Choosing laundry detergent – a teaching experiment on using video in home economics teaching and learning

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed forward not only distance learning but also e-learning, where teaching happens on digital platforms. Nevertheless, building learning environments online is still somewhat new and unfamiliar ground, especially in home economics. This was the starting point on the course teacher as a researcher. In the course we worked on a development project that we will summarize here. The theme of the development project was “teach differently” and the goal was to bring alternative teaching methods to home economics classrooms in the form of active and interactive distance education.

We designed a lesson around the subject of choosing the right laundry detergent. The lesson was designed and taught for seventh graders in a school in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The pedagogical objective was for students to learn how to choose the right laundry detergent based on the qualities of the textiles and detergents. According to the “teach differently” theme, our goals were to try something creative and new to us that would take us out of our comfort zones. Our idea was to implement videos into home economics teaching and learning.

Our development project was based on social constructivism according to which learning is based on collaboration between the learners, the teacher, the tools, and the environment (Malin & Palojoki, 2015, p. 61). Building on social constructivism we took an approach close to exploratory learning, where learners take part in a collaborative knowledge creation process that starts from learners’ questions based on their own preconceptions and prior knowledge related to the subject. In this approach the students work together, share ideas, and learn to build on the shared knowledge and support each other’s thinking. (Lakkala, 2012, pp. 93–94.)

When we were designing the lesson, we explored the pedagogy of camera pen that was created by Ismo Kiesiläinen. The name refers to the potential to use a camera and video as means of expression in the same way as one would use a pen and text. In the process students are guided to think, act, and work together in photography assignments. It emphasizes students’ activity, creativity, curiosity, and collaborative learning. The teacher’s role is to guide and encourage learners and focus on positive interaction. In this method video is a tool for learning and we as well used it as such. (Kiesiläinen, 2017, pp. 7–8, 19, 28.)

The teaching project in practice

In our project we taught the same lesson three times. Each time we taught two classes simultaneously. The classes were on their separate classrooms, and each had one teacher present in person. We were physically in the facilities of the university and taught the lessons on Zoom-videocall. The videocall allowed the students and teachers in the classrooms to see and hear us in real time, but we were only connected to the teachers’ computers. In this remote setting the students were hesitant to approach us. Because of these aspects the communication relied heavily on the teachers that were present in the classroom.

Picture 1. The physical-virtual learning environment of the lessons

During the lessons we presented our materials in the form of a PowerPoint-presentation including text, pictures, and videos. Other tools and platforms we used were Google forms and Padlet. In our approach students had very active roles and we the “teacher-researchers” and the present teachers acted as facilitators. On the lesson the students worked on an assignment that was to plan and shoot a video about choosing the right laundry detergent. The students formed groups of 2-4 people and each group was given instructions, short story-like description that presented a problem, and a piece of clothing related to the problem. To solve the problem the students used their previous knowledge and searched for information in the home economics textbooks. Each group wrote a script based on their idea and presented it to us. After the scripts were ready and accepted, the student groups shot their videos on their mobile phones. The videos were then sent to Padlet and watched together. At the end of the lesson the students gave us feedback and evaluated their own learning on Google forms.

Picture 2. The students’ videos on Padlet

Part of the experiment was to develop and improve the teaching. Originally, we had planned to use document cameras for watching the students’ videos, but the document cameras in the classrooms didn’t work. That is why we choose to use Padlet in the next lessons. After the first lesson, we also made the feedback questionnaire clearer and emphasized the intended content of the videos. We also made it clear that the students could and should ask us for help if needed. These changes were done based on our observations and the feedback we were given.

Reflection and conclusions

This project gave us a chance to reflect and analyze teaching and learning in a way that was new to us. We have developed our skills, acquired knowledge, and above all gained courage to try new and different things in the classroom. The goals we set for our project and lessons were mainly met. Video making in the classroom was something creative and different we had not tried before, and it was new for the students too. Teaching two classes simultaneously and remotely was also new to us and took us out of our comfort zones in a good way. The lesson activities were in accordance with social constructivism as the students were active learners and worked together creatively. Based on our observations video works well as a tool for teaching and learning because it presents information in a diverse way and making videos activates the students to search, process, and present information collaboratively. The weaker area of our lessons was the interaction between us and the students.  In the remote setting we could not observe and control what was happening in the classroom in the regular way. Another challenge we faced was the individuality of the students and the groups. We think that these problems could have been fixed with better communication between us and the students.

Sonja Haapala, Mari Kolmonen & Lotta Tapanainen


Malin, A. & Palojoki, P. (2015). Flexible learning environments in home economics education. Teoksessa H. Janhonen-Abruquah & P. Palojoki (toim.), Luova ja vastuullinen kotitalousopetus – Creative and responsible home economics education (pp. 61–72). Kotitalous- ja käsityötieteiden julkaisuja, nr. 38. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press.

Lakkala, M. (2012). Tutkiva oppiminen. Teoksessa L. Ilomäki (toim.), Laatua E-Oppimateriaaleihin. E-oppimateriaalit opetuksessa ja oppimisessa, pp. 93–99. Opetushallitus.

Kiesiläinen, I. (2017). Kamerakynän pedagogiikka.

Sanitation and hygiene – Seppo as a tool of distant teaching

Hoffren Noora, Huhtala Sinna, Laukkanen Silja & Myyryläinen Roope


This blogpost is part of our home economics master’s degree course “Teacher as a researcher of one’s job” in which we did a small teaching experiment by using modern digital tools. Our groups teaching experiment took part in Finnish junior high school on total of three classes of which two where 8th grades and one of 9th grade. Our experiments topic was sanitation and hygiene which is part of home economics Finnish national core curriculum (S2) (POPS, 2014). Teaching experiment was put into practice by using distance learning methods in a way where the classes were in their own classroom with their own teacher but we as teachers of this experiment communicated with them from a distance by using Google Meets. The main aspect of our teaching experiment was to teach by using digitality and gamification. We made our own game about sanitation and hygiene by using game designing platform called Seppo. Sadly we made our game with 30 days try out license, so we are not able to share a link to the actual game. Besides Seppo we also used two different digital tools, Classroomscreen and Google Forms, as part of our experiment. Classroomscreen worked out as an app which we used to show the students different QR-codes to the game, the source of information about hygiene and the Google Forms which we used for getting feedback from the students. Through Classroomscreen we also showed our faces to the students to improve interaction. 

General view of our sanitation and hygiene game inside Seppo platform
By Laukkanen Silja


Background for our teaching experiment and planning of it based on conception of learning called sociocultural constructivism which is considered to be developed by Lev Vygotski. In sociocultural constructivism learning is seen as social and cultural as well as communal processes and phenomena. Which means that knowledge can’t just be given to students, they must understand and build it themselves and it is their responsibility to learn. Sociocultural constructivism also emphasizes on students deeper understanding of things and phenomena rather than just memorizing facts. As the base of our ideas about sociocultural constructivism we used Siljanders (2014) book “Systematic leading to education theory”When teaching in sociocultural constructive way teachers’ responsibility is to provide learning environment, help with the right information acquisition and to assist with independent studying. In this teaching experiment we used method called flipped learning. In this case it was done by giving the students homework in advance to study our experiments topic. Studying topic in advance makes it possible for our experiment to rehearse already learned knowledge and build new on it. This way responsibility of learning is given to students themselves and studying is focusing on students to become more independent of their learning. 

In addition to sociocultural constructivism and flipped learning our teaching experiment also based strongly on digitality and gamification.  Teaching and learning took part mostly on digital learning environment. Which was combination of four different digital applications, Seppo, Classroomscreen, Google Forms and Google Meets. Besides digital learning environment students also took part in physical learning environment in their own classroom with their own home economics teacher who helped them from closer contact. Combination of physical and digital learning environments made it possible for the students to have better interaction with the teachers and between themselves. When teaching in digital environment from a distance it is important to make interaction possible, separate learning from totally independent learning and have different kinds of assignments that consist written data, pictures, and voice to allow different kind of learners to understand and create learning experiences. (Rantanen & Palojoki, 2015.)  Main reason for our teaching with gamification was to see how it motivates and inspires students to learn new things. Through gamification it is possible to provide learning in interesting and fun form and it works as good motivational base for learning. One motivational element of games is getting points and instant positive feedback which keeps students’ motivation high while playing. When using gamification in teaching it is important to pay attention to difficulty of the game. If the game is too easy or too hard it may extinguish students’ motivation towards the game on learning. 

Teaching experiment

Our goals in our teaching experiment were aimed towards both the students and for ourselves. During this course we wanted to improve our skills working and teaching in group. We also wanted to learn about new ways and platforms of distance teaching and try some of them in practice because this was first time of distance teaching for most of us. Our goal for our teaching experiment was to create motivational and inspirational learning task and lesson for highly theoretical topic. We also wanted to focus on achieving good interaction with the students’ even though we were not physically in the same place with them. What we wanted the students’ get from this experience were to improve their interaction skills, learn how to find and build new knowledge and to learn about the sanitation and hygiene which was the main topic of the lesson. (POPS, 2014.)

Teaching experiment started with 8th graders on Monday morning. First, we introduced ourselves to the students and then gave them instructions about the lesson. After instructions we gave students permission to start playing Seppo game. Our Seppo game consisted of eight different little tasks and missions about sanitation and hygiene. For example, we had tasks about dishwashing, cleaning tools and identifying pests. During gaming students got instant feedback and points from the games alongside feedback from us through chat and some of the tasks. After first lesson we were pretty happy about how it went although we noticed some little things that we should improve for our next lesson. For next lesson modified our Classroomscreen to be easier to understand and we decided to emphasize chat more for the next group so we can interact better with the students. We also decided to make ninth task to the game because their teacher told us that they are really capable group. We also changed the size of groups, where students play the game, to pairs from previous groups of four. This way we managed to get students to take part in the game better. During the second lesson we had better interaction with the students through chat and we also noticed that the pairs work better than little groups. After second lesson we took the extra task away from the game because last lesson was going to be on Friday evening and the students would be little bit tired already. We also added picture of Seppo Taalasmaa from Salatut Elämät television series to Classroomscreen as we thought we would motivate the students to study with little bit humour. 

Task about dishwashing
By Laukkanen Silja

After getting feedback about the experiment from students and their teacher together with our own feelings we felt that our experiment was success. Based on feedback from the students’ 83 percent of them thought that the lesson was either interesting, okay or they learned something new. Only 17% percent of the students’ thoughts that the experiment was boring. We also thought that our teaching with gamification and flipped learning really worked because most of the students did very well in different tasks and were really self-oriented towards looking for knowledge. In our opinion important factor for our experiment to be successful was that the students were in their classroom together with their teacher and that made learning and interaction work a lot better. If the experiment would have been done totally distantly we think that it would not have worked so well because it would have lacked great amount of students interaction among each other. 

Classroomscreen view.
By Laukkanen Silja


Peruskoulun opetussuunnitelman perusteet [POPS] (2014). Helsinki: Opetushallitus. 

Rantanen, M. & Palojoki, P. (2015). Kotitalous verkko-opetuksena. Teoksessa H. Janhonen-Abruquah & P. Palojoki (toim.), Luova ja vastuullinen kotitalousopetus. Creative and responsible home economics education (s. 73–94). Helsinki: Unigrafia. 

Siljander, P. (2014). Systemaattinen johdatus kasvatustieteeseen. Peruskäsitteet ja pääsuuntaukset. Tampere: Vastapaino. 

The Lifecycle of Clothes – An Adventure Pedagogical Part of Distance Teaching

Olga-Maaria Mattila & Heli Orhala-Halminen

This summary is part of the study module PED006 Opettaja työnsä tutkijana (Teacher as a researcher of her/his own work). This course is a part of Master’s studies in Home Economics. In this course, we had to distance-teach the upper level pupils in comprehensive school, because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. At first, we had to teach pupils by distance so that they would have been in school. But the pupils were also at home, because due the corona restrictions, all schools were closed, and all teaching took place as distance teaching and learning. The main theme of this course was teaching differently –   we  also had to consider gender-sensitive and distance teaching issues.

Who? How? Where?

The teaching experiments took place over the network so that everyone used their own technical equipment – computer, tablet computer or smartphone. The baseline for distance learning is that pupils use technical equipment of the school (Opetushallitus, 2021). In our teaching experiment, we used Microsoft Teams and Padlet as joint platforms, which were already familiar to pupils. We ended up using Microsoft Teams because the school where we gave the distance learning experiment, uses it on a daily basis already. We chose to use Padlet because it is an easy-to-use, free platform on which a teacher can create a wall for assignments and pupils can complete it. Padlet does not require registration. You can create your own Padlet-platform here:

We chose our own topic for the lessons. We chose to teach about the lifecycle of the clothes by using an adventure pedagogy. We kept lessons to pupil on 7th and 8th grade. First lessons were given to 8th grade pupils. Lessons were both 2 x 45 minutes long. We used Microsoft Teams’ breakout room -function to divide pupils into smaller groups with 4 to 5 pupils.

The main goal of the lessons was to teach pupils about the lifecycle of clothes including the price, how to take care of clothes (washing, folding etc.) and how to recycle clothes after use. The skill we chose to teach was how to fold a long-sleeve and a short-sleeve shirt and three different kinds of socks – ankle socks, short crew socks and crew socks –  by Marie Kondo’s KonMari -style – (pictures 1 & 2). We taught this skill by showing teaching videos and showing in person how to fold shirts and socks.

Picture 1 KonMari-style folded socks (picture by Heli Orhala-Halminen)
Picture 2 KonMari-style folded long-sleeved shirt (picture by Olga-Maaria Mattila)

Educational baselines

The pedagogical framework for our teaching experiment was based on the socio-constructivist approach to learning. In this approach, the pupil is an active agent who learns, sets goals, and solves problems in interaction with others. The socio-constructivist view of learning is also relevant to the subject of Home Economics, as it, for example, highlights the importance of cooperation and interaction skills. The role of the teacher is to be a constructive instructor as well as to guide the pupil’s learning in social interaction.

To organize the interaction, we used large groups, small groups and individual modes of work. In large group teaching, only the teacher is active while the pupils are in a passive role. Small group teaching supports active interaction between pupils, which helps them to understand the subject more extensively.The pupils play an active role as both researcher and producer of information. Individual work allows students to work at their own pace and is essential in practicing skills. Teaching a new skill – folding shirts and socks– included all these three forms.

In this teaching experiment, we utilized simultaneous co-teaching. Generally, co-teaching emphasizes the importance of collaboration and planning with another teacher. Central in the co-operation between teachers is the ability to discuss with a colleague, to give up one’s own preconceptions as a teacher and to find together the best way to implement the planning and implementation of teaching (Pruuki, 2008, 62).

Using an adventure pedagogy in teaching

Before the lessons, we instructed the pupils to take garments for distance learning such as long-sleeved shirt, T-shirt, and different kind of socks. The teaching session began with an introduction. After the presentation, the pupils were shown a video (picture 3).

Picture 3 Start of the teaching video (picture by Olga-Maaria Mattila)

You can  watch the teaching video here:

After watching the video, we divided pupils into smaller groups, and they worked together in different kinds of game points. The game points were:

  1. The first game point was to consider the formation of the price of clothing by first reading the article independently and answer to the questions given in the group.
  2. The second game point was about teaching a new skill – folding clothes. On the second lesson, we left out the second game point and taught the folding of the clothes in a large group.
  3. In the third game point, the pupils get acquainted with the care instructions for clothes included in the teaching session and taught the characters to each other in the group.
  4. At the fourth game point, the pupils had to get information about the recycling of the clothes and tell about one recycling option of their choice.

In our teaching experiment, experience and adventure pedagogy appears through a converging continuum in teaching. Initially, pupils were shown a video that they could possibly identify with. The video challenged the pupils to consider buying and caring for clothes. The video presented students with a riddle (the so-called question of the day) in which pupils search for answers at game points. The game point tasks were designed to support the structure of the lesson continuum.

After working in small groups, we went through the students’ responses in Padlet together. At the end of the lesson, pupils could give anonymous feedback to us about the lesson.

How to modify this teaching experiment?

The teaching experiment could use an instructional video to teach the folding of the clothes, where learning would be supported by captions and recorded speech. The instructional video should also be slower so that videos don’t have to be paused or watched many times in-between teaching. It would have also been a good idea to make a pictorial instruction for the pupils in a separate file, including a written text.


Cantell, H. (2010). Ratkaiseva vuorovaikutus. Pedagogisia kohtaamisia lasten ja nuorten kanssa. Jyväskylä: PS-Kustannus.

Kondo, M. (2016). KonMari. Siivouksen elämänmullistava taika. Helsinki: Bazar Kustannus Oy.

Opetushallitus. (2021). Perusopetuksen järjestäminen 1.1.2021 alkaen. Verkkodokumentti:  Viitattu 27.4.2021

Pruuki, L. (2008). Ilo opettaa. Tietoa, taitoa ja työkaluja. Helsinki: Edita.

Starting with the youth’s own world – TikTok and life hacks as a pedagogical tool

Saara Pullinen, Sofia Engström , Vili Kinos & Maiju Mustonen

We took on a task to produce a fun and an inventive way of teaching teenage students about ecological cleaning methods. After some brainstorming and a little analytical thinking, we found ourselves scrolling through TikTok looking for cleaning life hacks. We wanted our project to be strongly rooted in the youth’s own world, rather than starting from our group’s own perspective. TikTok turned out to be a great fit for our needs. It’s widely used amongst teenagers, is free to use and with it one can produce a great variety of content with music, effects and all kinds of interesting little flavorings to make the videos stand out in a personal way. All these taken into account, we felt confident that TikTok was an appropriate tool for our project. We got valuable information about using social media as a pedagogical tool from the 2012 research Social media’s educational uses (original: sosiaalisen median opetuskäyttö) by Harto Pönkä, Niina Impiö and Venla Vallivaara.

Life hacks on the other hand, we weren’t so sure about. Our project would never fake flight amongst the internet-fluent millennials if our chosen topic of life hacks was “two-thousand-and-late”. Luckily, our hesitations turned out to be pointless, as the students were excited working with the project. This left us happy and smiling on two levels. Firstly, our project was a success, and secondly, we are still in touch with the fast-developing world of the millennials. That means we’re not boomers yet, which is a relieving realization, considering all of us in the group are still in our twenties!

We noticed that a lot of the content on the internet concerning ecological cleaning revolved around using everyday household products for cleaning purposes. Salt, baking soda, carbonated water and lemon amongst other citrus fruits are a few examples of common products that were used for a wide range of resourceful cleaning. We chose sodium bicarbonate, or in other words, regular baking soda, as our ecological cleaning agent. Baking soda is a cheap, widely available and a very versatile household pantry staple, that also happens to be environmentally friendly. All of these factors were important for our project, especially the availability of the cleaning agent, since all basic education with all of its materials has to be free of charge in Finland. We designed the cleaning tasks so that, if the students didn’t have baking soda at home, they could substitute it with salt instead.

After all the planning and researching was done, we started testing our project with three different upper comprehensive school classes ranging from the 7th to the 9th grade. As the teaching part of our project was in progress during the early part of 2021, we had to adjust to the mandatory restrictions set by the Finnish government to control effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. This meant our teaching was going to have to be provided remotely using Microsoft Teams as our platform. For the first two classes we were able to have one of us from the group in the actual classroom with the students while the rest of the group joined via Teams. By the third class, basic education was once again transferred to a remote setting, so the whole class was performed remotely.

How to clean a coffee cup using baking soda (Photo: Saara)

As mentioned in the first paragraph, in the core of our project was the youth’s own world and their ways, so we wanted our methods to be connected to that standpoint. The students worked together in small groups to come up with the best solution to a given baking soda cleaning task. The tasks were cleaning a stained kitchen sink, cleaning a burnt pot and removing unpleasant smells from a refrigerator. We used  Classroomscreen as a tool to demonstrate the classes’ structure and contents. The tasks, a countdown timer, an instructional video, a QR-code for a feedback sheet and the classes’ main structure points were all shown on the screen. The screen could be seen throughout the class on the smart screen.

Screenshot from Classroomscreen (Photo: Saara)

Before the students started searching possible cleaning uses for baking soda, we showed an instructional baking soda cleaning video made by Martat (The Marthas), a Finnish Home Economics organization. After the video, the students were given ten minutes to complete the given task. Once the given time had passed, the students presented their chosen ways of completing the task. The conversation surrounding the cleaning methods was good and rich, despite the difficulties we had with sound while joining via Teams. Communication and interaction in a remote setting turned out to be the largest problem in our project for a few reasons. Firstly, online communications are not always completely reliable. A problem in the WiFi-network might be the downfall of an entire project. Luckily, we only had minor problems with internet connection. Secondly, an online introduction of three new teachers doesn’t exactly spark conversation. Without a face-to-face meeting with the students, we felt that the students couldn’t really connect with us, which resulted in very little interaction between us teaching from home and the students sitting in class. Between the first two classes we made some modifications to our project, so that we could create more interaction. We had minor success with increased interaction, but our limited connection with the students still kept the conversation level low. We started wondering possible fixes for the third class.

Unfortunately, our third class had to be performed in a completely remote setting, so we decided to take a slightly different approach. We started with a live demonstration on how to clean sneakers with baking soda, while the students participated from home. For the absent students, we had filmed similar videos for them to learn from. After the demonstration we showed three baking soda cleaning hack videos on TikTok that were made by our friends and family. The performers were of different ages and sexes, which we felt was an important factor to consider when showing students demo videos. Next, the students got to work. They could clean their sneakers during the class or later and make a video of the process. The students were truly excited when they saw that they were able to clean their sneakers so that they look like new again!

Life hack: using baking soda to clean your sneakers

As we concluded our project, we were happy for the results and experiences we got. Videos have become such a natural part of the youth’s own world, and platforms such as TikTok are present in their everyday life. Using this already existing interest and enthusiasm, we were able to produce an effective and compelling set of classes that needed little outside motivation. The biggest challenges for social media and video-based education projects seem to be the privacy protection and data safety aspects, as well as up to date knowledge of the school’s rules on the matter. Know-how of the platform and the equipment are also needed for a successful project. So, with good planning and preparing, a set of classes like ours can certainly be performed in upper comprehensive schools. It’s always refreshing to step out of one’s comfort zone, and we encourage teachers all around to take the step!

Pönkä, H., Impiö, N., & Vallivaara, V. (2012). Ohjeita sosiaalisen median käyttöönottoon ja pedagogisen käytön arviointiin. Teoksessa: Pönkä, H., Impiö, N., & Vallivaara, V. (toim.) Sosiaalisen median opetuskäyttö. ss. 109–118. Tampere: Juvenes print. Saatavilla: