Angie Riley´s greetings
Finland's GLOBE program welcomed me, Angie Riley, to several schools in early March of 2009. I have been traveling this year, comparing science-teaching methods in different countries, with a particular focus on environmental education. I was recently trained in GLOBE protocols and was anxious to visit successful programs. Of course, Finland was on my list. First I met with Jari Kolvisto, at Finland's Department of Education in Helsinki, to gain insight to Finland's science education and the history of GLOBE in Finland. He also helped to arrange school visits during my stay.
I first visited Palokan koulu near Jyväskylä and Markku Tossavainen's GLOBE group. I spent the day talking with students, watching them collect GLOBE data and interviewing everyone about their current GLOBE project, all in the hope of starting my own program when I return to my classroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) next September. As a 7th and 8th grade science teacher, I have long been interested in environmental issues and have tried to incorporate them into my lessons. Everyone in the school welcomed me and gave me ideas for my future lessons. I even had a chance to share a PowerPoint presentation about my school with several classes. It was thrilling to be with students again and they were curious to learn about my students. One idea I came away with was to have our students collaborate on a climate study comparing Minnesota and Finland! This is a real possibility with the use of the GLOBE database.
The other GLOBE school I visited was Utajärven lukio, where Timo Pakonen greeted me. Timo’s GLOBE program interested me because of how long it has been running. I believe their success is due, at least in part, to the level of “ownership” students have in the program. They collect the data around the school, conduct water quality tests in the lab and record their information into the GLOBE database. I truly enjoyed how they made me part of their group and we shared more than just science; it was also a cultural exchange. It was a very rewarding visit.
I want to thank everyone I met in Finland, though I couldn’t mention them all. I have just arrived home after 10 weeks of traveling, so I am just beginning to realize all the knowledge I have gained. I welcome any ideas and thoughts others have about GLOBE and environmental education. I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com