• Description of the idea

In Finland, the idea is two-fold. We want to particularly promote innovative pedagogical content (collaborative learning), as opposed to approaching the project from a more tool-oriented point of view. The innovation aspect of this project is on the HOW, not on the WHAT of social media.

1. Good practices detected and gathered in IEOL project will be integrated and transferred into teaching activities, and further developed.

Good practices:
Blogs as joint course platforms.
Selecting only few tools to teach and work with, so as not to confuse learners. Make the use of tools as easy as possible by decreasing the number of logins, passwords etc.
Small groups work well in problem-solving tasks using shared documents (Google docs).
To increase participation, tasks should not ask for facts as much as for opinions and personal experiences and feelings.
In a larger group, novices learn from experts by seeing and imitating their model. Everyone can participate according to their abilities. Examples by experts guide the learning process of the novices.

Findings:
collaborative learning can be enhanced through the use of social media tools.
Social media tools increase interaction among course participants.
Senior citizens can learn and benefit from using social media tools: it gives them a sense of participation in society and decreases loneliness.
Mastering facts is not enough in modern society, one must be able to use the facts to participate in the information society.
The group becomes a working learning community when novices enter the group and learn from experts. It is vital that we strive to continue this process and transfer this idea into new learning groups and contexts.


2. Transferring the innovative collaborative methods into immigrant contexts. The purpose is to integrate immigrants and native Finns and thus to increase their understanding of each others' cultures. Creating a community that works both online and face-to-face, lowering the threshold between online communities and real-life communities. Finding and training peer tutors for immigrants to help them to survive in the Finnish society.


  • Objectives and how the proposed ideas and activities relate to the programme priorities and objectives
Programme priority 1: Reinforcing transversal competences, such as digital competence, bridging the worlds of education and work.
We will address diverse minority groups (seniors, immigrants, disabled, unemployed), who have different educational and cultural backgrounds. Immigrants often have low educational backgrounds, and living in a literal society is challenging. bridging this gap and offering immigrants pathways to enter the society through innovative pedagogical methods using social media tools is one important objective of this project.

Programme priority 2: Innovative pedagogy and assessment methods for diverse learning pathways.


  • Needs and activities
Activities:
We will create a pilot course which will meet both online and face-to-face. The purpose is to create authentic situations and contexts in which learners can use social media and a foreign language. Authentic situations: learners organise an "international living room", immigrants and Finns will be invited to participate. Pilot course participants are in charge of invitations, practical arrangements, programme, compiling presentations and inviting guest presenters, administration of the online platform.

Research questions: what kinds of tasks and what kinds of social media tools best enhance collaboration in the groups. We will study how the groups are formed, how they work together, what tools they use and how.

Needs:
We will use free, open social media tools. No cost for that.
Salaries: 2 teachers (English and ICT, 2 x 24 contact lessons/year + online counseling) Supervision of International living room 3 x 14 hours/year
Administration
Classroom and use of computers
Reporting
European mobilities: 5 transnational meetings, participants: 3 staff, 3-5 students each. (Each partner will host one meeting, costs for hosting, cost for mobilities to 4 transnational meetings, total max. 32 mobilities in 3 years)

  • Products

Handbook: A report of the pilot project (printed and pdf, available online), including a case sample and a model for enhancing collaboration in a multicultural context using social media.