2. Short description of the Project
To start with, it was important to find a group of schools willing to start the mainly online project for cultural exchange in English. Since KulturKontakt Austria gave us the chance to meet different schools and decide on our favourite topics, we managed to form a group with wide cultural diversity. The teachers started to decide on the possible main topics, possible project outcomes and ways of implementing the exchange. The teachers also planned lessons to use in regular classes as well as extracurricular ones. We thought about the lessons that could be learned within the project and started our project plan.
This shows how the teachers got to know each other and started to plan the project.
1. The most significant point was to give the pupils the chance to be an important and trailbreaking part of the project; it was important for them to influence the project outcome and their ideas needed to be integrated into the planning. The teachers had to have ideas in case the pupils had problems finding a good idea, but otherwise it was their decision to find a means of achieving a good cultural exchange; the teachers' role mainly changed into that of a kind of project manager. After setting the basic conditions regarding the timetable and regular meetings and presentations of the current outcomes, the students had the chance to be creative again.
Before starting to work towards the project outcome, the schools needed to get to know each other.
2. We planned a meeting in Bor, Serbia. There, the first thing was to introduce each school. Each school prepared a small presentation about their home town and schools. These steps were also mainly done by the pupils; they were the ones who decided what might be interesting for other young people their age. Since only four students per school were allowed to come along, it was important to motivate all the students while choosing four students to be responsible, since they were the ones who would attend the meeting.
This picture shows the Danube, our connecting river, from the airplane.
All the pupils who were in Bor, Serbia
Working together and getting to know each other
It was also important to get to know the host culture – A cultural evening with dancing and a lot of eating
Sunset in Bor; the first meeting ends and everybody thinks about the experience gained so far.
3. To start the main part of the project, we arranged the technical equipment and the pupils formed into different groups. We had groups for each topic, school life and free-time activities, as well as a technical group, a legal business group and one taking care of public relations. The first two groups (school life and free time) decided on the content of the videos and wrote a script. The technical group chose the programmes used and the ways to implement different scenes into a video. Legal business had to take care of filming permits and the utilisation of music and other property rights.
These pictures show the project itself: how we presented our schools and project, as well as the filming procedure.
4. To exchange the videos, we needed a platform; therefore we chose two approaches.
The first one was Facebook: Since nearly all students have an account and use this social network regularly, it is no big effort for them to be active there. We created our own group and all participants were invited. There the young people had the chance to engage in exchange about general topics; they started conversations about such things as computer games and favourite music. When the videos were finished, we uploaded them and the students gave comments on them. It was a lively exchange about differences and similarities. The videos were watched and discussed in class.
But for us it was important that not only our closed group be able to watch this video but also everybody who was interested in them, so we uploaded them into a blog provided by KulturKontakt Austria. As well, the schools presented the videos at different events at the schools themselves. These events were planned individually by each school.
Final event in Vienna, Austria after finalising the videos
Austrian media followed our process and made a film about the event: