The needs of a new age require a teacher to engage students in a different way which would motivate them, offer them broader knowledge and experience and place them in the centre of learning. A good way to achieve this is by the use of the project method of teaching and connecting the classroom to the world, other classrooms and schools. The availability of new technologies makes this approach to teaching and learning easier in a large degree and allows the teacher to work on himself, share his experience and examples of good practice which he will later apply with his students.
By the use of the project method of teaching and interdisciplinary teaching, our school has been involved in numerous international projects for four years, which deal with various topics such as ecology, safe use of the Internet, creative writing, preserving cultural heritage, creating interactive materials such as a travel guide, collections of folk tales from other countries, international cookery book, re-creation of works of art, creation of an online dictionary, raising awareness of the importance of tolerance and empathy, importance of fostering mother tongue and knowledge of foreign languages, projects related to peer violence, use of music for learning and a great deal of other topics.
Students are actively engaged in the process of learning by this way of learning and they are not just passive viewers. They develop numerous skills such as communication, cooperation, teamwork, critical thinking, solving problem-related tasks, creativity, acquire practical knowledge and improve their digital skills. The project method of teaching creates the opportunity for individualized instruction and gives the opportunity to every student to work at his own pace and to be excellent in some of his activities.
Through a virtual classroom our students have visited a lot of countries such as Brazil, India, England, the United States, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Turkey and many others. By inviting experts via Skype to our classroom, the students have toured many famous places and talked to the experts of various educational backgrounds. What is significant is that when doing this work students gain self-confidence in leading an online meeting very well and, the positive feedback, which they do not receive only from the teacher, is very significant to them. The meetings like these open up a new opportunity for later debates and evaluations, which is also significant for students.
The project method of teaching and virtual connection of the classroom lead to lasting friendships, which leads cooperation to a higher level and these are the visits to partners and their schools in real time, which is also invaluable experience for students and for teachers as well. The creation of the network of partners through virtual projects leads to permanent cooperation and exchange of schools and teachers and further enhancement of teaching.
The task of a teacher is to design the core of a project, be a mentor and support and students themselves can make the project even more interesting by their own ideas. What is the true value and benefit of this way of work is stress on researching, reflexion, analysis, which encourages functional knowledge and the opportunity for the use of the acquired knowledge. Students experience the feeling of belonging to a wider community and become accustomed to cooperation and creation, gradually aquiring necessary skills and strategies.