ELvis 1.0 (2009-2011)
Our goal was to collaborate more closely and do research together, adapting our teaching and learning to the 21st century and to find a way of rewarding participants with a formal accreditation (long-term goal). The first step was to create an attractive International Virtual Learning Environment for all participating schools, where projects aimed to be inquiry based. Teachers of History, Social Science, Modern Languages as well as Science, decided on topics and the approach, during a meeting in Gulpen in December 2008. Teacher professional development was considered key to implementing changes in pedagogy. Teachers were encouraged to lead with action research. This was supported with teacher exchanges and International Department Meetings.
ELvis 2.0 (2011-2013)
By 2011, ELvis was established in an international virtual learning environment, bringing our teaching into the 21st century, with students taking more and more responsibility. The efficiency and accessibility of the platform allowed more students to be actively engaged than via traditional partnership approaches. This encouraged us to explore a deeper and wider range of activities including enterprise (both social and business) and arrange international work experience for example with the support of Rotary International. Schools with a more ‘theoretical approach’ had their designs turned into real products by schools with a more practical side as well. Possibilities for this were increased by the addition of a French school, which is a vocational school. (The schools in Gulpen and Westerlo also have a vocational branch.)
ELvis 3.0 (2013-2015)
The aim of ELvis 3.o was to build on the first two versions of ELvis by introducing the ELvis Academy and Production Workshop. In both ‘branches’ students prepared for external language exams. In the Academy the students prepare for at least 2 MFLs, in the workshop for at least one MFL. Apart from that, students collaborated in an international context, virtually on the vle and in real exchanges as well, thus accumulating ‘credits’ in the form of competences from the CEFC that will be met & ‘ticked’. This resulted in a certificate showing which of the competences had been met by the end of their school career. In the Academy the cooperation was more ‘theoretical’. In the Production Workshop working together was more ‘practical’.
ELvis 4.0 (2015-2018)
ELvis 4.o was dominated by our Erasmus+ KA2 project on identifying, testing and developing International Skills. The partners from As, Ihlow, Enger, Friegericht, Mons, Lecce and Gulpen joined forces with the University of Hull in the ISITPGC project led by Sarah Jones. https://www.isitpgc.org/
We had students interview expats in companies and universities, or those who had worked or studied abroad on what they considered the most important skills needed to study, work or live in a foreign country.
When that was done and analysed and existing models studied and reviewed, we made a framework of competences consisting of 4 domains: Digital Skills, Global Citizenship, Social Awareness and Professional Competences. The framework was the basis of the test that we devised as well as the learning material that can be found in the aforementioned website.
Apart from this, the main project, we also organized a number of concerts, in Enger, Gulpen and Freigericht, 2 video projects, one on the school day in the different partner schools called ‘from Bell to Bell’ (available on the YouTube channel) and one on immigration in Europe.
ELvis 5.0 (2018-2020)
After the intensive project on Global Competences, we felt it was time to take on a less ambitious task. We managed to secure Erasmus+ KA229 funding for the International Skills Put into Practice (ISPiP) project. In this project students are asked to take the test devised in the previous project, then work individually on the learning materials provided on the website to further develop some of the skills that need improvement. After that they set themselves a challenge that can be carried out in either a school, institution for higher education or a work placement. Students then go to a partner school for 7 days, to be trained in the native language (3 half days). They then go and work at their challenge for 2.5 days. The remaining time is dedicated to briefings and debriefings as well as some ‘heritage trails’ showing the students the area immediately near the school and a little further afield. We check whether the objectives have been reached by having the students hand in ‘proof’ on video of what they have done and by having them fill in a survey. Of course the students stay in host families to make the experience really worthwhile.
Beside the ISPiP project there was an ELvis concert in Lecce. We are currently preparing new applications for the ELvis Olympics, a project on the changing appreciation of monuments and a PBL project in Research and Design.
For more information on the various ELvis projects, please click the drop down menu under ELvis 2009-2019 in the main menu tab.