The European Schools Project (ESP) has been running for several years with the aim of helping schools throughout Europe, and other countries, to collaborate on learning projects using e-mail and, often, foreign languages. More than 300 schools in 25 countries take part.
Among the 24 UK schools involved in the project, a disproportionate number are in Kent, thanks to an arrangement with the University at Canterbury to allow schools to use the Joint Academic Network (JANET) for e-mail. David Marchant, the UK co-ordinator, explained what the project had brought to his school, Homewood in Tenterden: "On March 9 I got an e-mail from a Finnish school and they wanted information about how much a house is, the price of a pair of shoes, a new car, what doctors charge, a kilogram of beef and so on for a statistics exercise they were doing. So I printed a questionnaire, gave it to most classes, we used the computer room for two weeks, and we sent back, electronically, 82 files. These were Year 9 children. They learned word processing, they were doing research, they were learning things without realising it."
The information from Amsterdam is written in Euro-jargon, but the principles are straightforward enough. It has coined the word "teletrips" to mean collaborative distance learning projects designed by teachers, with a strong curriculum element which students from several countries can take part in together using e-mail or Internet connections.
The easiest way to get information about it is electronically from the University of Amsterdam.