Category Archives: Schools

Schools involved.

Erasmus 3T – Collaborating in Bedford 


This time teachers and school developers from Denmark and Finland gathered in Bedford for a week in October. The week was full of different school visits, great conversations about the English educational system and observation of the three T’s (time, talent and technology (and trust)).  


Our visit to England started with a reunion in a local restaurant. After a fun evening together it was time to start the activities. On the first day we had a chance to visit the University of Bedfordshire. It was very interesting to hear about the English school system. We spent the next days in different schools where participants got to know the school, observe lessons and even teach microlessons. The last day of the week provided again an opportunity for each delegation to present their thoughts and reflections to each other and discuss together.  

When discussing technology we found similar things that came up in both Finnish and Danish reflections. For us technology education in England seems like a separate entity from other education. This led to discussions about how to integrate technology in schools in order that it would be helpful and useful in pedagogical way.  

Reflections on talent included discussions on grouping of pupils and ranking. One big topic was also trust. We noticed that headmasters trust their teachers but the lack of trust is evident from the government’s side and that leads to ongoing testing and registrations.  

In a time perspective we talked about structured lessons and classrooms. Everything seemed to be very structured and that was one thing that was different from Finnish schools where we don’t have strict schedules and pupils may have just one or two tasks per lesson. Overall our visit to Bedford was great and we learned a lot about the English perspective to education and at the same time gained new insight into our own system. 

Asta Ansolahti and Kati Sormunen / The Innokas Network 

Jaana’s and Alice’s GEC project in Beijing


Our collaboration with students started with the games and the presentation about Finland. After these students made posters about the similarities and differences between China and Finland. The most popular similarities were four seasons, but the most popular difference was the lenght of summer time. About the school students were very eager to know that there is a free hot lunch in Finland, but in China they had to pay for their lunch. One of the biggest difference was the free-time that Finnish students have a lot and Chinese students only sometimes.

On the second time we met the students we played the Finnish game called “Juoru” (gossip in English). During that game students had to whisper to the next one what they did hear from the previous student. The main point of that game was to demonstrate how the sentence changed when it was told by many persons. The same thing happens with the gossips – they are not the same after many persons.

After playing students started to think about the basic knowledge of our playground equipment theme. In that case we used the method called “Learning cafe”. During that the groups of students moved from the table to another one and thought about the themes one by one. The themes were materials for the real equipment, materials for the model equipment, structures of the equipments, adjectives of the equipments of students’ dreams and places where to place designed equipments. During working students were allowed to use dictionaries and Internet to find translations and information. When every group had go through all themes, groups presented the ideas what was written down on the mind maps and we had a discussion about all themes.

Students designed their playground equipment by using the planning paper. They drew a picture of the equipment and wrote down the main details of it, f. ex. the height, width, the size of the model, materials for the real one and for the model and also they thought where to place their equipment in their own school yard.

When the plannings where finalized, students gave feedback to other groups. For the second time we used the method called learning cafe. After getting the feedback, students improved their plans.

After planning it was time to build the miniature of their own school. During our demo lesson students continued their work and build the playground equipments that they planned before.

The conference participants followed the stream of our lesson in the Hall of Achievement. During our lesson there was also a interpreter who translated our lesson into Chinese. After the demo lesson we teacher went to the stage, presented our project and answered all questions asked by the audience.

We also presented them a video that tells what we had done during the Spring in Finland and in Taiyuan.

-Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu-

2017 The 5th Annual Elementary Education International Conference – Our School-Neighbor’s School

Global Educational Community and The Authentic Learning Institute held an international conference in Beijing on the 8th-9th June.


Innokas-Network had an important role by taking Finnish teachers to work and co-operate with their Chinese colleagues during the conference week. Before that teacher-teams had collaborated by planning and implementing projects on learning environments in their own countries. A few days before the conference teacher-teams met in Beijing and modified their projects. Moreover, Finnish teachers educated and supported their Chinese colleagues on the innovation process. The aim was to model Finnish teaching practices to Chinese teachers in authentic learning sessions.  To do so, there where Chinese students from different areas from China. Finally, teacher-teams gave demo-lessons to conference participants. The demos were reflected by the audience teachers and all the participants from the Beijing Normal University and Beijing Capital University and elsewhere.

Panel discussions were important parts of the conference. Minna took part in the discussion about the equality in Finnish schools and Finland. Johanna’s panel discussion was about the authentic learning. Both discussions were held in Chinese, so Finnish panelistics had an interpreter to keep them aware of the main point of the discussion.

Minna had a keynote speech about the Finnish school system and new curriculum, Innokas network and teaching practices. The main points of her speech were the phenomena and project based learning, collaboration between students and teachers and students based learning.

Moreover, the Finnish participants took part in the radio interview about the equality in Finland, transversals skills, multidisciplinary learning units and Finnish school’s success in PISA assessment. They also discuss the learning outcome and the main point of the new curriculum and it’s affects in nowadays’ Finnish schools.

-GEC team 2017: Minna K., Minna K., Johanna, Raini and Jaana-

3D creations

On the 18th and 19th of May we had a work shop in Robocup event in the university of Oulu. In that work shop the participants had a possibility to test 3D pen. The idea was to plan a school yard of their dreams and some playing equipments and constructions to the yard. The work shop was very popular and we got so many great creations made mostly by kids but also by the adults who took part to the event. Here are some photos of the creations that were made.

Petri, Jaana and Minna

GEC project about the school yard of students’ dreams

My and Junfang’s GEC project is about designing the school yard of students’ dreams. We have started our co-operation via WeChat, wrote the project plan and started the project with our students in May. The co-operation has been successful and WeChat very convenient way to keep in touch.

The main idea of our project is to design and build the playground equipment of students’ dreams and place them to the miniature versio of students’ own school yard. During the project students learn how the supporting structure of the playground equipments (f. ex. triangle structure, reinforced bars etc.) affects on safety. They also learn to design and build the playground equipments of their dreams, they test which material is the best option for the making a model of the playground equipment (paper, toothpins and marshmallows, 3D pen or modelling clay) and they also learn to make a video by using their own mobile phones or school’s digital cameras while documenting their work.

During the project students will work in groups of 3-4. At first all students study the knowledge about the playground equipments after seeing the pictures of equipments. They will study knowledge by searching answers to these questions: what kind of structure of the playground equipment is strong (f. ex. triangle structure, reinforced bars), what kind of shape of the playground equipment is strong and suitable and which are the best material for the real playground equipments and why they are the best options. They will also write down adjectives which describe the equipments of their dreams.

After studying the basic knowledge students will design their equipment by drawing it and writing down the main words they will need while presenting their plans. After that they will build, fold or mold their equipment and place it to the miniature versio of their school yard.

Junfang will build the miniature version of their school yard in Taiyuan before coming to Beijing with her students because they need the pictures of their school’s walls.

– Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School –

Fulbright teachers visiting Oulu

Two Fulbright teachers from USA visited our school before the winter holiday.

On the first day in Oulu they visited the lukio of Oulunsalo. During that day they saw how the students use e-books and different software f. ex. during the Maths lessons, heard about the Finnish lukio system and interviewed a few students about the futuristic world.




On the second day of their visit they visited our school in Metsokangas. Steven’s morning started with the interview with 9th Graders and Nat took part in the Chemistry lesson. After that they both had a possibility to visit the Handcrafts lesson with 6th Graders, then they visited our modern campus Korpimetso and after that they had a presentation for 6th Graders who heard information about their home country and after the presentation the 6th Graders asked them many questions about the theme.

The visit was excellent and it was a great possibility to our students to talk with native speakers while the students guided Nat and Steven from different class to another class.

– Minna, Petri and Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School-

3D DIY products


6th, 8th and 9th Graders of Metsokangas Comprehensive School have got a new technological tool: 3D pen. They are all very eager to plan cars as a group work and a few groups have also started to make their own car. When all cars will be ready students will organize the car show.

Some groups have also planned to make the Eiffel tower, Pyramids and helicopters so after this Spring our students will have many 3D DIY products made by using 3D pen.

– Jaana, Petri and Minna from Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu –


The Project of the Kitchen Waste


In this update I’ll shortly tell you about the China co-operation which happened in summer 2016, the aims of the co-operation and specially of meeting the Chinese students. Co-operation brought up many new ideas, notices and particularly lovely memories. Making a short blog posting of this material has been slow – What not to write, because everything was so wonderful.

In spring 2016 three Finnish teachers got a Chinese teacher partner as their co-worker pair with The Global Innokas network. Our task as a co-worker pair was to plan and carry out a project which we first carried out in our own country with our own class and again together in the summer conferences in Peking and Shenzhen. The audience of the conferences had opportunity to follow the last lesson of the project and comment on it. The aim of the co-operation was to build understanding by using PBL (Project Basic Learning) to understand differences of cultures and to learn new aspects from each other concerning possibilities of collaboration.


Mine and my Chinese partner Kathy’s project theme was Kitchen Waste – recycling and reusing of kitchen waste. The theme was practical and actual enough, so it was also accepted in Kathy’s Chinese team. Our first project theme The Mathematical Forms was rejected by the team as a too abstract. For a Finnish teacher this kind of approval method was strange because we in Finland are used to making decisions more freely without any approval method used by the school management. On the other hand Kathy’s backup team did fine work for example in making teaching videos.

Meeting The Chinese Student


The students of both Chinese schools were absolutely sweet, brave and charming. The first meeting with the students of the Peking project class has remained in my mind especially well. There two future students of ours were running sweating from gym class in to our project class and one of them lifted a plastic bag full of recyclable kitchen waste on the table. Immediately without any hesitation we started to chat openly:

– What is your name and where are you hurrying form so sweaty? Oh, you have your recycling material already with your. What have you brought with you?

So, he started showing what kind of kitchen waste he had brought with him. There was an empty beer can among other things. The student told that he had bought the beer can on the way to school and that he had poured the beer on the ground. I wondered in my mind how a fifth grader has been able to buy beer. Kathy reminded the student that too much soda can be fattening. The open and joyful atmosphere of the meeting impressed me at once and I felt cozy and relaxed – this project will succeed.


The classes were delightful, where everyone participated eagerly and actively. The students used our common language English well and I understood that the knowledge of English had been one of the criteria to get in to this class and this project. Due to students good activity, possibly other criteria were good manners and working skills. During the teamwork it seemed that students had difficulties in sharing ideas and planning together, both of these had to be emphasized before starting to work and have a clarifying discussion on what common planning means. In Shenzen once I had to interfere in children’s tone of conversation and tell them that they lacked common understanding. I asked them to talk in English so I could help them. It looked that a member of the group didn’t want to take others in to consideration at all and others didn’t like the situation. There were also other similar situations in which you could see the children’s difficulty informing one common plan of the group. Many children had planned a fine plan of their own which their wanted to stick to and not to change it because of others’ opinions.

While working the children were able to ground their working finely and tell of their aims. They were eager to tell of their work thoroughly and theoretically. I might miss a bit more spontaneity and a braver desire to experiment. Was the perfection of the result the most important thing?


Outside the classroom children looked and giggled what we did and were very eager to help. While we were visiting the Peking school the learning street held there introduced the students’ fine work. As a presenter I got a boy of my project class who guided me by hand form one stand to another. There was almost a dispute of my attention – who will be able introduce his own work to me. Altogether the Chinese children performed briskly and talked loudly in front of the audience.

The most evident thought of the journey was how fluent it was to get along with the students and create interaction despite the differences between the cultural backgrounds. The Finnish and the Chinese school system perhaps approaches children’s capability and individuality from different goals, but despite them children are children anywhere in the world. A smile meets a smile!

The experience of the co-operation with the Chinese colleague was fine and successful! The experience of peeking the Chinese school system was amazing and eyes opening, without saying anything of all possibilities to meet all the friendly and helpful people who I met during the journey. Thank You!

– Minna from Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu, Finland –

Skype call to Indonesia






53 students from Metsokangas Comprehensive School had a Skype call to their new friendship class from Indonesia. During the first call students from both countries presented their country, traditional food, dance and daily life. All students were very excited and eager to learn from each other.

Children from Indonesia presented their traditional dance with the traditional costumes and properties.


The Finnish students presented the traditional song of Finland.


The Skype connections will be continued. Next time our students will present acrobatic show to their new friends.

– Petri and Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School –

The project of the gliders and flying effect

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Jaana’s and Yiwen’s project was about the gliders and flying effect. The theme came out from the Finnish Curriculum and Yiwen’s will to have a project about gliders. For Jaana this theme was a great option, because Jaana’s and Petri’s students were on the 5th Grade and they studied physical information about the planes and flying effect during the spring 2016, so this project was easily integrated to their physics lessons.

From teachers’ point of view the main point of this project was collaboration between Finnish and Chinese teachers. That was the first time for both of us, so that’s why it was at first quite exciting. We tried to get to know each other via WeChat and in Beijing we started to work together and at the same time we got to know each other better. On the first day we went through our project plan and made decisions how to make gliders. Yiwen also showed Jaana, what kind of glider she had built with her students by using ready cut pieces. Jaana also showed Yiwen, how to fold a simple paper glider. As a common decision we decided to give students an opportunity to choose, how they would make the glider: by using ready cut pieces or folding the glider.

From students’ point of view the main point was to learn group working skills, learn information about the structure of the plane, to learn information about forces which affect to the plane during the flight and also to learn to make a glider by using different kind of materials and also to learn the techniques how to throw the glider.

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Our project plan contained 8 lessons. Lessons from 1-5 contained introduction, studying information about the gliders and flying effect, making mind maps in groups of 3-4 and presenting mind maps. We started this part in Beijing by teaching students the specific words in English and in Chinese, because words were quite new for students. To find correct words in English students used Chinese-English dictionary on iPads. Then they came one by one to the front of the classroom to clue words into the picture of the plane. At the same time we also discussed what is the meaning of each part and students found answers from Internet or just thought what could be the answer and then told their idea to the others. The most important question was, why the planes need all those parts and how those parts affect to the plane and flying effect.

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After the common start students made mind maps in groups. They got three questions to find out: how do you think each part of the plane affects its flying effect, which forces act on the plane during the take off, gliding and landing and why the plane can fly. To find information students used Baidu on iPads. One student also gave others a tip to find information from the site That was something new for others, because this time they found information mainly in English, although some of them also found information in Chinese and used Baidu translator to translate it into English or to translate information from English into Chinese. As a teacher I think it was a correct way to find and understand found information, because there were so much specific words that they didn’t know in English or in some cases not even in Chinese.

Students used 3 lessons to make their mind maps. After that they presented their mind maps to others. For them it was exciting that all students had to go to front of the class, not only one. During the presentation they also taught each others by drawing pictures and writing down the most important words f. ex. about the forces that affect to the plane. One group also showed animations from wikipedia about the aileron and elevator.

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In our project plan lessons 6-7 were for making a glider. In Beijing we offered students a possibility to choose, how they would like to make their glider: by using ready cut pieces or by folding a paper glider. On our demo lesson we had a 60 minutes to implement this part, so after a short introduction about our project and information rehearse with students, students started to work in pairs.

Many of our students chose to use ready cut pieces, but there were four eager boys, who would liked to know which one flies better, the folded glider or the glider made by the ready cut pieces. At the beginning of the lesson they thought that ready cut piece glider flies better, but after testing and adjusting their folded glider flow better, even through the open window. 😉

During the testing students also marked down how far their glider flies. Then they had to think about, how to improve their glider to fly further. For this they had a work sheet to draw the altitude and to mark down, how they adjusted their glider. This work sheet worked well and gave students more understanding what they are learning.

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Demo lesson was filmed from each corner of the class room. At first all students were quite excited because of the cameras, but quite quickly everyone forgot all the cameras. The audience followed our lesson in the hall next to our classroom. After our lesson we teachers went to stage to tell more about our project and about evaluation. All slides we made in both languages and all questions and answers we got and gave also in both languages. That way all members in audience understood what we want to say. Tiina and audience also asked us about our project and collaboration. Jaana answered all in English and Yiwen translated it into Chinese.

In Shenzhen we had a same kind of project, but in there their own teacher had started the project by making mind maps with her students. On the first day we had 4 lessons with the students and during those lessons students got to know information about Finland, made posters about the differences and similarities between the Finnish and Chinese schools and after that we taught them information about the gliders and flying effect. This time Yiwen taught them more in Chinese than in Beijing, because the students in Shenzhen were younger and they didn’t know so much about the theme in English. After the common start students continued working with their mind maps. Many of them made their mind maps both in Chinese and English, because writing everything in English was quite hard for them, they were so young. After finishing the mind maps they presented them to others in English. One boy was a translator for some groups, because they were so shy to have their presentation in English. This kind of collaboration worked well and every group could have their presentation.

On the demo lesson in Shenzhen we had the same PowerPoint introduction than in Beijing in both languages and after that a short rehearse about the main parts of the plane in English. After that we taught students how to fold a simple paper plane. After that we told them about the schedule and they started to fold planes by using different kind of papers. They also had a work sheet such like in Beijing. During the testing students noticed that the paper can’t be too thin or too thick, so they had to test which paper could be the best option for folding.

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For me as a Finnish teacher this experience was amazing and this opened my eyes to see the meaning of the global collaboration deeper! It was nice to collaborate with the Chinese teacher Yiwen, all students, all professors from Beijing and also I learned a lot of Chinese culture and school system. I think I also learned, how to plan and have project with teacher who I haven’t known long – collaboration doesn’t depend on how well you know your partner, but it depends on how much you want to work together and find the common understanding.

My deepest will is to have more collaboration with Yiwen next year. 🙂