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ICT-supported social learning at Wäinö Aaltonen School

Wäinö Aaltonen School is a Living Schools Lab primary school located in the city of Turku in south-west Finland. For more than a decade, this Advanced School has fully embraced ICT in teaching and learning, and is focusing now in the development of two key areas: media tutoring and social learning.

According to Henri Littunen, director of the school, Wäinö Aaltonen School is continuously expanding its use of ICT. The 460 pupils, aged between 7 and 13, use ICT on a daily basis. They have access to more than 230 PCs, mini-PCs, iPads, Windows RT Tablets, and Wi-Fi connection across the school.

With the collaboration of the Finnish Board of Education and the TOP centre (Computer in learning Centre) in Turku, the school has, over the last five years, developed a new web-based learning environment. Classrooms were equipped with mini-PCs, and the students started to work online every day and to organize their schoolwork in the Moodle learning platform. Lessons have turned into “mediaclasses” attended by “mediapupils”, who manage their homework, school projects and, in many cases, take their tests and assessments within the online platform.

Social learning: helping one another

Wäinö Aaltonen School’s main aim is to encourage pupils to take a bigger responsibility for their own learning process. The school has established “media pairs” so that students can support younger learners with their use of the technology.

”Social aspect of learning is very important in our school. In Wäinö Aaltonen School, a pupil can always choose the approach which would best fit his/her learning process. The outcome might either a video, a Prezi-presentation, or any other more traditional material. The most important element is the sharing with the teacher and classmates afterwards”, explains Henri Littunen.

Media production: Wäiski-TV

Wäiski-TV has become the flagship activity of the school. Wäiski-TV is the school news channel, developed completely by the students, who work as actual media professionals, with support from Tero Jaakkola, the teacher who first conceived and promoted this activity.

Scripts, shooting, editing... everything is made by pupils who have chosen their favourite role in the media production process. As a result, the publishing of new episodes – available for everybody on YouTube every Friday – is highly anticipated by the whole school community, parents included. The feedback is always very positive.


Wäinö Aaltonen School sharing in LSL

Wäinö Aaltonen School joined Living Schools Lab project with the aim of sharing with other schools their best practices in the use of technology. ”We are not trying to make a revolution in learning with ICT. Our goal is testing the possibilities of technology in education, and finding the ones which really give us some added value in learning”, points out Henri Littunen.

During the course of the LSL project, all the classes will be using at least one online learning platform. Fourteen of the 21 classes in the school are already using Moodle, and four work with Edmodo. According to Henri Littunen, in the coming months the school is going to concentrate on the Office 365 environment, as the third learning platform option. ”It essential for us to have at least one learning platform always in use, to help the teachers to develop a systematic approach to ICT in learning”.

Pictures and videos (C) by Wäinö Aaltonen School