Functional & interactive distance teaching on responsible consumption of clothing

Elli Pölhö, Katja Sula, Ida Volotin  ja Anne Yli-Karhu

Our teaching experiment is part of the course Opettaja työnsä tutkijana (teacher as a Researcher) which is one of the master’s degree studies. The starting point of the course was to develop and thereby develop our own research approach and increase our digital pedagogical competence (OTT, 2022). In this course, we had to plan, implement and further develop a lesson which was implemented for three different home economics study groups. The second and third teaching groups received a more developed version of the lesson. 

Starting points and backgrounds of the teaching experiment

The main theme in our teaching experiment was to teach in another way – we also had to consider hands-on approach and interactivity home economics distance teaching. As we were focusing on hands-on approach, we wanted to look for variation and diversity in work methods and to bring out different ways of learning. Through hands-on approach, we also wanted to increase the interaction between students, because in distance education the interaction between teacher and student is often incomplete (Rantanen & Palojoki, 2015, p. 85.) As distance teachers we strive to be encouraging and activate students despite the distance. In addition to our own goals, the goal of the teaching experiment was to guide pupils to evaluate their own consumption behavior and the development of responsibility for clothing-related choices. Responsibility, both as a value and a goal, is considered important in home economics and is also considered a basic goal of education (POPS, 2014; Wennonen & Palojoki, 2015, p. 18).

Description of the teaching experiment

Our pupils were on the 7th grade. The teaching experiment consisted of three lessons which were each 1 x 60 minutes long. The actual distance learning took place as follows: We teachers taught everyone from home and the students were at school with their own teacher. The learning environments consisted of the classroom and e-learning environments. We held the same lesson for three different classes and developed our teaching even better after each lesson. 

Picture 1. Awesome distance teachers at work. Picture by: Fiia Lujasmaa

Our teaching experiment was built on learning approaches such as behaviorism and constructivism. In the lessons, we aimed for an interactive and hands-on distance learning environment through a variety of tasks. In our teaching, we utilized the technological applications Mentimeter and Flinga

Picture 2. View of Mentimeter. Picture is a screenshot.
Picture 3. View of Flinga. Picture is a screenshot.

The purpose was to awaken pupils to our actual subject. In the mentimeter, pupils had to think about what they think of the word “responsible clothing”. They were allowed to share their thoughts on responsible clothing anonymously. Flinga was utilized as a stimulus for discussion about the clothing industry. In this way, we were able to get information about the pupils’ current information as well as look at the countries where their own clothes were made. Both tasks sparked a lot of discussion in the groups, and we got some great insights.

Picture 4. Awesome pupils on a hunting trip in functional task.

In the pair task, pupils memorized sentences they dictated to each other. The sentences dealt with responsible clothing and were in the kitchens. Students searched the sentences in pairs from the kitchens. The purpose of this section was to add interactivity among the students and functionality in the lesson. As students try to memorize relatively challenging and new topics, they must focus on the movement to tune the brain in a different way than when it done statically. This also increases focus, as the thing to remember is the whole sentence. In addition, this section supports the objectives recorded in the curriculum (POPS, 2014).

The other hands-on task was interactive group task. In the task, pupils consider together the final disposal of different textiles (torn and dirty). Before that we showed video made by us which dealt with extending the life cycle of clothing. Overall, the lessons were a great success, except for a few remarks we made during the reflection. We believe lessons were succeeded since we had prepared for the lessons by carefully planning and practicing. The lessons were very interesting to implement, and they concretized the whole development tasks well. 


OTT. (2022). Opettaja työnsä tutkijana. Helsingin yliopisto.

POPS. (2014). Perusopetuksen opetussuunnitelman perusteet 2014. Opetushallituksen verkkosivut. Saatavilla:,0,0

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). Kotitalous- ja käsityötieteiden julkaisuja 38. Helsingin yliopisto. Helsinki: Unigrafia.

Wennonen, S. & Palojoki, P. (2015).  Vastuullisuus ja vastuullisuuskasvatus kotitalousopetuksessa.  Teoksessa H, Janhonen-Abruquah & P, Palojoki (toim.), Luova ja vastuullinen kotitalousopetus. Creative and responsible home economics education (s. 6–28). Kotitalous- ja käsityötieteiden julkaisuja 38. Helsingin yliopisto. Helsinki: Unigrafia.

Shoemaker´s helpline

Theory behind our teaching experiment

The Finnish national core curriculum (FNCC, 2014, p. 17) is based on a concept of learning in which the student is an active operator who learns to solve problems and sets goals both individually and in collaboration with others. Like the FNCC, our learning experiment was built on a constructive concept of learning, where students operate as active members of the group and interact with each other to solve the questions presented during the classes. As Siljander says (2015, p. 216), the constructive concept of learning can be divided into either individual or social approaches. According to Kauppila (2007, p. 48) the social approach enhances the construction of learning in collaboration with others and (2007, p. 76) gives the teacher a possibility to improve students´ meaningful learning and helps developing their inner motivation.

In our teaching experiment we utilized problem-based learning which, according to Ilomäki (2012, p. 106), is a pedagogical model where students develop their learning by discussing among themselves pre-arranged problems. Before the lessons we compiled the problems into video format, and during the lessons the students searched for the solutions in small groups. Ilomäki (2012, p. 109) says that the teacher´s role in problem-based teaching is to plan the content of the problematic situation and be the expert from whom students can seek advice. Another expert in our teaching was the shoemaker, who specializes in shoe care. We also used reverse teaching, which means that students get acquainted with the theory at home and do assignments at school (Toivola, Peura & Humaloja, 2017, p. 20).

Development of the teaching experiment

Traditionally, shoe care teaches that students should take care of either their own shoes as well as school shoes and, at the same time, learn to use various materials and tools for shoe care. We decided to come up with something new and different for our shoe care teaching. Since we wanted to use problem-based learning as the background theory for our lessons, we started to develop shoe care problems. We created problem situations that the students might face in their daily lives because, according to Perry (2020, p. 139), in home economics lessons it is good to focus on the care of the kind of shoes that the students themselves wear.

We ended up filming video material for the lessons. The videos acted as “sensitive material” of people who have different kinds of problems with shoe care. The topics of the videos were: dirty sneakers, broken heel, protection of new shoes and leather shoe care. We also wanted to bring a bit of humour to the problems; this was achieved by dramatizing the problems and editing the videos so that the voices and pictures of the people were blurred and names changed. In addition, the actual shoes seen in the videos were available in the classroom so that the students could examine them while solving the problems presented in the videos. The shoes had been treated in such a way that they corresponded to the stories and the emerged problems seen in the videos.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is blogi-kuva-1.png

Picture 1. Shoemaker introducing sneaker care

For our learning experiment, we created a shoemaker´s helpline where an actual shoemaker gave answers to the people with shoe problems. The aim of our lesson was that the students would learn how to properly take care of different kinds of shoes. The shoemaker acted as an expert of shoe care, who gave his solutions to the problems seen in the videos. Bringing the shoemaker to the teaching experiment created credibility to the stories and opened the profession of shoemaker to the students.

Carrying out the teaching experiment

We carried out our teaching experiment in an Uusimaa school of over 400 students. We taught four classes of seventh graders during a week. We decided to use Google Meet as the platform for our teaching because it was known to the students. The duration of each lesson was 45 minutes.

All the lessons had a similar, clear structure. Before the lessons we had sent to the students a video greeting of ourselves including the pre-assignment to read from their own book the chapter about shoe care and find out what the shoemaker´s job is like. In the beginning of each lesson, we explained the topic, goals and structure of the lesson and we got acquainted with the shoemaker by showing a video greeting from him. After this, we went through the shoe problems one by one: first we watched a video, then we gave the students time to answer the problem in Google Meet chat and, at the end, we watched a pre-recorded answer from the shoemaker and discussed it a little bit together with the students. After having watched, answered and discussed all the problems, the students gave us feedback by filling a Google Forms –questionnaire that we had designed for them beforehand. In the feedback questionnaire we asked “what did you learn about shoe care” and “did you like the lesson”; in addition, it was possible to write an open feedback. At the end of each lesson we gave the students a homework in which they had to ponder why shoe care is important and examine their own favorite shoes and think about how they could be treated.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is blogi-Kuva2.png

Figure 1. Virtual learning environment

Realization of the objectives of the teaching sessions

In our teaching experiment we wanted to create as motivating and developing a way as possible for students to learn how to take care of shoes. Our goal was also to get out of our own comfort zone and try a new way for all of us to implement online co-education with the students in their classroom and us teachers at our homes.

We managed to reach all the goals we had set for our teaching experiment. We were able to plan and implement a brave teaching experiment where we utilized our self-made teaching videos as the heart of the lessons. We are satisfied with the fact that we dared to enact our own vision of shoe care in practice. We feel that the teaching experiment developed us as teachers and co-teachers. Based on the feedback, we believe that the purpose of our teaching experiment (learning the correct way of shoe care, developing teamwork skills and improving problem solving skills) were all realized by the students.

We are especially happy about the way we made progress throughout the four teaching sessions. The first session went all wrong because of technical difficulties but we were able to fix the issues before the second one. The teaching that went wrong was very instructive and we understood how important it is in distant teaching to make alternative plans in case of technical problems. The second lesson went already better than the first one but we were perhaps rushing it a bit too much because we weren’t sure about how much time each group discussion would take. Our third and fourth lessons went significantly better and we didn’t really have any technical issues. Throughout the teaching sessions we as teachers became more natural and improved our interaction with the students. We all agree that four teaching sessions were just the right amount for this experiment because we developed after every single lesson and after the fourth one everything went wonderfully and we were very pleased with our teaching.

Kaisa Häyrinen

Minna Lempinen

Saara Miikkulainen


FNCC. (2014). The Finnish national core curriculum 2014. Helsinki: Opetushallitus.

Ilomäki, L. (2012). Ongelmakeskeinen oppiminen. In L. Ilomäki (ed.) Laatua e-oppimateriaaleihin – E-oppimateriaalit opetuksessa ja oppimisessa. (s. 106–110). Tampere: Yliopistopaino.

Kauppila, R. A. (2007). Ihmisen tapa oppia. Jyväskylä: PS-kustannus.

Perry, T. (2020). Vuosisuunnitelma kotitalousopetukseen – kestävän kehityksen mukaista kotitalousopetusta. Kotitalousopettajien liitto ry ja WWF Suomi.

Siljander, P. (2015). Systemaattinen johdatus kasvatustieteeseen. Tampere: Vastapaino.

Toivola, M., Peura, P. & Humaloja, M. (2017). Flipped Learning – Käänteinen oppiminen. (1. edition). Helsinki: Edita.

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: