Students testify to success of our global project

As part of the evaluation of this project, I interviewed a few students to get their feedback. You have no idea how long it took me to convert the interviews to film and embed them in this blog. Sorry about background noise. We will also ask all students in the global cohort to give feedback in a survey. Stay tuned!


Week 8 – What does learning mean to you?

Take a photo that somehow represents learning to you.

Write about what learning means to you, where and how you learn best, school learning and outside school learning, your feelings about learning.

To some, learning was best represented by a simple pencilcase

Photo by ryanrau

while others saw learning in relationships outside of school.

Photo by andresg201.usa

Many students’ reflective and evaluative skills were impressive. My guess is that the personal topics enabled the best kind of analysis because students were able to choose an aspect of their lives which was meaningful.

This is my father and my nephew. Isn’t he amazing! I think so. They are both learning so much. My nephew, about everything around him and how to interact and my father, about being a grandfather and everything that means. I really love that this shows how we never really stop learning and that there is always something new to experience.

I tend to learn more from project-based and hands-on learning as well as auditory learning. Though, I am good at standard school learning. I love learning new things and exploring topics. As long as it is something I like. Math, unfortunately, is not my forte. Reading and writing is more up my alley. But overall, I hope I continue to learn for the rest of my life. 🙂

We may not often ask our students to reflect on what learning means to them, or how they learn best, but the project’s responses made me realise how valuable this kind survey would be.

Many posts were endearing for their honesty which means that students felt safe within the global cohort. This is testament to the respect and encouragement students showed each other. It’s important to recognise this when so many educators are afraid of trying out online, collaborative projects because they fear bad behaviour from students.

Photo by JamesMau

This surrounding basically describes the environment in which i like to learn in. One which is quiet, peaceful and relaxing. It’s hard for me to learn in a noisy and loud environment because there are too many voices going through my head, which then doesn’t allow me to lock in and concentrate.

Learning is a pretty big thing to me because it helps me get through each day and builds me up for what I want to do later in life. I can’t say that I like school but I’m there to learn and its part of my life.

Photo by timbau

This photo is of the book shelf we have in our study. Learning for me can sometimes be really fun or sometimes it can be horrible, depending of the subject. I like English, Maths, Psychology and Sports Science.

(comment) I feel like that too, it mostly depends on how I feel that morning. If I’m super tired and just want to go to sleep, I wont be in the mood to learn anything. But if I woke up good, I don’t feel tired and I’m not complaining, I want to learn. 🙂

Week 7 – Your favourite something

Take a photo of your favourite something (person, piece of clothing, fashion item, weather, place, scenery, colour, class…) – Make it interesting!

Write about your reasons for this choice, what makes it your favourite, how often your likes and dislikes change or whether you have permanent favourites.

Some ‘favourites’ focussed on objects which represented a favourite activity, and others centred on people or even a beloved pet.

Photo by danielnau

This is a place I have visited frequently over the years and have great memories of going to this special place.

Photo by TeemuLfi

This little chap is my 10 month old brother. The picture itself is taken sometime in January, so he’s around seven or eight months in this photo. This is his first time on a sledge, so thats why he has such a serious face. 😀 It’s perhaps not the most original photo, but I like it. I chose just this picture for the reason that it contains one of the most important people currently in my life. It’s the big brother’s duty to look after the younger ones, although I must admit, it’s not so easy looking after him because he moves so fast now a days.

Photo by timbau

This is my awsome dog, Her nme is Jedda and she is a little on the chubby side but I still love her to bits. We got her when she was four years old and now she is ten. She has just recently got arthritis and all she does is wander around our backyard. She is always there to talk to and she always loves a good pat.

Summer was a popular ‘favourite’, and the emotional tone was obvious especially in the Finnish students’ posts about the weather.

Photo by AnnaFi

There is some more thing about summer I’d like to mention. I don’t know if somebody else has recognize it, but I love all those summer’s smells and flavors. They’re so sweet and sensitive that you have to feel them by yourself, I really can’t explain it!:)

In my mind, summer makes me believe in my dreams. And in the middle of these cold Finnish winters, there is always something to wait, so I never get desperate!

Our Australian students were taken aback by the severity of Finnish Winters and the lack of sunshine during this season. The contrast between daylight hours during the Australian Summer and corresponding Finnish Winter was more powerfully experienced through the project than it would have been if students had gleaned the same information through books, internet or television.

For some students this was the last post because their classes were ending, and that’s one of the aspects which are unavoidable when organising global projects. It was touching to read farewells, knowing that relationships had been created albeit within such a short time.

It’s sad to see you go, It has been great seeing your posts! Thanks for the experience! 🙂
Best Wishes! – andresg201.usa

It is obvious that by week 7 relationships had developed and deepened, and that students were very comfortable with the project format, and were enjoying the sharing and interaction.

Week 6 – a new perspective

Photo courtesy of Kitty_FI on Flickr

Take a photo:
Of something you go past every day and take it from an interesting new perspective

Write about:
What made you choose this topic for the picture, what makes you take an interest in the world around you, your senses in general, which is your strongest sense and why, how observant you are and the reasons for that.

A two-part assignment again.

Sometimes the familiar brought out interesting details:

One thing I always notice when I am walking up my street is that the first house on the left there is always an old man letting his dogs sniff around in the grass you can see there, at about the same time every afternoon.

The senses questions produced many interesting responses:

I consider myself to be very aware of my surroundings. I tend to get that feeling that something is missing or off and I’m right most times. My strongest sense would probably be hearing. I can pretty much hear anything from across the room, it’s really weird but I’m a good listener. And that’s a good thing. =] – MariaCamii.USA

I particularly like the theme of seeing from a new perspective; it goes well with both image and written response.

Photo by BasseFI

The picture is taken at my neighbours. I go pass their house and this window every day, and often many times too. This is a new perspective, because usually I just see from outside to inside, but this picture is taken from inside to outside. It is kind of spooky to think how easily my neightbour could spy on me on this road.

Photo by Christianfau

This is a picture of the park near my house, I walk past it every day after school, when I walk past it I always remember the fun I use to have playing on it when I was younger and it makes me think how fast you really grow up.Christianfau

Comments were consistently enthusiastic and modelled the kind of feedback that means the most – positive feedback from peers.

This is a really awesome photo. I couldn’t even tell it was a vending machine until i read the description. Which drink is your Favourite and most popular?Angelomau

Week 5 – inspired by a song

Week 5 photo assignment:

Take a photo:
That goes with the title or lyrics of a song.

Write about:
What kind of music do you like listening to? Name types of music, bands, singers. Why do you like this music? What do you like to do while listening to music? What music do you dislike and why?

The week 5 assignment resulted in quite a few sunsets! From the boys!!

Photo courtesy of tommau on Flickr

I took this photo during one of my cricket matches; I was waiting for my turn to go out to the middle while listening to my IPod. End of the World, by REM came on; I looked up at the approaching storm (which would cause our game to be postponed) and took the picture. The storm caused a lot of damage, and there were pictures of people swimming down main roads in the city.

Students appreciated the landscape photos:

This is a really cool picture I really love how the sun is shining from behind the clouds. I love taking pictures of the wilderness it’s really fun some times. Do you like taking pictures of stuff like that?

It was good to see conversation moving from what was in the photo to appreciation of aesthetics and effects. Many students admired photos of the natural environment.

There were many ‘Proustian’ experiences triggered by the chosen songs.

Photo courtesy of brentonwau on Flickr

This picture symbolises the song “In the summertime”, by Thirsty Merc. The lyrics in this song talk about the happiness and fun times of summer. This song isn’t one of my most favourite songs but whenever I hear it, it reminds me of when I go down the beach during summer and all the fun I have. Summer is my favourite season because I love swimming and being outside in warm weather.

Photo courtesy of MaTtGau on Flickr

It was surprising (or was it?) that what we consider famous landmarks  (above) were not so famous outside our country.

The picture looks beautiful even if your brother is on the way. I think that the sky, the grass, and the big rock behind your brother. Where was this picture taken?

Week 4 – Take a photo at school at lunchtime

Photo courtesy of Kitty_FI on Flickr.

Week 4’s photo assignment caused a stir – our boys discovered that the Finnish students had a cafeteria and were entitled to sit down to a free hot lunch. Our students usually bring a sandwich from home or buy something from the canteen, then stand around with friends eating their lunch. Yes we do have some seating …  On the other hand, the Finnish students only had 30 minutes for lunch, whereas ours boasted 50 minutes. And the Australians’ canteen food made some of the Finnish students jealous:

Wow, that’s great food =D We got always like some bad tasting soups and porridge 😛 But our food is free.

Photo courtesy of tommau on Flickr

Many of our boys’ lunchtime photos centred on sport and received comments like this:

What a pity that our lunch break lasts only 30 minutes so we don’t have time to do any sports on our lunch break.

Photo courtesy of LukeS.Au on Flickr

A little diversity into the mix of food and sports photos was well received.

Very nice fashion statement your setting here! I’m sure that furry purple hat and yellow cape will start a new trend for the spring! 😀

Week 3 – Take a photo with movement

Week 3: Take a photo:
With movement, maybe one of your hobbies, or activities at school or freetime

*Write about:
Your hobby/hobbies or extra-curricular activities at school, what made you choose them and what they give to you.

Photo by Danielnau on Flickr

Cricket and football were at the top of our boys’ list of hobbies and pasttimes for Week 3’s assignment. This prompted a discussion about the different types of sport with questions about Australian Rules football and cricket.

You’re right; cricket is not a very common sport in the USA. I don’t know to much about cricket, but it kind of looks like baseball. Is cricket only a male sport, or do women play too? Wow 4-5 hours! That’s a really long game! Do all games last that long or only the games that go into overtime?

And yes its not very common sport in Finland. Actually I don’t even know any Finn that plays it. I’ve seen some cricket games on TV and they sure are very long. How long is an average cricket game?

(Another comment) Is cricket little bit like baseball? Cos i only know how you throw the ball and that the bat looks weird:)

In some cases students learned the rules of sports they didn’t play in their country, for example, one of the Australian students explained the rules of squash to a student from Finland.

There is ample evidence that students are engaged in learning from the overseas students – much more than if they had just read the information in a text.

Finnish student: Mostly we swim in summer because its only time in the year when water temperature goes over 20 degree Celsius.

Wow! I can’t believe that 20 degrees is warm. What is the water temperature usually?

It really depends on the time of year. Most of summer its like 15-19 degrees but it goes way below that on other time of the year. Some finns even go to swim when water is just over 0 degree during winter.

Photo by tiaafi on Flickr

Experiences are very different amongst students. This American student’s comment has been echoed by some of the Australian students:

I like this picture I looks like it came out of an imagination not from a real place some where. I have never touched snow but I have seen it before and it did look like a lot of fun.

Photo by keithtAU on Flickr

The above photo was greeted with surprise

(Finnish student): Woah! I never believed that there is a place fort ice skating in Australia. Is that some kind of indoor ice skating arena?

Sometimes the comments are about the photography:

Photo by brentonwau on Flickr

I really like this picture. You can see the movement in it but its still very sharp (Finnish student)

Some responses go deeper:

Photo by KierenT_au

I got this picture when I was gardening and when I saw it I was fascinated. It showed to me that us humans should be like this big although there are a lot of minor obstacles in the way there are also very big ones which I think is a perfect example of life. This bug showed me that there’s always a way around even if it was very big and take a long time to get around it still managed to get around.

While watching this bug for ages I just saw at some points that you get stuck and cant move and you need a helping hand or you might just get stuck and struggle for a bit but soon figure out how to get unstuck. I think that time is the greatest thing on this planet without time where would we be? Also without choices where would we be what if we couldn’t make our own choices?

I’m not sure if I could have asked for a better response if I had included more prescriptive guidelines. This student has blended photo with higher order and creative thinking. It’s interesting to see the occasional contribution with a surprising perspective. When students read the entire cohort’s responses, they get a rich diversity – so much to take in and respond to.

Understanding is unpacked through the dialogue. An Australian student talked about swimming when it was 30 degrees and an American student responded by saying

That’s insane 30 degrees I would die down in florida when it gets to 40 i think it’s like an ice age!!! It’s so crazy on the difference between there and here. By the way your picture is very cool and the pool looks amazing:) I love swimming.

A Finnish student clarified:

Are you talking about fahrenheit or celsius? Cos 30 degrees in celsius is really hot and morgan is talking about an ice age:)

Whatever the students have shared in this week’s assignment, there is plenty of positive reinforcement from their cohort:

This is very cool. the fact that it’s your passion and you enjoy it is even cooler. I like how you actually enjoy and look forward to it is awesome.