From April 9 to 12, 2013 students and teachers from all over Central Europe participated in the aces Academy in Senec, Slovakia. The Academy of Central European Schools is one of the biggest school networks in Europe consisting of 15 partner countries. Every year aces organises a competition for cross-border school projects. The winners receive a grant to implement their project ideas and are invited to international network events like the one in Senec.
230 students, teachers and representatives of the Ministries of Education from all 15 partner countries came together in Senec. The aces Academy is the central network event of the year and a participative platform for exchange on education, a practitioners’ circle and a community of best practice. Besides the presentation and evaluation of the results of their school partnership projects the participants had time to share their experiences and lessons learned.
In various workshops they learned more about diversity and experienced new methods of learning and teaching: What is it like to be someone else, to wake up one day as a totally different person, in another family, different in nationality, with different interests, different appearance and physical capabilities? In another workshop the participants were taught how to use different experience and knowledge of people to solve problems in a creative way and foster innovation. Moreover the students had a lot of fun during a GPS treasure hunting game called “Geocaching”. In mixed country groups they explored Senec while hunting for the hidden treasures.
Award for the most inspiring projects
Finally, at the aces Ceremony on Thursday, April 11th, the five most innovative and inspiring projects were honored with a special achievement award:
Category Student Participation
Project: Growing up with cartoons
Romania: Colegiul National “Mihail Sadoveanu”
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Gimnazija, Mrkonjić-Grad
Slovakia: Gymnazium Petra Pazmana s VJM
Category International Cooperation
Project: Media Hypnoses
Hungary: Ádám Vay Secondary School
Montenegro: JUSMŠ “Danilo Kiš”
Kosovo: Mileniumi i Trete
Category Civil Courage
Project: Media and reality – allies or opponents
Serbia: Politehnička škola
Slovenia: Srednja poklicna in strokovna šola Bežigrad
Macedonia: ASUC Boro Petrushevski
Category Innovative Learning
Project: Media Voices 4 Special teens
Serbia: Škola za oštećene sluhom-nagluve “Stefan Dečanski”
Romania: Special Middle School “Constantin Paunescu”
Category Media Literacy
Project: I dare you to speak up!
Schools involved:Slovenia: Osnovna šola Vransko-Tabor
Slovakia: Základná škola Hrnčiarska
New project competition: Another chance for schools to participate in aces
“I and the others: Discovering diversity around and within me” is the overall topic of the aces call 2013. In today’s society diversity is the norm and no longer the exception: People of different ethnicity, religion, ages, gender and sexual orientation live together and should be treated equally. Schools and especially school projects can offer the possibility to actually interact with people from various backgrounds and to learn from and with each other. Seeing the world through different lenses fosters critical thinking, makes us more open-minded and stimulates creativity – all of which are crucial qualities in the world we live in. Till April 30th schools can submit their project proposals. More information about the on-going contest: http://www.aces.or.at/.
aces – Academy of Central European Schools
The school network aces was founded by ERSTE Foundation in 2006 and is coordinated by the non-profit organisations Interkulturelles Zentrum (Austria) and VČELÍ DOM (SlovakRepublic). Started with six countries today 15 countries are part of the network. aces is supported by the Ministries of Education of all participating countries. Every year a project competition for school partnerships is carried out. An international selection committee chooses the best projects which are awarded with a grant. The awarded schools are supported during their project implementation and are invited to international network meetings like the one in Senec.