Virtual Sister School Connection
- Would you like to open up new international connections even though travel is restricted?
- Would you like to experience the Finnish way of learning by connecting virtually with a sister school in Finland?
- Would you like to have your class work on a 1-2 week project alongside students from a Finnish sister school?
- Would you like to make friends with Finnish students and teachers, see what they do outside the school day, and make a virtual visit to their home?
- Would you like to keep connected with your existing sister school even though it is not possible to travel at the moment?
VisitEDUfinn Ltd. brings you all this and more.
Thanks to our network of Finnish teachers and schools, we can offer your class a virtual connection to a Finnish school– to meet and talk with local students, collaborate with Finnish teachers, and even work together on a joint learning project. We will find a class with similar abilities and learning objectives, and arrange the platform for the learning project.
What are the benefits?
Even though travelling is restricted, we can still meet virtually, have international experiences, and learn together and from one another. With a pre-arranged program, your class will have the chance to get to experience phenomenon-based learning together with Finnish students.
Your class will gain experience in digital and social skills through speaking and presenting in English, and interacting with students from different cultural backgrounds. Your class will also have the opportunity to study other selected school subjects, such as Biology, Geography, Mathematics, ICT, Arts and Crafts, Music, and Performing Arts, among others. In addition, your class can explore wider learning themes, such as sustainable development, environmental education, and entrepreneurship. Your students will get to make friends with Finnish children, learn about their life, and even make a virtual visit to their homes and meet their families!
You can also enjoy the most attractive Finnish cultural travel experiences: meet Santa Claus and his reindeer, visit a farm of husky sleigh dogs, and enjoy the Aurora Borealis, the beautiful Northern lights.
How to connect to a Finnish school
You can select between a one-day, one-week or two-weeks’ program, and among a variety of learning themes. The program can be run with your existing sister school or, if you don’t yet have one, we will match you with a suitable school. Together we will make the pre-arrangements between you and the local teachers. Then, when the time comes, everything will be ready for you and your Finnish sister class to start, and you can focus on the learning experience.
The visit starts with a welcoming event, where children are divided into small teams of 3-6, consisting of about an equal number of children from both countries. The children will meet each other in Zoom rooms (or VooV rooms for China). To help break the ice and learn each other’s names, they will first play a game together.
After this team building exercise, the whole group comes back together, led by the Finnish teacher. This will be an interactive learning project, where both your students and their Finnish peers will actively participate. After this class (45 minutes) there will be a break, and the Finnish students will “take” you outside in the small teams via their mobile phones and introduce how they spend their breaks playing Finnish schoolyard games.
After the break there is the next class, taught by your teacher. It can be a class about your language, your local culture, or some arts or music class, for example.
Then there will be a lunch break, as Finnish children go to enjoy their daily free lunch in the school canteen.
After lunch you can join in again to observe how the Finnish students work with arts and crafts, music or PE (physical education).
At the end of the Finnish school day, it is even possible to virtually visit the home of a Finnish student, and meet his/her family.
One-week Learning Program – Basic
A one-week program requires more preparation to be done collaboratively between you and your Finnish sister school.
There will be a common objective for the learning program, which will of course depend on the age and grade level of the participating students. The project can be framed into creating a magazine, a video program, or a poster presentation, for example.
The students will work in small international teams consisting of 4-6 students, 2-3 from both your school and the Finnish school. Learning social skills and digital communication skills via international interaction is one learning objective of every project. The students will partly work in their international team, and partly in local teams due to time difference, continuing on the same topics and being able to reflect upon the tasks in their own language. During the international time, the students can interview each other (for example on topics related to local culture, language, geography, history, etc.). They will then create content for the project by combining drawing, writing, photographing, and using digital media such as PowerPoint and video, depending on their age and the focus of the learning project. They are encouraged to use multiple ways of documentation and recording for the project, to be able to identify and cultivate their own strengths.
The work will continue like this each day, and the teachers will check up on each team to help them move forward with the project. On the fourth day, all the content is put together. On the last day the content will be delivered, broadcast or presented in full for every participant to see. The accomplishment will be celebrated together in a virtual party with snacks, and some music or other performances are also welcome. The students can also use the Finnish self-evaluation methods to reflect upon their learning experience.
To gain full benefit from the program, you can revisit the themes and materials after the project time to discuss and reflect upon the topics and learning experience according to the age and level of your students.
One-week Learning Program – Expanded
In the expanded version, both you and the Finnish teacher will send selected materials to each other beforehand, to be able to feel and actively get to know local plants, arts, woodwork, textile work or similar. This expanded format allows you and the Finnish teacher to work together to design a project comparing your two countries in an even more engaging way. Your students will be able to observe their own culture and environment from a fresh perspective, as they consider what elements to include in the project and how to present the information to their international peers.
This means that the program length is expanded as well, as it starts 2-3 months before the one-week project. Your students will collect materials to be sent to Finland, and the Finnish students will collect the materials to be sent to you. The packages will be opened one week before the project week, so that the students can familiarize themselves with the foreign materials and prepare questions.
The project week itself will follow a structure similar to the One-Week Learning Program– Basic as outlined above.
Two-week Learning Program – Basic
The two-week program is similar to the one-week program, but the longer time period allows the students to go deeper into the learning project. Also, more learning subjects could be integrated into the phenomenon-based learning objectives. The two-week program is suggested for middle school or high school students with more advanced English language skills. For younger students, the one-week program is recommended.
There will be common objectives for the learning program, which will of course depend on the age and grade level of the participating class. The project can be framed into creating a magazine, a video program, or a poster presentation, for example.
The two- week program will follow a structure similar to the One-Week Program– Basic described above, but the students will spend more time on each task. In this time frame the students will have one week to prepare their projects, and one week to put all the content together.
Two-week Learning Program – Expanded
The two-week expanded program is similar to the One-Week Program– Expanded described above, but the longer time period allows the students to go deeper into the learning project. Both you and your Finnish sister school will exchange materials beforehand, which means that the program actually starts 2-3 months before the two-week project begins. The two-week expanded program is suggested for middle school or high school students with more advanced English language skills. For younger students, the one-week program is recommended.
The two- week expanded program will follow a structure similar to the one-week expanded program, but the students will spend more time on each task. In this time frame the students will have one week to prepare their projects, and one week to put all the content together.