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Minutes of the second meeting

The Grundtvig project second workshop was organised in Malta between 16th and 18th April 2010. Project partners and learners which amounted to 37 were hosted by the Maltese partners at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra. The workshop was affected by the by the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjöll ash cloud and the closure of the most European air space. The Irish participants including the project co-ordinator were unable to fly out from Dublin and join to the others. There were problems for some of the other partner returning from Malta and this resulted in extra expenses. The rest of the team was very glad to meet the Turkish partner “on the board”.

The second workshop was devoted to two topics closely related with the project objectives:

  • Training in digital skills
  • Supporting entrepreneurship though creativity and innovation methods

Thursday, 15th April: arrival

The partners who manage to fly and get to the Dolmen resort hotel in Qawra were surprised and disappointed to learn at the reception that their Irish friends could not reach Malta because of closed airports.

Some partners used the time for sightseeing in Valletta, which could be easily reached by the typical yellow busses in about 50 minutes; the Spain and Czech group met at the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

The Dolmen hotel is a very special place in connection with the project, as most of the partners met there for the first time during the contact seminar in December 2008, so this is the place where the project was born.

Friday, 16th April: training in digital skills

The bus took the non-Maltese participants from Quawra to Floriana.The group was welcomed in the Education Division at Floriana by the two Maltese project’s partners, Dr Francis Fabri and Prof. Jonathan Borg. St Theresa College prepared some colourful bags with the project’s logo (including T-shirts and mugs with project logos as well) and were given out to all participants. After both Francis and Jonathan made their short welcome speeches, Francis gave details on the programme of the day to the participants and invited them to introduce themselves.

After the participants’ introductions, the group was divided into three for the three parallel workshops in blogs, videomaking and e-twinning which were carried out by Maltese teachers at the computer labs at the E-Learning Centre. The adult learners shared their ideas and participated with great interest during these workshops. After the workshops the group enjoyed a light lunch at Tal-Kaptan Restaurant at the Valletta Waterfront with a magnificent view of a boat being prepared for the Pope's visit.

Back to the Education Division, the group gathered in the foyer and everyone was invited to give their feedback on the workshops. The outcome was very positive and everyone commented that the workshops were professional and very well organised. Some participants suggested that it would be very beneficial to have these workshop notes on a CD and then disseminated to all learners for better guidance. After this brief discussion our partners from Romania (Daniela) and Czech Republic (Jan, Daniela, Veronika, Czech Republic) made their presentations on Web 2.0 (803.96 KiB) educational potential and voting systems (709.64 KiB) usage in education respectively. These were quite interesting and informative. There was also a small introduction from the Turkish partner (2.04 MiB) on his home institution (Tunahan).

These presentations were followed by a Management Meeting for the project’s leaders in which discussions and planning of the project were held. During this meeting all leaders agreed on dates for next meeting in Czech Republic.The first day of the Maltese workshop, ended with a guided cultural tour by Ms Anna Azzopardi, around the old city of Malta, Mdina with a short stop to see the Mosta Parish church which is very popular for its big dome. The informal discussions followed during and after the dinner at the Dolmen hotel.

Saturday, 17th April: supporting entrepreneurship though creativity and innovation methods

The second part of the agenda was held in Dolmen Resort Hotel. Both Maltese (Franco (1.49 MiB), Jonathan (1.8 MiB), MECB) and UK partners (Abdullah (4.46 MiB), Krzysztof, JPE) prepared both presentation concerning that topics and workshops requiring participants group activities, which brought more communication and discussions.

The afternoon program after a lunch at the Dolmen included creativity in tourism. Again, with Ms. Anna Azzopardi's explanations the team enjoyed a ferry to Gozo island (with a nice views of smaller Comino and Cominotto island) and visited various interesting places: a view point near the Calypso's cave above the Ramla bay, Azure window seaside rocks and a historical city Citadel. After a nice dinner at the Qbajjar Restaurant in the Marsalforn Bay and a ferry back to Malta, the participant thanked and said good bye to their Maltese partners.

Sunday, 18th April: departure

It began on Friday when the TV news said that some airports in several European countries (north-west, central and north-east Europe) had been closed. Nobody knew for certain but it was predictable that some partners might have have problems to go home. The Czech, German, Romanian and UK was informed at the Dolmen reception that their flight were cancelled and forced to make their decision what to do.

An unwanted creativity: going back home

As mentioned above, the closure of the most European air space brought problems to the UK, German, Romanian and Czech participants on their way home and more expenses.

The UK couple had to stay one more night at the Dolmen hotel and in two days and in the evening on Monday, 19th April took an emergency school flight to Toulouse where they found that the French railway was on strike. They had to hire a car and they had to drive through the night to Caen where they embarked on Brittany ferries to Portsmouth and there took a train home to Uxbridge. The outgoing journey to Malta was 3 hours, because the Prime Minister Gordon Brown decided to shut the airports in the south of England, i.e. Gatwick they were unable to secure a flight back so the back journey time was extended by 60 hours and cost nearly an extra 750 Euro.

The German group was not able to get to Berlin according to plan on Sunday the 18th because airports in Germany were closed. The first flight they could catch was on Wednesday. So the four participants had to stay there until Wednesday the 21st in Bugibba. They got home three days later than it was planned.

The Romanian participants decided to take a flight to Rome on Sunday (one of a few opened airports) and then bravely drove to Romania.

The Czech group decided to leave the Dolmen and stay in a cheaper Valletta's Grand Harbour hotel, from which it was easier to reach the airport by bus (and they could see the Pope on the boat in the harbour). On Monday afternoon there was a sudden chance to take a flight to Graz instead of closed Vienna. With the help of a taxi (five participant with all the pieces of luggage + a driver in one older Mercedes car) they manage to catch the flight and happily reach their home at 4.00AM on Tuesday, 20th April.