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The European Schools and Internet
Up-date report for the period of March 1996-August 97
Created by Kajetan Rodak (Sweden)

The Project “European Schools and Internet” was initiated by Mr. Rafael Simancas - geology teacher at Monte Naranco College in Oviedo Asturias. The main idea is to develop  by means of Internet a partnership between schools from culturally distinct  parts of Europe. The project may be divided in four stages:

  1. To create interlinked websites following the structure:
    • school
    • city
    • region
    • country
  2. To visite the partner schools to learn each others` learning and teaching
    environment school and prepare further actions such as teacher swapping
  3. To use the means of IT to create a continuous communication and
    cooperation between the partner schools
  4. To share experiences of our project with and integrate in the actions of the
    project some partner school from Central/Eastern Europé (we have
    already a contact with a school from the Polish city of Rzeszow that has its
    focus on international contacts, langguages and IT.)

The beginning of the projects was characterised at the KfS College, and at times at the other schools as well, by reoccuring delays and interruptions in the installation and functioning of Internet caused mainly by the supplying firms and the general unreliability and unpredictability of the new technology. Nevertheless, single computer stations with Internet and e-mail were being used in communication with our partners. Since Spring of 1997 the KfS has had a functioning e-mail and internet service in one section of the school.

During December of 96 and January of 97 a cooperation between the KfS and ”Monte Naranco” College in Spain and to a smaller extent with ”Le Likes” took place. English students cooperated on the KfS project ”Young in Sweden – young in Europé” that concerned recent trends in youth culture. Stundents from Spain and from France responded to a questionnaire made by the students from Stockholm. In some cases students stayed in touch via ordinary letters and e-mail until today. At that time there was an interruption in the computer /internet system at the KfS so most of the correspondence had to be carried out by fax and mail. What counts most though is that the cooperation in the trend project was an excellent way of bringing the European dimension to school.

The initial delays in the functioning of the internet in the KfS College made it impossible for us to work on the home pages. Now the new technology is established at school and we have learned a lot from our partners so the home pages are taking shape much faster. The interlinked home pages is supposed the to be the actual result of the project: a meeting place and a discussion forum.

In the meantime, on April 15-22 two teachers from the KfS made a coordinating visit to Oviedo where they also met with our Finnish partners. This was so far the most rewarding event in the project. I deliver the report on the visit on a separate sheet.

Right now the spreading of skills in using e-mail, internet is nearly fullfilled in our schools. That means that all teachers and students know how to use the IT and now when the term has started we are offering our partners to participate in our projects and take advantage of what we may have more expertise in than they. At the KfS we consider the IT instrumental in using new teaching and learning methods e.g. distant learning where students are free to conduct their own research outside school with the help of a laptop computer, digital camera and a mentor being available for consultation at school. The same principle may be applied while working together with partners abroad. E-mail and real life conference via internet is quick, always up-date and …cheap once the technology is in place. Nedless to say, we are aware of the flaws of internet: a source available on-line toay may be removed by its owner tomorrow, lack of laws, abundancy of useless and shaby material etc. That´s why we from the very beginning stress the ethical aspect of using internet.

As far as KfS College is concerned the integration of the EEP in our ordinary school work and the school´s policy is total. Among the hallmarks of the KfS College that converge in the current Socrates EEP are: international commitment, computers are available to all students as an everyday working tool, the use of IT to renew teaching and learning methodology, working in comprehensive multisubject projects.

In a time when political borders are being erased rapidly it is still the economic differences that obstruct free movement of people and the creation of a common European identity. IT appears tp be a very useful means of bringing people closer. UNFORTUNATELY, virtual travelling will be for the time being cheaper and more easily available for large number of people than real travel.

To sum it up, we think that we are now ready to reach out beyond the ”West European partnership” and we look forward to incorporating a Central European school in our project.
At this point we are establishing a partnership with the College "im Wolfganga Goethego" in Warsaw:
The College in Warsaw has two major areas of proficiency: languages and IT- which makes for a promising co-operation with schools from Sweden, Spain, Finland and France.

EEP European Schools and Internet
Report on the working visit to ”Monte Naranco” College in Oviedo 17-22 April 1997

The ”Monte Naranco” College in Oviedo – the capital city of the province of Asturias in northern Spain - is a comprehensive state school with 730 pupils and 52 members of staff. Mr Rafael Simancas – the head of geology department there - is the coordinator of the project. In the visit participated two teachers from KfS. Mr Kajetan Rodak who coordinates the project at the KfS College and Mr Carl-Michael Larsson – a Spanish speaker – who teaches media communication and arts.


  • meet and get to know the teachers and students at ”Monte Naranco”
  • learn about the daily schoolwork at the Monte Naranco College in particular and Spanish schoolsystem in general
  • learn about Asturian history, traditions, culture and the problems of today
  • discuss the further course of the project with our Spanish coordinator and Mr. Kristian Haikala and Rauno Karpinen from the Nurmijärvi College – the Finnish partner in the project
  • share with the Spanish and Finnish partners experiences of project work at the KfS
  • test and practise the latest software in the field of IT, sound and graphic
  • test the real time conference with other colleges

Tuesday, April 15 1997

Arrival at the airport of Asturias
Checking in at the hotel
A guided tour through the historic city centre of Oviedo. Introduction into the history of the city itself, its inhabitants and the province of Asturias characterized by a strong sense of regional identity, in fact quite common in federal Spain. What makes the Asturian regional identity distinguishable from the rest of Spain is the fact that Asturias was never conquered by the Moors and the emphasis that Asturians put on their Celtic origins and some Viking influence in the past.

Wednesday, April 16

First visit at school. The Swedish teachers were officially greeted by the acting headmaster and then they met with the teaching staff of the school. They were introduced to the working routines: timetable, courses, classrooms, teaching materials, gymnasium, library etc.

The Swedish teachers participated in lessons of English, Spanish, Arts and computers. After the classes a meeting with the pupils took place. The topics of the conversation were the learning conditions, the marking system, curriculum, how to incorporate the ideas of united Europe in schoolwork, a comprehensive comparison between the Swedish and Spanish school systems. After the lessons C-M Larsson and K. Rodak continued talking with their Spanish counterparts about pedagogics and school related issues. The basis of mutual interest is the experience that the KfS college has in innovative teaching methods and Monte Naranco`s greater experience in organising students exchange and making home pages.
K. Rodak met with the English teacher Ana Perez Montoto and a group of her pupils who were cooperating with KfS students in the project “Young in Sweden – young in Europé. Trends in youth culture”. K. Rodak gave them feedback on the results of the project. The results of the project were made at the KfS College in the form of learning logs.

A visit at the media centre of the University of Oviedo which supports the Monte Naranco with expertise in computer service and IT. The Swedish teachers were shown the technical equipment and the computer classes for overseas students.

In the evening K. Rodak and C-M Larsson were invited to join a Parents - Teachers Association meeting which gave them a unique opportunity to experience school democracy at work at “Monte Naranco” and get an insight into the kind of problems and issues being discussed on such an occasion.

Thursday, April 17

The day began with a visit at the sewage treatment works and purification plant at Salinas. The plant in Salinas highlights two important things about Asturias: on one hand the gravity of environmental damages done to soil, air and water and on the other hand the determination and practical measures that were taken to solve the problems. The manager of the plant spoke with pride of the modern purification technologies that are product of domestic Asturian research and quite ahead of similar technologies elsewhere in Europe.

In the computer centre of Monte Naranco some work on the project itself was done with Kristian Haikala – the computer and IT teacher from the Nurmijärvi College, Rauno Karpinen – the deputy headmaster of the school and Rafael Simancas plus other Spanish teachers. A real life conference and other kinds of communication by internet were tested and practised with the KfS and Nurmijärvi colleges. A journalist from the local newspaper – La Voz de Asturias - made some pictures and made an interview about the project that was published on April 21.

In the afternoon there a was a joint trip with some colleagues from the Monte Naranco to two major Asturian cities: Aviles and Gigon. It was at the same time a trip through Asturian culture and way of life characterized by exceptional hospitality and generosity.

Friday, April 18

Another visit at school, participating in classes and further discussion with Spanish and Finnish colleagues. K. Rodak talked with his Spanish counterparts about issues concerning foreign language teaching and ways and experiences of bringing the European dimension in the classroom. K. Rodak and his Spanish colleagues decided to continue to use e-mail and and Internet to communicate with their students.

C---M Larsson discussed with Spanish and Finnish colleagues the use of computers and the increasing role of computers and internet in school e.g. a local network and the use of computers in distant learning. The KfS college is going to set up a local network in the Autumn term of 97. The system will be used in e-mail communication with partners and own students and teachers abroad, and to stage real time conferences between the partner schools.

The second part of the day was devoted to a visit at the local school authority and a meeting with the local school inspector and Ms. Pilar Cortejoso – the person responsible for coordinating the EEP projects in the province of Asturias. The Spanish officials informed their guests about the overall situation of schoolsystem in Asturias which is being heavily reformed at the moment; among other things towards more decentralization, modernization of the curriculum and a closer cooperation with other institutions in the community.

Among the colleagues of Monte Naranco there was a lot of anxiety and plenty of questions before the shift of responsibility for schools in Asturias from the federal Government to the local school authorities. The teachers from Sweden and Finnland contributed with some comments and observations on the system after having experienced it for a couple of years.

Saturday, April 19

The whole day was spent in the mountain range of “Picos de Europa” where the Scandinavian guests and their Spanish hosts went hiking through the local forests and mountain vallies. It turned out to be a memorable experience of Asturian landscape, nature and country side. As it become the hallmark of Rafael Simancas`planning scheme the Swedish and Finnish teachers were accompanied by a new party of Spanish teachers which made it again possible to have interesting conversations and exchange of opinions with new partners.

Sunday, April 20

Another trip through the Asturian countryside.

Monday, Appril 21

A visit to the coal mine “Maria Luisa” where the teachers were informed about the industrial past of the region which led to a better understanding of the present structural economic crisis of this area. In a converstion with the PR officer and the staff manager of the coal mine the visitors learned about the overall context of the social and economic problems of the province.

Asturias with its rather poor weather conditions, pictoresque but rough Atlantic shores and a culture closer to Ireland than the classic Mediterranean can hardly compete with southern Spain with regard to attracting large numbers of tourists willing to spend their money there. In such a situation – when the federal government in Madrid seems to be far away – the authorities and ordinary citizens see their future in a united Europe where they consider their prospects of getting ahead bigger than now.

Maybe at this moment it is necessary to comment the unusual outfit that can be seen in the pictures attached to the report on the trip to Oviedo on-line. It is actually an authentic picture of what we looked like after walking 500 metres down to the mine shafts and actually working there for a while … that seemed eternity. It was once in a lifetime experience, indeed.

Tuesday, 22 April

Departure home


The most tangible result of the stay in Oviedo is the fact that we met and established a personal relationship with our partners in the project and the pupils. We shared with each other our special esperiences and competence: The KfS innovative teaching methods and experience of cooperation between a school and an enterprise, Monte Naranco a scheme of student exchange and Nurmijärvi expertise in computers and home page making. The fourth partner Le Likees in Quimper contributes with humanities, liberal arts and languages.

The major goal of the project – which is creating school home pages linked to each other as a meeting place and a pedagogical tool of learning and teaching – has gained more momentum. It must be said however that making home pages may be delayed by unexpected obstacles. I have already mentioned on another occasion the unreliability of technology. Another thing is that both teachers and students are reluctant to cooperate when it comes to publishing on-line person related information.

Among other things that we agreed on and made specific commitments to in terms of time and contents I would like to mention the following:

  • teacher swapping between KfS and Monte Naranco
  • continuous exchange of information and communication via Internet
  • making student links on our home pages
  • conducting joint projects in English with emphasis on learning each other`s customs
  • and culture
  • participation in the KfS scheme to develope forms and methods of distant learning and multimedia offices with e-mail, sound and video
  • disseminate the experiences of IT and transnational cooperation to a school from Central Europé

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