HELSINKI VIRTUAL WEB SCHOOL
new learning environment
The idea of the Virtual Web School is based on the constructionist
principles of knowledge. These principles have been applied to pedagogical methods. On the
web-school students are treated as active builders of knowledge; the teacher functions as
a tutor in the learning process. The Web School is for storing, transforming, sharing, and
multiplying of information and for construction of the learners own knowledge, for
example, framing his or her own hypotheses and questions.
The Web School is for networking and learning in a richly interconnected society.
Learning and teaching occur mainly on the Internet. A key task is to promote
responsibility for one's own learning; students set their own goals and are in charge of
their own efforts at active inquiry. Students can take part in a project on a project desk
run by a teacher or expert or participate in a virtual course and gain credits. Within
this virtual environment, the students' own reflections play a vital role in revising
questions, assessing what they need to find out, and evaluating their progress. Students
keep their own digital portfolio, where all work can be stored (projects, learning
materials). They use email, discussion forums, electronic conferencing, and personal
websites to exchange texts and graphics (pictures, diagrams and so on). Where feasible
geographically, they have some in-person interactions with one another; but the electronic
medium will be predominant because of the ease and speed of interaction. Learning on the
Internet forms a new social context.