Blog Image

Pek, the Traveller Flea 2

Pek, our tiny flea, gets his eTwinning backpack for the second time, ready to visit more countries this year.
Our students will give him life in a comic, sharing his curiosity to learn more about places and languages in Europe.
Creativity and learning in a funny way, is our guide in this project, where collaboration will finally lead to a real comic magazine, Pek 2.



Posted by: Marcos Vence Ruibal


Procedure (let's see how things have progressed for Pek!)

  • Get to know me, was our first activity. The role of pupils expanded  beyond just the creation of the comic. Our teams got to know each other, using the pupils corner. They exchanged point of views, ideas, photos, music in more than 100 posts. In a collaborative work this aquaintance among the students motivated them more, as it was like knowing each other. Using etwinning platform for interacting with peers from other contries in the frames of a school project not only gave them ICT skills but made them realize that social networks can work for educational purposes as well.
  • Look where I live! Each city had a page where posts and photos were presenting the place and displayed information about it. Even in this section, there was interaction among students who were asking specific questions about the place. So, we had a real image of what each place was like and it was easier for all of us to understand then the cultural elements that the comic pages were discribing.
  • Aiming at the creation of the comic, at first each school created its own script, based on the idea of a flea arriving in the city where the school is and once there, something funny happens to him. We had twenty-four imaginative scriptwriters that started this project.
  • Then, our fourteen great cartoonists converted the scripts into comic pages, drawn with black ink in a template. We didn't care about different drawing styles (we love differences and diversity). At this point, sometimes we faced a problem, because some balloons were small and the text to put into too big.
  • Next step was scanning the comic page. We had some problems because of the low resolution of some scanned files. In order to get the best quality, a resolution of 300dpi or more is needed.
  • Scanned pages, instructions, pictures and text files, in both native language and English, were uploaded to Twinspace.
  • Then painters and translators started to work. All of them used Twinspace Forums to solve doubts. Among teachers we used external email too, but it's better to promote Forums communication. There was seventy pupils working as translators... even more, because there were students without Twinspace account, helping in translations.
  • Twelve students at Vocational Training in Computer Science painted the comic pages using The Gimp software, doing a real practice and learning techniques such as gradients, patterns and transparencies. Four pupils more from several schools worked as painters too.
  • All the pages were translated by each school team-members from English to all the native languages.  Some translators didn't need English as bridge language. We have to make clear that it would have been very easy for us to create the comic only in the English version but we wanted to emphasize in the multilingual dimension of Europe and bring students close to languages that they hardly knew. 
  • At the same time, we did a cover contest with seven contestants. Two drawings where used for cover and back cover, and other as illustrations into the book. They all did a good work, proving their imaginative and creative talent.
  • The comic book is published it in PDF, web and paper. Copies are already sent to project's members, school's libraries and NSSs. The final result in paper fulfills our aims.
  • Thanks to Wiki-Boom! activity, some pupils and teachers learnt to create a wiki in a colaborative way, by adding each one his/her own text and images.
  • We used a new collaborative tool, JClic, designing activities in order to foster a better knowledge of the countries, cities and languages, enhancing the communication among the members. We noticed the great potential of this application. Full Avaliation.
  • Merchandising activity was an idea for pupils take part creating their own designs, all related to Pek, to apply in different real objects personalizing them: T-shirts, mugs, bookmarks and stickers. All these items was created and we can join them. Take a look to the showcase.
  • Finally, we thank every school, person, institution that collaborated with us.



Difficulties (things were not always easy!)

  • Twinspace: It would be useful to have the chance to invite a member logged in to have a chat, like in learninglab: Online Friends
  • Twinspace: We need the way to back up and restore data, mainly web content display, forum, blog, etc, but also files and images. We have lost files, folders and web content.
  • Twinspace: Trying to upload big files, like PDFs in "Final results" activity page, we realized that classic uploader works fine, but new one (browse) doesn't accept a 16MB file (when the limit is 20MB). We also checked that if filename already exists, doesn't upload the new file. In both situations, the flash animation shows the process, and finally shows the OK notification, but the file wasn't uploaded. We have to say that 20MB is insufficient for our project.
  • Project Diary: There are several important errors in this application. Blue header doesn't accept the character #, so we couldn't use it in our project's name: "Pek, the Traveller Flea #2". In a post, if a question mark is written, after saving it, this character disappears. We solved it by writing two of them, and application converts it on a single question mark. But the worst bug is that we can't write ampersand character, it's always converted into "amp;". So, we couldn't link files or images published in our Twinspace, because they have ampersand character in their address. Video
  • Scribus: When we try to manage a big file, Scribus can't convert it into PDF. We had to convert each single page into a PDF document. Then, we joined them with pdftk, a command line application. Video




Pek, the Traveller Flea #2 ended up achieving the initial project aims:

  • To know about European places and languages: We virtually visited 14 cities and used 13 languages.
  • To learn to create stories and how to convert them into comics: We had countless ideas that ended up in creating 14 different stories, 7 covers and a comic book design.
  • To learn about software tools such as: Web browser, Twinspace tools (Web content display, File archive, Image gallery, Forum, Wiki, Blog and Chat), Text editor (MS Word and Open Office Writer), Image edition software (The Gimp and MS Paint), Desktop publishing (Scribus), Compress tools (7-zip), JClic and Scan software.

The students got involved in all the procedures required in order to create a real comic book. They invested their imagination, their creativity, their collaborating skills and their knowledge acquired in the classroom in a virtual partnership that led to a real final product: The expected result of a real magazine motivates students very much.

Teaching and learning became more enjoyable. Team working was effective and creating something real, on their own, gave self-confidence to students.

The Pek #2 project combines a creative activity in a European frame, team working in small (school) and wide (European partnership) scale. It embodies development of skills (collaboration, socializing, development of ideas into practice, ICT skills) mostly needed nowadays.

Having the real magazine in their hands, it's a reward mostly appreciated. The school proves that knowledge and skills have practical value.



Quality Label

Finally, we will apply for a eTwinning Quality Label, that is concrete recognition to teachers and schools of the high level of their eTwinning activities. For pupils, this offers a boost to their work efforts, and for the school in general, a public affirmation of their commitment to quality and openness in European collaborative work.

To grant the Quality Label, a project has to broadly achieve excellence in the following areas: Pedagogical Innovation and Creativity, Curricular Integration, Collaboration between partner schools, Creative use of ICT, Sustainability and Transferability, and Results and Benefits.

We believe that our project fulfills all these requirements.


Posted by: Marcos Vence Ruibal, Maria Sourgiadaki, Javier Arza Fernández and Pablo Montero Martínez