35,000 schools now involved in eTwinning virtual school partnerships

eTwinning is an EU initiative to encourage schools to network with each other over the internet. In the three years since its launch, over 35,000 schools have signed up. At an eTwinning conference held in Bucharest on 14-16 March, the European Commission will be handing out prizes to eight outstanding eTwinning school projects.

The eTwinning action was launched in January 2005, and since then, over 35,000 schools across Europe have joined in. The action is now part of the Comenius programme which is within the Lifelong Learning Programme, the Commission's flagship funding programme in the area of education. The eTwinning action allows schools to find, free of charge, partners for collaborative school projects using the internet. In 2008, the emphasis will shift its focus from projects towards promoting online communities, where schools can share knowledge and participate in discussion platforms in addition to running projects.

This year’s annual eTwinning conference is held in Bucharest from 14-16 March 2008. The event will host over 400 participants, comprising teachers from across Europe, representatives from eTwinning's central and national support services, and other important stakeholders in school education.

The highlight of the conference will be the award ceremony, at which awards will be handed out to eight of the best eTwinning projects from the 2006-2007 school year. There are four categories, three by age (4-10, 11-15, 16-19) and one for Science and Maths.

Over 400 project entries were assessed, based on their innovative nature, integration in the curriculum, collaboration, creativity and transferability. The top eight finalists came from 26 schools from 17 countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

The top four winning projects win a trip to the eTwinning Camp in May. Lists of the winners and runners-up of the eTwinning Prizes 2008 can be found at the eTwinning Portalhttp.