Pupil mobility during the pandemic

Image: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash.com

Most types of mobility, from one-day trips to semester-long student placements, have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. How are Erasmus+ projects dealing with this unprecedented situation? These three examples prove that pupil mobility is still possible. Not only that, but it hasn’t deteriorated – only transformed!

No Man Is an Island

No man is an island

The project No Man Is an Island borrows its name from a poem by John Donne, according to which “every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” It is an Erasmus+ school exchange partnership involving Finland, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, tackling a variety of interconnected topics, most notably globalisation, migration, social issues, European citizenship, cultural diversity and educational innovation.

The partnership was enriched with an eTwinning project, which earned the 2020 eTwinning Quality Label. It has also produced a Heritage Catalogue, presenting the tangible and intangible heritage that pupils discovered during a given mobility, and an e-magazine compiling pupils’ impressions of their learning activities, among other things.

Naturally, the project also had its share of mobilities: three short ones to Spain, Portugal and French Polynesia, and two long ones to Italy and Spain. As a matter of fact, the Italian pupils and teachers were in Spain for their long mobility when the COVID-19 emergency was first announced, and they were forced to return to Italy. Nevertheless, the project persevered thanks to eTwinning resources, and went on to create a new virtual environment that pupils called Activities in COVID-19 times.

The project started in 2018 and is set to end in 2021.

Sustainable Development Goals Action!

Blended mobility is the driving force behind Sustainable Development Goals Action!, a school exchange partnership among six countries: Bulgaria, Finland, France, Italy, Romania and Spain. Fittingly, its aim is to prepare future generations of pupils for functioning in an interconnected world.

Physical mobility plays a part in the project, but international cooperation through distance learning activities is much more prominent. The project’s main output includes two games – a Scratch game on the 17 SDGs and an “SDGsbox” game – as well as two eTwinning projects, which by their very nature encourage intercultural exchange, enhance communication and foster European citizenship. All in all, the project cultivates an “explorer mindset” that will hopefully improve children’s transversal skills, such as creativity and communication, and spark an interest in STEAM careers.

Sustainable Development Goals Action! was launched in 2019 and is set to end in 2021.

Spaces: responsible mobility incubator

Pupil Mobility Spaces

The new generation is far more mobile than the previous ones, but is it really prepared for this level of mobility? That is the central question behind Li(EU)x, also known as Spaces, an ongoing Erasmus+ school exchange partnership involving six countries: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

The project’s pedagogical activities revolve around ecological mobility, reduced mobility, digital mobility and cultural mobility, shedding light on both their risks and benefits. These pedagogical activities will be collected into a manual of good practices at the end of the project. Within Li(EU)x, pupils are meant to engage in group work, exercise their autonomy and master multimedia productions, virtual classrooms and other common information technologies. In turn, teachers reflect on new pedagogical methods through a working group, with a focus on mobile classes and learning labs. European tools like eTwinning and the Europass CV are instrumental to these efforts.

Pupil Mobility Spaces 2

Despite the pandemic, there is a practical dimension to the project, too. Eight transnational meetings have been planned, in which pupils will undertake learning activities and experience cultural immersion with a host family. In addition, two pupils will join a foreign secondary school for a longer mobility: a French pupil will explore Munich and report back regarding the city’s urban development, in particular its green transportation, while a German pupil will follow an observation course in the Michelin firm and discuss his or her home city’s ecological initiatives with the French pupils.

The project started in 2019 and is set to end in 2022. Learn more about it in the upcoming School Education Gateway webinar!

To discover ongoing and past EU-funded projects in school education, please go to the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform.