Entrepreneurship as means of collaboration between Rajakylä and Pujia schools
Existing global conditions have not slowed down international collaboration with Sister Schools. Rajakylä and Pujia schools set an example with their digital collaboration around entrepreneurship education themes. Both schools took part in entrepreneurship education projects, and the students had an opportunity to present their ideas online.
Various business ideas were heard in a joint Teams session. Pujia students from Hangzhou focused on the food of the future in their project. One of the groups designed a restaurant in which the idea was to enhance parent–child communication; another group came up with an idea of healthy and easily portable food capsules; a third group developed various ideas about candy – there was even one that would protect children’s teeth!
Rajakylä students had also worked on some innovative ideas: one of the groups created a robot waitress serving people in restaurants; another group worked on the idea about a new perfume with ecological packing, and two of the groups focused on travelling – how would a beach holiday in your own home sound like? The necessary equipment is available from this group!
Same goal, different execution
Entrepreneurship education methodology is aimed to encourage children and young people into creativity, teamwork, and problem solving. The goal is to teach the students the process in which new solutions are created and what the stepping stones to a business idea are. Different themes such as international collaboration or sustainable development are easy to include into the contents and they help create meaningfulness for the students and to the future. These themes were the core of the Pujia–Rajakylä Sister School collaboration project.
The entrepreneurship education project had the same goal in both schools, but the practical execution was done in two different ways. In the Rajakylä School, the project was done as a multisubject learning entity in which all 5th and 6th graders participated. In the Pujia School, the project was done in four 75-minute sessions, each of which had a special theme. Eemeli Alanne, a mentor teacher for Entrepreneurship Education in City of Oulu, taught all the sessions via Teams. This provided the Pujia School teachers with an introduction to the methods and mentality of entrepreneurship education.
”It was interesting to step out from my own comfort zone and teach entrepreneurship education online with an interpreter to the other side of the world. I was happy to notice how the students got excited and involved in the project and were thrilled about learning something new. The ideas that the students presented both in Finland and in China made a great impact. These young people have a tremendous number of ideas and amount of potential – this kind of projects help us achieve several educational goals and assist students in building their own future,” Eemeli Alanne says.
Collaboration enabling joint projects for schools
In a global world, international competences are important, and they are built up all along the school path. This has been the starting point of Sister School collaboration between the cities of Oulu and Hangzhou since 2017 as part of a bigger scheme of collaboration between the two cities.
Sister Schools collaborate to develop and share best practices, make genuine face-to-face meetings possible, and develop different ways to share the innovative ideas of the schools, teachers and students. Nowadays there are 16 schools involved in the collaboration in Oulu and Hangzhou.
”Entrepreneurship education was now tested for the first time as a means of collaboration. Previously, we have had educational travels from China and Finland where the hosting schools have accommodated the guests and widely presented their culture via sharing their everyday lives, opening their homes and schools, and by doing things together. Both sides have had the possibility to see and experience their host’s school and everyday lives. Schools in Oulu have also offered their students possibilities to study Chinese, and individual schools have had shared, virtual classes,” says the Sister School Coordinator from the City of Oulu, Sanna Heinonen.
Education projects to be continued
The project between Rajakylä and Pujia also worked as a pilot and the aim now is to offer the same possibility to all schools involved in the Sister School collaboration. For the next project, the vision is to have the schools working on themes simultaneously via Teams.
”Digital tools allow the lessons to be held at the same time in Oulu and in Hangzhou. From the teaching point of view, it brings new opportunities to peer learning, working together and learning international competences. Especially now that physical mobilities are limited, it is great to notice there is enthusiasm and interest in finding new ways of collaboration both in China and in Finland!” conclude Alanne and Heinonen.