The pandemic and its associated lockdown and travel restrictions have not stopped King’s Ely students and their friends overseas from enjoying their latest Erasmus+ project.
Last Autumn, King’s Ely secured funding from the European Commission and British Council to deliver ‘The Village’ – a collaborative project involving King’s Ely students and pupils at two of its partner schools, IES Andrés Vandelvira in Albacete, Spain and College Chaloupe Saint-Leu in La Reunion, France.
The two-year project will involve dozens of students from each school and the aim is for participants to explore the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations through the creation of a unique virtual city, The Village, while developing cultural awareness and social interaction in order to create a real context to enhance their language skills.
On February 22nd, Year 9 students at King’s Ely who are involved in the project were meant to travel to Albacete to carry out their first mobility activities, but obviously that could not happen due to the current circumstances. Instead, all three schools organised and have just carried out a virtual mobility experience instead, using ‘Google Meet’ and ‘Breakout Rooms’ to communicate and work collaboratively.
Esmeralda Salgado, Head of Modern Foreign Languages at King’s Ely Senior, said: “We had some ice breaker activities to enable everyone to get to know each other better, created the identities of the people in The Village via ‘Voki’, and learned about circular economy. Students worked collaboratively on the design of their Vokis and created a live poster explaining in French, English and Spanish the concept of a circular economy. Our Spanish guests treated us to a virtual trip to Albacete thanks to the marvels of Google Earth, and all students, working in mixed nationality groups, had the chance to get to know each other and speak in French, English and Spanish.
“Overall, although this could not replace a physical visit and living the Spanish culture first-hand, it was a fantastic example of collaboration, team work and technological expertise that provided students with an opportunity to work together, learn from each other and practise their linguistic skills at a moment when human contact is so needed. Well done to everyone involved in making the first stage of the project such a success!”
In 2019, King’s Ely won a British Council eTwinning National Award in recognition of its “outstanding contribution to international school collaboration”. The award was for ‘United in Diversity’- another Erasmus+ funded project involving King’s Ely and the schools in Albacete and La Reunion.
Once travel restrictions have been lifted, exchange trips will be planned for students and staff involved in The Village project, enabling participants to meet each other, work together and learn more about each other’s languages and cultures.
The MFL Department at King’s Ely is a hive of activity and the school thrives on developing linguistic competence in all pupils while offering a wide range of enrichment opportunities. Strong links with our partner schools, including in France, Italy, Germany and Spain, allows us to make learning a language a rich and real experience.
To discover more about opportunities at King’s Ely, please visit: www.kingsely.org