A Journey of Discovery
The aim of the project “Digital Nature Trails” was to combine innovative, digital, project-based methods in teaching and learning and to create educational nature trails that can be re-used as learning resources.
A long friendship took another step when Kolga School (Estonia) and Mouhijärvi School (Finland) got opportunity to do something innovative.
A friendship between Kolga School and Mouhijärvi School is dating back to 1992. The first curriculum-related class exchange was arranged in 1993. During the years we have worked together on different topics: culture, music, media, history, environment etc. This time we decided to do something innovative. And it was a journey of discovery to all of us.
The aim of our project “Digital Nature Trails” was to combine innovative, digital, project-based methods in teaching and learning and to create educational nature trails that can be re-used as learning resources. To exchange the experience and knowledge of teachers and pupils from participating schools and both to test and evaluate created trails, the Nordplus Junior programme helped us to arrange the class visits.
“During the project not only teachers and pupils form partner school discovered the local nature and history, but also pupils from our school. Creating educational trails allowed pupils to look deeper into local issues”, says Helen Mikiver, History teacher of Kolga School.
One value of the project was that within this project pupils had a chance to cooperate with local institutions (local museum, library) and entrepreneurs.
As a result of the project the pupils from Kolga and Mouhijärvi schools created educational nature trails, which are marked with QR-codes and rich online content: information, videos, quizzes and game-based tasks.
For example, one trail depicts a geocache in the local nature path, two of the trails are a kind of a photo tours, which compare how the local places and buildings have changed in time. One trail introduces the local library and the other one explores how the use of the rooms in schoolhouse has changed. In cooperation with local tourism and craft farm pupils created a digital trail to introduce activities in the farm. Two educational trails (herbs and ancient pottery) will be used yearly by the teachers, whereas the topics are part of the national curricula of Estonia. Most of the created trails are written both in native language and in English. The created nature trails were tested by pupils and teachers during the class visits in April and May 2014 and 2015.
During the years 2013-2015, 46 pupils (28 from Kolga School and 18 from Mouhijärvi Secondary School) participated in the project activities. Teachers of English, Science, Mathematics, History, Literature, Physical training and IT (11 teachers) from both participating schools guided pupils in developing the new digital educational content.
Besides creating educational trails, the project was good way to make new friends and get acquainted with colleagues from another country. It was also a journey of finding friends.
“Visiting Mouhijärvi School and their project trails was an inspiring experience and it gave a lot of ideas how to improve our trail. The most important of all – during the project we met fantastic young people!” Johanna Lisete Viskar, pupil, Kolga School, Estonia