From the 27th of November until the 1st of December 2020, the Bobbin Lacee group in Spain has been teaching the foreign participants in the project how to make one of the many different types of lace made in this country, which is a decorated tape lace from Extremadura. After having to postpone the meeting, which was to be held in June 2020 in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), it was decided that it had to be done virtually. The Spanish team is prepared to teach face to face, and this change was going to mean some difficulties that would add to the already complex initial challenge.
The preparation that this course has meant for the Spanish team has been “terrific”, to tell you the truth. None of the teachers had any experience in online teaching. But now it can be said with pride that the course has been a success, and that although neither virtual teaching nor large groups are ideal in the field of bobbin lace, they are possible.
A total of 4 groups were formed. Each group was composed of two teachers who would train 10/11 foreign learners from 6 different countries with a different pattern. One of the biggest difficulties was that, although English is the common language required for the project, only 50% actually spoke or understood it. This challenge has been overcome with the willingness and cooperation of everyone.
To ensure that everything went well, the lessons had been prepared very well, contemplating all the possibilities that could arise, such as the network falling, the possible poor quality of the images sent by the learners, the problem of different languages, the different levels of the learners… The teachers had drawn diagrams of the complete pieces and of all the areas of possible difficulty, and they knew perfectly well the technique to be taught. And they knew the pieces almost by heart!
For the classes and meetings a Google Meet platform was used, and this is where all the faces were visible and where the questions were asked and answered. It was actually a virtual classroom. The reason for choosing Meet was that it did not require any installation and this made it easy for everyone to access it. And it is free until April 2021. In addition, the Jamboard, Google’s digital blackboard, was used. This board was shared with the learners, who would send their progress with photographs by e-mail or Whatsapp. On the board they were enlarged and it was easy to point out any errors. Sometimes these corrections were made in writing, using automatic translators so that everyone could understand each other.
The course ended on the 1st of December. This was a very tiring course (6 hours a day of online teaching-learning), but all were happy to have managed to hold a high quality course. Thanks to the teamwork, the course was a success. Because something so big cannot be done by one person alone. We encourage other lacemakers to work together… It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
The Spanish organization team would like to take this opportunity to thank Carolina de la Guardia (Barcelona) for her help with the patterns, the tricks and the photos of her laces; Cristina (Barcelona) for the photos of her mother Josefa Jiménez’s laces; the lace makers of La Giralda (Seville) and those of La Garriga (Barcelona) for the photos of their laces and the corresponding information. All of them have also shown that collaboration is important if we want to go forward.