ACES -Home
Academy of Central European Schools
an initiative of ERSTE Foundation
coordinated by Interkulturelles Zentrum
in cooperation with VČELÍ DOM

aces Newsletter 06.2013

Dear teachers, students and project partners,

This is a new edition of the newsletter for aces (Academy of Central European Schools)! It includes the latest news from the aces community and provides additional useful information. It is disseminated to all schools that have participated in aces so far, as well as to project partners.

Contents

 

aces news

 

  Awarded schools and projects 2013/2014

  Scrapbook and Photo Contest

  aces Schools Online Map

  Other web features

  aces Council

  Reshaping aces

  New contact persons in the Ministries of partner countries

 

aces events and reminders

 

  aces Kick-Off Meeting 2013

  Reminders for current projects participants

  Certificates of Participation

  Reminder: aces dance

  aces Academy 2014

 

Other information from:

 

  ERSTE Foundation

  Interkulturelles Zentrum

  VČELÍ DOM

 

Useful links and resources

 

  Websites and tools for online cooperation

 

 

 

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aces news

  

 

The overall theme of the project contest 2013/2014 was “I and the others: Discovering diversity around and within me”. A total of 220 applications were submitted (217 of them were eligible) from a total of 507 schools. With the available grant budget aces was able to award 44 projects involving 105 schools from the different partner countries. You can look up the details of the involved schools in our new interactive aces Schools Online Map on the aces website, and a few project details and photos in the section “Awarded Projects 2013/2014”.


Project teachers/students of 2013/2014: Please do not forget to provide a short description of your school and your project and keep this information updated!


 

 

aces Scrapbook

We have a special offer for the more than 3.000 fans of the aces Facebook Page! As of 20 November 2013, you can use our newly developed aces Scrapbook App. It will give you the opportunity to design the cover photo of your facebook profile in an innovative way by integrating photos from aces activities, an emoticon and a memo. The aces scrapbook will be available from 20 November 2013 until at least end of February 2014. Depending on its success, the duration might be extended. Check it out!

 

aces Photo Contest (first edition)

On 18 November 2013 aces has launched its first photo contest for students! In the 2013 edition we are calling for photos in relation to our topic of the year: Diversity. !!!Important information!!! The duration of the aces photo contest has been extended: Until 10 January 2014, 23:59 CET every student who has been participating in an aces school project and is between the age of 12 and 18 years still has the chance to  register and upload one photo on the issue of diversity on https://apps.facebook.com/acesphoto.
Between 11 January 2014 and 31 January 2014 (23:59 CET) every registered user will be able to choose his or her preferred photo per category (age group) in a public voting. The two categories are: 12-15 years and 16-18 years.

The gallery of uploaded photos is now also visible for unregistered users. Please keep in mind that the photo you submit should clearly be related to issues of diversity and that you need to guarantee that you hold the copyrights of the submitted photo. Photos that involve violation of copyrights will not be eligible for the contest and might therefore be deleted by us before the voting process starts.

The top three in each age group will receive material prizes: the volume of photographs: „A Day in the World“ and/or the manual: How to Photograph Absolutely Everything and/or their submitted photo printed on a bag and/or canvas (depending whether they are ranked 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their age group).

 

 

 

We proudly present the new aces Schools Online Map that comprises all schools that have participated in an awarded school partnership project since the start of the programme in 2007. Take a look at this Google-based map and zoom in and out of “acesland” in order to see the geographical location of over 400 aces schools in all fifteen participating countries. The map is connected to the school network section, so you can retrieve information about the schools and their projects simply by clicking on the respective links. Additionally, we kindly ask you to check whether your school is located correctly on the map. If not, please follow these detailed instructions.

 

 

 

New entries, including workshop descriptions from the Kick-Off Meeting 2013 on diversity and project management are available on "aces methods".

 

In the “topics” section new material on the theme of the current aces project cycle - diversity - has been added.

 

 

 

The aces Council is an advisory board within aces composed by four students and four teachers from different partner countries. It is for aces like a “bridge” between the participants (students and teachers) and the aces management, voicing needs, opinions, feedback as well as new ideas and giving recommendations for improvements and further strategic planning. We have recently appointed four new Council members.

 

New Council members selected in 2013:

 

Council members still in duty since 2012:

 

 

 

aces came into the world of education and international cooperation more than 7 years ago and has become one of the largest international school networks in Central and South Eastern Europe. More than 25.000 pupils and almost 4.000 teachers have been involved in aces projects and 3.500 people have attended one or several of the numerous aces events. A key factor for the great accomplishments of aces has been the enthusiasm of everybody involved: students, teachers, Ministry representatives, trainers, support staff, project coordinators, etc.


After 7 years of aces and loads of experience we feel the need to reshape some parts of aces in order to keep it successful. We want to:

  • evaluate what aces has achieved so far

  • compile, assess and edit collections of educational methods/tools and didactic concepts (that have been applied in the context of aces)

  • make aces-know-how more accessible to others

  • introduce new network activities and communication tools

  • merge our various online presences and relaunch the aces website

  • take aces to a next step and further build on its success.

     

2014 will be a year to harvest aces achievements, methods and tools and to sow new seeds for educational innovation, cooperation and dialogue of students and teachers in Central and South Eastern Europe. Therefore the next call for aces school projects will not be launched as usual in February 2014, but in the following year.

 

 

 

aces welcomes the following new representatives of the Ministries of Education of the partner countries:

  • Montenegro: Ms. Milodarka Mitrović (since September 2013), Ministry of Education and Sports; Department for International Cooperation and European Integration

  • Moldova: Ms. Carolina Prisăcaru (since March 2013), Ministry of Education Department of International Relations and European Integration

 

 

 

aces events and reminders

 

 

This year, the Kick-Off Meeting had 260 participants and took place in Bucharest, Romania, from 30 September – 4 October 2013. The delegations of 44 aces projects (project cycle 2013/2014), composed by 208 teachers and students from 15 countries participated and met each other for the first time. They had the opportunity to further develop and plan the implementation of their projects, to work and cooperate together on the topic of the year, "Diversity". This meeting gave them an opportunity for getting to know the project partners and making new friends from all 15 aces countries as well as having fun together.


The report of the Kick-Off Meeting, some of the methods used to approach the topic “Diversity” and detailed descriptions of all workshops are already available on the aces website on "aces methods". You can find lots of pictures of this connecting and inspiring event on the aces Facebook page.

 

 

 

If you are taking part in a current aces project you are requested to upload information and pictures to your project’s site on the aces website. You find all current project sites here. Please complete or update your school’s profile on the aces Schools Online Map, which you can find in the aces School Network. Finally also remember to post important project events and partner meetings on the aces web calendar.


Instructions on how to do all this and login information has been sent to all project teachers of the project cycle 2013/2014 on 11.10.2013.

 

 

 

Teachers and students of completed aces project cycles (from the aces project cycle 2008/2009 onwards) can request a certificate attesting the participation in an aces project online by following this link and filling in the form: http://www.aces.or.at/start.asp?ID=241165.


Certificates of the current aces projects 2013/2014 can be requested only after the aces Academy, from April 2014 onwards!

 

 

 

During the last project cycle the aces dance was created. It has been presented at the aces Kick-Off Meeting 2012 for the first time. Subsequently more than 50 aces schools performed and filmed the dance in their hometowns throughout the project cycle and sent us their videos. From all contributions we have edited an aces dance film in which participants from different countries are virtually dancing together! This video was presented at the Kick-Off Meeting 2013 in Bucharest, and you can watch it on vimeo or on our facebook page and in our youtube channel.


If you want to learn and perform the aces dance together with your project groups and download the song, please go to our aces dance website. In order to watch the instruction video, please check out the basic version and the advanced version on the vimeo website.

 

 

 

The next aces Academy will take place from 1-4 April 2014 in Senec, Slovakia. It will be attended by approximately 280 participants: teachers and students from aces projects 2013/2014, Ministry representatives, jury members, Council members, trainers, journalists and aces team members.

 

 

 

Other information from:

 

 

Dear aces-colleagues,

ERSTE Foundation has initiated aces and we are working in close partnership with Interkulturelles Zentrum and VČELÍ DOM. What is more, between 2005 and last year, the foundation has supported almost 900 different projects in our part of the world.


aces is one of our flag-ship projects. Another major project deals explicitly with social integration. We do this by awarding a prize, the ERSTE Foundation Award for Social Integration, and by making sure that the many NGOs that are in contact with us know of each other, too. For this reason we created the Social Integration Network in 2008.


The idea behind the network is to offer a “roadmap” of best-practice social-integration projects in Central and South Eastern Europe. You can find here all the finalist organisations of our Award for Social Integration from the past 4 editions. Now, with more than 350 members and with projects from 13 different countries, it’s safe to say that this network is second to none. Please take a look, and see if there is any listed NGO next to your school, which can help you while you’re working on your diversity projects:

http://www.socialintegration.org/network/

The map might remind you of the aces map which we are very proud to have. Let´s stay connected via our newsletter or social media.

 

Very best wishes from the aces team within ERSTE Foundation

Knut Neumayer and Robin Gosejohann

 

 

 

“Discover Diversity and Global Education” - International Workshop for teachers

From 20 - 23 November 2013 the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, Interkulturelles Zentrum and the Strategy Group Global Learning host an international workshop for teachers from the member states of the Council of Europe within the framework of the Pestalozzi Programme of the Council of Europe. The main focus of the workshop is Global Education and diversity education – with a special focus on international school linking as a method and tool. Practical ideas for the classroom, visits to schools in Vienna (including two aces schools) which engage in Global Education are part of the programme as well as theoretical input and background information about diversity as challenge and chance for societies and schools alike.

 

1914-2014: Europe Lost & Found in War and Peace – School Network 

Interkulturelles Zentrum has recently launched an international school project commemorating the First World War Centenary. It involves nine schools (including two aces schools) from Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, France, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey and will run until December 2014. The schools have already started working on the issues war / conflict / peace / Europe and will share their experiences and results. Outputs will be the implementation of pilot activities on European peace, history and civic education as well as the development of teaching materials. The project is financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and subsidized by the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria. The project’s advisory group involves EUROCLIO – the European Association of History Educators and the Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education at the University of Klagenfurt.

 

 

 

In 2013 VČELÍ DOM actively cooperated on the Trampoline 2013 – a series of educational activities for non-profit organizations, lead by the non-profit organization Voices. In partnership with Voices we supported the 2nd NGOs conference - Jump 2013 – “Slovak-Czech” platform for networking, informal education, motivation and inspiration for the NGOs leaders and activists, students and people from private and public sector.


In January 2013 VČELI DOM launched the project Harmónia 2013 aimed at improvement of language and communication skills of children and young people living in Harmónia (Harmony) children´s home as well as at promotion of special pedagogic and psychological knowledge and skills for professional and auxiliary staff through professional lectures and seminars. In September we started cooperation with children’s home Malacky, launched our volunteer network of language lectors and initiated cooperation with INEX on cross-cultural education.

 

 

 

Useful links and resources

 

 

At this point, we would like to suggest some websites which could be of interest for you. Rather than suggesting further websites and resources on the yearly topic diversity (please see the extensive section on the topic on our website for further information), we’d like to turn your attention to different tools and websites that might help you to cooperate online in your projects. All of the presented services have a cost-free basic version (some of them have advertisement). Most offer a “pro-version” that usually should not be necessary for the frame of project work. We are aware that some of you might already know these tools, but they might give insights to others.

 

Remark: There is controversy about the privacy settings and data safety of most of the presented services. Summing up these discussions is next to impossible and would definitely exceed the frame of this newsletter. Please be aware of these issues and get informed once you decide to use one of the tools presented below. Please also visit our section on internet resources on our aces-tools website.

 

Sharing and synchronising files online (online storage systems). Example: Dropbox

www.dropbox.com

You can upload documents of different kinds to your dropbox (up to 3 GB), save them online and share them with your project partners. If you download dropbox, your files will be synchronized whenever one of the partners with whom you share the documents makes a change in the respective document. How can it help in your project: Instead of emailing one document back and forth all the time, you can upload it to dropbox and share this folder with your project partners. That way all project partners can access the same document all the time.

 

Sending large files (too large for email). Example: Sendspace

www.sendspace.com

Sometimes documents are too big to send them to your partners by email. And even if you can actually send individual documents, it takes a lot of time to send the documents per email, one by one. This website allows you to send several documents at the same time and also allows you to share documents up to 300 MB. The documents are uploaded to the website and you can share the link for downloading the documents with whomever you want.

 

Working simultaneously on the same file online (collaborative editing) and online storage of files. Example: Google Docs

https://drive.google.com/

Using Google Docs you can work together simultaneously on spreadsheets and documents. The files can be exported as e.g. word or excel files. You need to establish an account on Google Drive to access the services and share the documents with your partners (who also need to establish an account). We made good experiences with the spreadsheet function which enables you to work simultaneously on a spreadsheet that is compatible with Excel.

 

Calling your partner for free: Online video or audio conferences. Example: Skype

www.skype.com

If both partners establish a skype account, you can call each other for free. You need to have an integrated microphone option on your computer (most have this option) and if you want to use the videoconferencing option you also need a webcam (integrated in more modern laptops). Videoconferencing allows you not only to hear your partner, but to see them as well.

 

Sharing videos online. Example: vimeo

www.vimeo.com

Vimeo allows you to share your videos online. Opposite to youtube, there are no ads, and you can choose who can see your video (options: everybody, only certain people, only those who have a password, or nobody – you just use it to store your own video online).

 

Schedule a meeting online. Example: doodle

www.doodle.com

Sometimes agreeing on the preferred day and hour of a meeting per email can be a lengthy process, with a lot of emails being exchanged before you finally agree on a date. Especially if there are more than two parties involved. You can shorten this process by offering several options to your partners through doodle. You set the choice of possible meeting dates (and hours), send a link to your partners and they mark the times that would be suitable to them.

 

Sharing good quality photos online. Examples: Pinterest, flickr

www.flickr.com, www.pinterest.com

If you are sharing more than just a few photos (you could do this e.g. on dropbox or facebook) and if the quality of the photos is very important to you, e.g. if photography plays an important role in your project, then using a specialised service for sharing photos online might be a good option for you. The above mentioned options both require registration and allow you to upload and share vast amounts of pictures in a high quality. Please take care about copyright and personality right issues!

 

Holding classes online (E-learning platforms). Example: moodle

www.moodle.org

Moodle is an online learning platform. It helps educators to establish pure online courses or to support real-life courses with online organisation, material and resources. It comprises options such as providing content (documents) to a group of students, discussion forums, up- and downloading files (e.g. handing in homework online), an online calendar (showing the different deadlines in your project), various plug-ins, etc. You can use moodle to share data, assign tasks, collect minutes from meetings, etc. all in one service.

 

Blogs. Example wordpress

www.wordpress.com

Imagine writing a project diary that is accessible to everyone on the internet. That is essentially what a blog is. You can share photos, videos, write updates about your project developments in regular intervals or just share your thoughts with the world. On wordpress you need to sign up to establish a blog, but people can read your blog without signing up.

 

Making websites. Examples: yola, weebly, moonfruit

www.yola.com, www.weebly.com, www.moonfruit.com

You can establish a website together with your project partners in order to present your project online. If you want to do so, but you are not experienced in this field, there are websites with the purpose to help you make your own website. They offer ready-made designs and step-to-step instructions on creating a website. Please be aware that only the basic services are for free. Please compare the websites and check which one is most suitable for your project.