As one of the 12 schools in a national programme to recognise the benefits of information and communications technology (ICT) in teaching and learning, Oulujoki Comprehensive School started a one-to-one computing pilot scheme in 2007 with students in year three. All students in the programme have their own tablet PCs. They use Microsoft solutions, such as Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 to solve problems, find information, work collaboratively, and create their own learning materials.
Founded in 1939, Oulujoki Comprehensive School has been operating out of the same site in Oulu, Northern Finland, since 1949. Around 200 students aged seven to 13 years attend the school.
Heikki Räsänen, Head Teacher of Oulujoki Comprehensive School, says: “In addition to providing our students with the skills and knowledge they need for the future, our goal is to give them confidence in themselves, and some notion of their own
place in society. In other words, by the time they come to leave the school, they should have the means to continue on the right path.”
Learning at Oulujoki focuses on teachers paying careful attention to their pupils so they can set appropriate challenges based on student ability. For this strategy to work, instructors must genuinely care about the progress of their students. Even with this personalised approach to learning, up until two years ago, many teachers at the school used the traditional method of standing behind their desks at the front of the classroom.
In 2008, Oulujoki became one of 12 schools participating in a pilot programme sponsored by the Ubiquitous Information Society, a national organisation that aims to transform Finland into an internationally recognised, competitive service society by using ICT in teaching and learning. This called for a radical shift in teaching style.Solution
At the start of the 2007 academic year, Oulujoki combined both year-three classes into one. Instead of providing one teacher per class, two instructors worked together to co-teach. “By moving away from the traditional class structure in favour of working in pairs, we have given teachers the opportunity to structure work groups of students the way they see fit for each particular situation,” says Räsänen. For example, for one lesson, one teacher may instruct 30 pupils, while the other works with five or six. At another time, both teachers may work together, giving personalised instruction to individual students as needed.
As part of the pilot programme, the school was equipped with a wireless Internet connection and each student in the year-three class received a tablet PC. “The latest technology plays a major role at Oulujoki Comprehensive School. We want to make it natural for pupils to use it throughout their school life—and beyond,” says Räsänen.
Students use Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 note-taking program to gather any information they need from a variety of different learning resources. “Students can work together to create their own personalised learning material with Office OneNote, containing pictures, video, and text. The features of Office OneNote 2007 support different learning styles,” says Räsänen. “It’s an ideal collaborative tool, for anytime, anywhere learning.”
Students use Microsoft Live@edu, including the Outlook Live messaging and collaboration client, and online storage. The city of Oulu provides the Live@edu domain and all students have personalised user IDs and passwords. Benefits
By providing students with modern tools, and shifting the emphasis away from passive learning to a more interactive, collaborative environment, Oulujoki encourages students to take part in their own educational journey.
Easy interface encourages collaboration. Oulujoki is using technology in smart ways to encourage collaboration and participation. During a recent project, some students were painting pictures while others were playing a traditional instrument. The class put all the parts of the story together to make an animated film, using Windows Movie Maker. Students who were interested in painting made the pictures, while those who were interested in music and computers played different roles.
Teachers build on each other’s strengths with team teaching. Two teachers working together can take advantage of the support they get from each other to become more innovative. Ahti Kurki, Teacher at Oulujoki Comprehensive School, says: “I learnt a new style of teaching. Instead of standing in front of the classroom, I now direct the search for information. Students seem to absorb it more this way.”
Notes automatically connect to original source. While working in Office OneNote 2007, students can easily track the Microsoft Office Word 2007, Office PowerPoint 2007, or Windows Explorer documents that they took notes from.
Resources are used more effectively. “Combining resources more flexibly in the school, makes teaching more effective. Teachers are better able to maintain a more flexible approach to learning and teaching,” says Räsänen.
Students are more motivated to learn. Integrating technology into the classroom immediately increased the motivation levels of some students, while all students benefited from the opportunity to do their work within the parameters of their own preferences and skills. “Work produced by the students is more varied and thorough,” says Kurki.This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.