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Major school project builds bridges between nations

03.07.2009
A group of students at Berg Upper-Secondary School in Sweden has had an opportunity during the spring to talk about their lives in the province of Jämtland with others in Europe and to think more as Europeans.

They have taken part in a developmental project together with students in six other European countries designed to strengthen the common European perspective.

In European countries, national curricula are written for the schools, unique to each country, where issues involving knowledge, various values, and fostering of citizens are placed in a national perspective.

In a project whose Swedish component is being carried out by the Department of Educational Sciences at Mid Sweden University in collaboration with the municipality of Berg, what makes the students Swedish has been integrated and elucidated in a European perspective, and the shared European dimension has been stressed.

The project, "Bridging Insula Europea," is funded by the European Union Program for Life-Long Learning, Comenius. The project involves schools and researchers also from Italy, Finland, Bulgaria, Cypress, Spain, and Romania. This collaboration has been made possible via two joint Web platforms that have been used for various forms of communication among the students in the different countries.

Ann-Kristin Jonsson, who has been responsible for arranging for students taking the social studies program at Berg Upper-Secondary School to be included in the project, maintains that the project has strengthened the European component of courses, even though the students have largely dealt with their own situation and environment.

One example of this was seen in connection with the EU election in June. She maintains that the students based their thinking almost more on a common European perspective than on a Swedish point of view when they discussed issues in relation to Europe and the election.

The project director at Mid Sweden University, Anders Olofsson, feels that the project has been educational in many ways.

"We have been able to study how a combination of subject integration, international cooperation, and use of ICT can be understood as school development. The project has provided us with several interesting studies for next year," says Ola Lindberg, a researcher in education at Mid Sweden University.

For the municipality of Berg, the work has yielded insights that they plan to put to use in future developmental projects, the first of which will be a collaborative project for the coming school year involving teachers and students in Ecuador.

For more information:

Ola Lindberg, researcher in education, Mid Sweden University, phone: +46 (0)611-86291 or ola.lindberg@miun.se

Anders Olofsson, project director, Mid Sweden University, anders.olofsson@miun.se

Ann-Kristin Jonsson, project participant, Berg Upper-Secondary School, ann-kristin.jonsson@berg.se

Pressofficer Marlene Jonsson; marlene.jonsson@miun.se; +46-70 363 8779

Marlena Jonsson | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

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