry out common lesson plans and will probably use a virtual environment to meet and exchange ideas. All material will be collected and later published on a common site.



Local and global awareness, flexibility, critical thinking, teamwork, and cross-cultural competence are some of the essential skills for the 21st century citizen. By fostering the use of foreign languages, encouraging and enabling communication and reflection, these multi-classr

oom projects have promoted creativity, responsible action, collaboration, respect for others, and developed a better understanding of the complex world we live in.  I believe these are (or at least should be) the main learning skills and objectives to attain in any school curriculum around the world.

As far as EFL learning objectives and official programs are concerned, these projects have followed:

By participating in these projects students have also been preparing for the recently introduced French:

B2I (Brevet Informatique et Internet/écoles et colleges) pdf file in French

TPE (Travaux Personnels Encadrés).

Text on L’engagement des jeunes URL:

The projects have increased students’ learning opportunities and cooperative skills, maximized their exposure to the target language and promoted students’ self-reliance. They

  • Improved the students’ communicative competence in the language as they were given practice in more than vocabulary lists and grammar (they were engaged in conversation, had to provide and obtain information, write, read, negotiate, express feelings, emotions and exchange opinions);
  • Made them use the language both within and beyond the school setting (trip, Time forums and e-mailing, construction of Twinsite and Copabacana Club, interview with elderly people);
  • Reinforced and furthered their knowledge of other disciplines through the target language (history, geography, global issues like peace, violence, environment, human rights);
  • Facilitated collaboration and exchange, making them gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures (correspondence and discussions with USA, Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, Belarus, the Netherlands, France, Italy…);
  • Engaged them in critical thinking (problem solving, comparing and contrasting through web quests and discussion with different partners);
  • Helped them develop an insight into the nature of language and culture (translations from English into French and Portuguese for Time Project);
  • Gave them more autonomy (students have been increasingly encouraged to do work in the target language on their own or in small groups, under teacher supervision);
  • Enabled direct experience and participation;
  • Made them learn by doing and enabled them to see the result and value of their work.

ASSESSMENT (10 points):    TOP

In every project, we participated in or developed, students (and teachers) were given tasks to accomplish and clear instruction on how to proceed.


In the Time Classroom Twinning, students’ introductions to the rest of the community culminated in burning questions and personal reflections. After debriefing, group discussions on given themes were summarized in group reports, or sometimes resulted in creative writing like a newspaper article or poem.


An important component of online collaboration is the discussion and reflection that occurs during task engagement.


  • Garibaldi Project (conversation between teachers establishing connection and planning project)
  • Beeonline (students interacting on various themes and establishing contact with their peers and other teachers)

Students were assessed on their performance individually and in groups as to:

  • their performance in language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
  • presentation of work (oral and/or written)
  • group work (collaboration skills, synergy)
  • final production (building a site, posters for USA Connection exhibition)
  • weekly reflection in a personal blog and contributing to a collaborative blog.

Before I started working with collaborative projects, I tended to concentrate more on their performance in language skills according to pre-established criteria in class (fluency, accuracy, organization). I did not yet have access to rubrics online. Individual work was always marked, while group presentations received a comment on how to improve based on a holistic scale. After the trip to the USA, parents and students were given a feedback evaluation sheet and I wrote an article (in French) for the school newspaper on the students’ and participating teachers’ impressions.

Nowadays, I assess individual work per se, individual work within a group, group synergy and Internet skills. I compose my own rubrics according to the task to be performed and use PBL checklists, Rubric Maker and Rubistar.

For oral presentations (Time project or Viva themes), we usually have peer feedback at the beginning and in the middle of the year. Students note down the strong and weak points of a series of (previously prepared) presentations by voluntary students, while I note down the language problems. When the presenters finish, they comment on their performance and the other students and I complement. A discussion ensues and criteria are established together for the summative assessment presentation in the middle of the year, which may be pre-prepared or ad-hoc. According to what was established, I compose a rubric and distribute it to the students. After the first summative, we check if the goals have been accomplished and if we can move to another level the second half of the year.

Last year I tried a portfolio with my 10th graders. In the second semester, they were assessed on the work done in class and at home, their attitude, linguistic skills, subject knowledge, organization of material and self -assessment. They were given rubrics on how to proceed and were marked accordingly. Rubric:

I believe it is extremely important for us as teachers to consider and ask for students’ feedback on their learning process and get to know their perspectives and points of view. Therefore, at the end of the year, students’ evaluate what they did throughout the year and give suggestions according to:

What I liked (why);
What I disliked (why);
What I did not know;
What I learnt;
What I may improve.

“The things that I enjoyed the most however wasn't the time spent in class, but rather the internet projects such as the forums and the e-pals. It was an interesting activity that allowed us to meet new persons and cultures. It was a pity that we couldn't stay in touch for very long because of the different hemispheres and school holidays. But anyway, I liked it while it lasted.

Another thing I liked were the classes we had to do an Internet search for information and with it answer several questions from other countries. I think those were the classes most persons participated and, well, I just think they were nice.

I wasn't very keen on the classes when we used the book. However, this is only my personal opinion and as I already knew most of the vocabulary we learned they seemed rather boring, not because they actually were boring but rather because I didn't learn anything new.

I think that the best classes were those were we used the computer and communicated with people from other countries. I believe that this is the best way of learning, actually using the language. So, I guess that this is my suggestion, to use English rather that just learn it, because I believe this is how we really learn.” (End of year evaluation, Catarina C., 9th grade)

I only started assessing students on their Internet performance last year when we finally got a fully-equipped computer room. Only then was technology incorporated into the curriculum and evaluation criteria follow French standards (B2i), which are slowly being implemented.

According to official instructions, students and teachers are expected to find out how to operate and interact using the new technologies. (Netiquette, copyright, safety issues, search on the net, provide reliable sources). Students have a series of checklists and practice the different points. Once they feel they have understood the modus operandi and know how to perform a certain skill, they should ask their teachers to validate their competence . This may be done formally, with the students demonstrating what they have learnt and/or informally, during class.

Collaborative projects give me the opportunity to make the whole process more motivating and meaningful for students and involved teachers. They acquire the skills according to their needs and tasks presented and learn by being plunged into action instead of just reading or being told about it.

Teachers and Home base Evaluation:
Time project home bases send in reports to headquarters at the end of the year, assessing their students’ and school participation.

In the Time Classroom Twinning activity, for which I am responsible, participating teachers evaluate project development and outcome by posting their report on the forum in the collaborative community. This year we are planning to meet every fortnight at Tapped in to discuss individual problems and offer support to teachers.

In Viva, we exchanged ideas on the Teachers’ Forum, Tapped In, Yahoo groups or by e-mail.



Collaborative projects bring people together and make them interact in a more relaxed atmosphere so learning becomes more significant and entertaining. Students have more freedom to express their views and discover their teachers from another angle.

“…Another thing I liked was the Twinning Project. It was a good assignment because we had to write and search the meaning of our names and read about the others. The second part of the assignment was good too because we had to search information about Brazil to give to our friends. We could conclude that we did not know very much about the country we live in ...

I don't know what suggestion I can give ... The only thing I think it is important to continue with all these projects that make the school more fun...” (Candice N., 10th grade on Time Classroom Twinning)

"...All the student were happy because we went to the computer room to continue our project ( to do a blog ). There the teacher taught us how put a link in the blog. It is good! We could add what we wanted.
It is so cool to go to the computer room, because we do different things and not normal class when we learn grammar. I learned new things about the teacher as well, she is learning Polish!!! I think it must be difficult.
Today when I was coming home, I listened to many songs in English. It was good because I could train my ear a little bit. "
(Mariana A., 10th grade on Blogging)

Students who do not usually participate or feel excluded because the traditional way of teaching does not respect their needs or learning styles are encouraged to perform in the different contexts provided and find out that even if their grammar or vocabulary are poor, what they have to say or produce is important and valued. This restores their confidence and stimulates them to improve. Examples of two students’ messages left on the 2002 School forum at Viva Village. Their task was to tell the others about their school and how they imagined school in the future.

“ Yo man, We are Georges and Guilhem. We are in 3eme3. At school, we like the internet class and the sports class. Shur, we hate physics, mathematics and all the other boring classes (when the teachers talk, talk and we sleep). But English it’s diferent. It´s very cool.”

“I like my school because we have the choice of studying Latin, it’s much fun!!! I like physics because it’s more practical than theoric. I dislike this school because food is horrible and we don’t get modern installations like those in 1st world schools. The future school will have a computer for each student and classes will be divided according to each ones capacities and rhythm.”

Example of an end of year evaluation:

“Well, this year I have learnt a lot of things in English that I have never seen before with my others teachers in France. For example, the way that you use for teach us is very interesting: the Copabacana Restaurant and the Time project let us use the computer that is a nice thing because, we, teenagers, like to use it. However, I realize these projects were very difficult because it wasn't always easy to find the needed information.  I like English but I think that I'm not very good at it especially in the oral part. I understand almost everything that you say but I don't know very well express my thought. But I think that will come with time.”  (End of year evaluation, Chloé 10th grade)

Collaborative learning environments online provide a democratic platform that facilitates social interaction, allowing students to express their feelings and beliefs freely and receive comments from their peers. The feedback is extremely important for them to progress as they are required to question and make sense of their world by comparing, contrasting and checking their knowledge and understanding.

“I liked very much the "This is our time" project, we worked with students of all grades. I am very sociable so I am very fond of working in groups with people I don't know yet. I also liked very much describing the pictures because I like expressing my ideas and speaking. The classes given in the computer room were fun and dynamic; we are freer in front of the screen…I think we should participate in more projects that involve pupils from the different classes and countries. The "game" against time is not usual at school so we enjoyed it very much.” (Milena, 9th grade on This is Our Time project)

“First of all, I want to thank all of you for answering me back. I see you are all interested in the situation of the homeless people. That gives me the hope to continue fighting for the human rights, because I can see that, like me, many people are also fighting. I think we all know that the world has many problems and that it is difficult to solve them all. But part of those problems is not that hard to solve. The first step is to make people aware of those who haven't got anything and they can help. Little by little, with patience, we will be able to make a difference. I count on you all. Don't ever give up.” (Melanie S. 11th grade in the Squat forum at Viva village)

“Continued human mismanagement of water, population growth and changing weather patterns contribute to the crisis we face today. Here in Brazil, lots of people use water indiscriminately, and after, complain that they don’t have enough water. Don’t you think that environmental education should be part of the school curriculum?” (Ariane 11th grade in the Science Lab Forum at Viva Village)

"Hello everybody!!!! I'm back!!! This is my first post here in 2004!!!! Happy new year for everyone!! (I know that is a little too late!!) Well!!! I hope that this year will be as good as 2003 here on beeonline!!! Our discussion about religion, movies and so one were good!!!! I hope I'll know more about the people from Italy, their lives in Italy!!
A little question for Italians: Do you celebrate carnival there? How do you celebrated it??
Well, that all!!! See you!!!
Rê!!" (Renata, 11th grader, Bee Online Blog)

Students feel the need to be inter- active and communicate their views.

“Hi! My name is Julie and I am a Brazilian fourteen-year-old girl. I study at the Lycée Pasteur, a French school here at São Paulo. Something that pleases me about this school is that Lycee is a great school, and you're able to learn many languages very well. But I dislike the fact that everyday we leave school at about 4pm, or even sometimes 5:20pm... (cause I study Latin, and next year maybe Greek)... I believe the ideal school in the future would be one where you could learn having fun, and have serious discussions with your friends about controversial topics. Nowadays, we aren't allowed to talk in class, and sometimes it's a bad thing, because classes would be much more interesting if you were able to talk about them!”(Julie, 9th grader about Communicating at School in School Forum at Viva Village)

“I think it's a great idea to build the Copabacana Club because we can show to people abroad a different idea of Brazil. Because this country isn't only beaches, girls, parties and carnaval; Ok we've got that but it's also a country that has it's culture, traditions, arts, history... A population with a past that involves much more things than people abroad think and know. With the Copabacana Club we, Brazilians, have the opportunity to talk about the Brazil we know and live in and we will not only exchange and discuss ideas with other countries, but also learn about them. That’s what I think about this new project, and I can't wait until the club is ready to meet everyone....” (The Copabacana Club Hall, Annie, 9th grade)

Welcome back!! How are you??
And (this is more important) DID YOU ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAYS!??
why don't you all tell me how you spent holidays?
'Cause I miss traveling too much and so I can dream and travel by your narrations!!
I really hope that your new school year will be a good one!!And I hope that beeonline will be again full of discussions, ideas, opinions and friends (we missed you :-P !)
with much love,
*Sara* (Bee Online, Sara, Italian student)



I believe I have never learnt, produced and shared so much like in these last seven years. Being involved and fulfilled energizes me contributing to students' motivation and teachers’ growing engagement in the projects. The parents satisfaction and the students’ high degree of involvement when participating in the projects added to the excellent results they obtain in final exams (both in the French baccalaureate and Brazilian vestibular), and their easy insertion in other schools and college make me feel very enthusiastic.

Networking with other teachers and teaming up with communities other than my own has also made me develop the awareness of a larger educational context in which I can learn, help and mentor, independently from hierarchical constraints and bureaucratic unresponsiveness.

This has been an extremely enriching experience. I have collaborated with professors conducting a research, interacted with colleagues from all over the world in communities online, submitted articles about my work, brought people of different levels of expertise together, assisted colleagues in their first steps and met a lot of people from all walks of life, with whom I regularly correspond and exchange experience and views.

Today, I do not come to school only to teach my students and attend scheduled meetings. In addition to my 23 teaching hours a week, I have been trying to foster an open communication channel among all members. As a volunteer I

  • coordinate the foreign language department encouraging colleagues to use collaborative learning techniques, offering support in technology and promoting information sharing;
  • take part in the newly formed ICT committee. I have helped to plan the new computer room by making contacts with experts and visiting other schools to find out what worked best. I am working on implementing the usage of new technologies in the classrooms and urging teachers to experiment;
  • belong to the pedagogical committee. I regularly exchange ideas with colleagues and management about the need for:

    1. larger teacher interaction with students, parents and the wider community;
    2. flexibility ,freedom to experiment and reflection on results obtained;
    3. adapting and adjusting the students' and teachers' timetable efficiently so as to make collaborative learning possible;
    4. opportunities for innovation and professional growth.

We need permanent access to knowledge, exposure, interaction and opportunities for advancement in order to fight burnout and inertia, feel inspired and improve. If we are not actively engaged in learning, do not receive support to carry out our work, invest in ourselves and progress, how do we expect our students to do otherwise?

For teachers from developing countries (like many of us who participate in This is Our Time project), who often suffer from lack of information and opportunities to interact and  progress, collaboration projects help reduce isolation and enrich our experience. Further communication and exchange in communities of practice widens our horizons and through our involvement, we challenge the core of conservative and bureaucratic practices that thwart autonomy, creativity and enterprise.

As we gain autonomy, we become more active, spread out our wings, encompass much more responsibility and have a larger vision of what and how it can be done. We start participating in more and more events and presentations, sharing with others our experience and expertise, and help others in their professional development.


PERSONAL IMPACT (10 points):    TOP

I do not regret a single moment the course I have taken. By starting from scratch, experimenting, facing all the stumbling blocks and scepticism met when incorporating change, I was made acutely aware of my weaknesses and strengths. It has not been easy, as we do not benefit from any grants or teaching time discharge to plan and develop this work. When setting up these collaborative projects, I also had to put to practice a whole array of management and organizational skills which are not usually required in traditional classroom teaching. I believe I have grown both personally and professionally.

During my own evolution, while figuring out how to use the new technologies and include them in my teaching, I was constantly reminded that learning takes time and is not linear. Each individual has her/his own rhythm, needs and style. We are all at different stages of development and we do not necessarily learn and understand what we are taught at a particular moment. However, we certainly learn better when we are given responsibilities and are involved in activities that are meaningful and productive. I have also felt how important it is to be heard and trusted, receive support and encouragement to keep confident and move forward.

This re-construction of the learning process together with close observation in-action and reflection on-action has given me a deeper insight and a wider outlook on my classroom practice, students'/teachers' motivations and community needs.

The journey has by no means come to an end, and I believe it never will. There will always be room for improvement and change, students and teachers to help and encourage, a quality issue to fight for, and new ideas to try out. This is exactly what makes this collaborative learning – teaching - learning so creative, productive and exciting. You never learn so well as when you have to teach … and you never teach so well as when you learn. I also found out that keeping trace of discussions, ideas, what we did, how this was received and communicating the whole process to others, like for instance I am doing now, makes you (and others) see clearer and progress.



In order to promote This is Our Time Project I

  • distributed Time booklets introducing the project to parents, local community and workshop;
  • invited (by e-mail and on community forums) parents and other teachers to participate;
  • sent e-mails with calls for participation and explanation of the project to schools, NGO’s, associations in France, Africa, Portugal and Brazil, listservs, newsletters and mailing lists;
  • submitted information to be linked from other teachers sites and organizations;
  • showcased the project and our students’ activities on my website;
  • sent a press release to educational portals and publications online ;
  • introduced and discussed This is Our Time project and Classroom Twinning Activity at the Euro Language Forum at Tapped in;
  • presented the project and gave a workshop at Cyberlangues2002, in Bordeaux, France.
  • invited Joe Sheik, responsible for the video-conferencing activity, to give a presentation at Tapped In.

As participant and host of the Copabacana Club at Viva Village I have

  • presented the project during a workshop for teachers at school;
  • sent a call for collaboration to build a web quest to be added to the project;
  • prepared a web quest to animate the Copa Restaurant;
  • presented the web quest and the Copabacana Club at Tapped in and Escola do Futuro chat;
  • submitted a link and information about the project to educational portals;
  • invited other teachers from different countries to join the project.
  • invited Phil Benz, project coordinator, to give an online presentation in Brazil

For Europe in Brazil I have

  • created the website as a meeting point.
  • sent a call for collaboration to other schools around Europe through the European Schoolnet newsletter and Education Forum.
  • opened a blogger which keeps track of the conversations held about one of the projects.

Examples of International Collaborative Projects Online were presented on Children's Day in Brazil and on Global Learn Day VII worldwide and have talked about them again in a seminar for Brazilian state public school teachers in February 2004.



The most important assistance is the permanent contact, the open communication, information and support channel you establish with the partners involved. I have used:

E-mailing: to invite, give general information about the projects, point out activities which may be more appropriate for this school or another, clear doubts, correct students’ work, comment on it and give them advice, mentor and guide individual teachers in technical or pedagogical issues, give support and remind partners of timelines.

Forums: to discuss different themes and project outcomes so that everyone can have access and go back to the threaded messages at their own time.

Time Classroom Twinning Community: to leave suggestions to/from different participants, exchange folders, organize lists of students and classrooms in cooperative groups, post lesson plans, tips on twinning, instructions on how to enrol in forums, post news and keep a timeline.

Tapped in – to bring people together in a friendly environment and discuss plans and points of view, present projects and develop activities.

Website: translation from Time in English to French and Portuguese so that all schools can have permanent access to the project: information, activities and contributions. I also maintain my own website on which I post instructions to students and lesson plans.

Blogger: to keep students and teachers in contact with the latest news of the project and make them interact. Instructions are given online on how to open, join and post on a blogger. Comments and reflections on the different phases are also posted, revealing the ups and downs and envisaged solutions.

Our students’ enthusiasm and involvement in Viva Village, for instance, has generated a spark that activated a lot of teachers and ideas. The Copabacana Club is the result of interaction among the students with the graphic designers and different partners. I offered direct assistance to the project by working together with students and teachers on the different forums provided in the village. I posted questions for them to answer and suggested activities.

In addition to this, I participate in discussion lists with other teachers and have moderated Tapped In meetings to share the experience I am having with my classes.



Institutional resistance is the most common obstacle in such projects. Colleagues (and students) working in bureaucratic and authoritarian environments are the ones who are the most exposed to stress, anxiety and bitterness. Their contributions are systematically ignored, their initiatives curtailed and their creativity mocked so many feel that change is not worth it. How to respond to colleagues who write:

"Sorry I didn't take part in the project you suggested last summer but things are rather difficult in my school and individual initiatives are not well considered. It is a very stuffy atmosphere !"

I believe that the first step is to listen to them and encourage communication and interaction so that they can vent their feelings and difficulties, share their successes and get positive support. As this is sometimes impossible in the workplace due to time/program constraints or unfavourable conditions, I introduce them to mailing lists, communities of practice or professional development platforms online. There they become acquainted with what other teachers are experimenting with at different levels of expertise. There they can contact others who may have faced similar situations. There they will find an atmosphere of mutual trust where people respect each other's knowledge.

When you start contributing informally with what you know without being scorned by "experts", you feel more self-assured and willing to involve yourself. From a grumpy, frustrated order taker or overwrought support seeker, you gradually learn to learn, become more sensitive to other people's plights and start giving assistance. As you begin valuing your own voice, you become more autonomous, more creative and more motivated to engage in transformation and acting to make it happen. This applies to all learners, be it students or teachers.

Besides encouraging colleagues to include the collaborative dimension in their learning and teaching, I have formed a group of teachers and students interested in translating the educational material of This is Our Time project into French and Portuguese.

By facilitating the contact of other schools, they are introduced to the material and how to use it in their everyday teaching. The satisfaction and pride in seeing that what they know may help others, and that their work is real, recognized and valued, motivates the students and encourages teachers to develop collaborative work in their classrooms.

Outside school, I participate in and contribute to various online forum communities and lists.

At Tapped In

  • Inform other teachers and get informed of the latest developments in EFL and related areas of interest (Euro Language Forums, Library of Congress, Summer Carnival);
  • Introduce and discuss projects and activities (This is Our Time, Classroom Twinning Activity, The Copabacana Club, the Copa Restaurant food quest and Navegar é Preciso web quest).
  • Share my time and do some beta testing for the new TI platform.
  • Hold meetings at my office with other teachers and project participants to listen to and discuss problems that arise, give support and solve doubts.
  • Invite other people to present their work (eg. Internet in the Classroom, Poems in the Classroom, Job Swap, Safety on the Net, Distance Education, WKTO).
  • Invite and help other teachers to discover the community and its benefits.

At European Schoolnet


At Escola do Futuro Web quest Chat

  • Talk about my experience with web quests in EFL
  • Invite people to talk about their projects (Viva)
  • Co-moderate some chats acting as translator (Bernie Dodge, Phil Benz)

At E-Teach

  • Help EFL teachers in France to integrate ICT to their classes by sharing resources, lesson plans and the information I have.

At Cyberlangues:

At Webheads in Action:

In February 2004, I was invited to present international collaborative projects in a seminar held in order to develop intercultural material online for Brazilian state school teachers.This is the first step towards sharing my experience with teachers in my own country what I have managed to do abroad.

As the cyber path unravels before us, we share and produce more, facilitating the access of schools with fewer opportunities and resources. We create and build with more quality with the partners involved and the colleagues who join us, motivated by good practice and support.

I would like to thank all with whom I have travelled along this road. Some prodded me when I was weary; others offered me their expertise and trust. They have all contributed by sharing instead of hoarding. I have tried to follow their lead.