Adapting to Covid-19 in Finland

Making of a Virtual Time Travel - What the work looks like in 2020.

What is the way forward when all Time Travels for the season are cancelled due to the lockdown?? In Finland the schools moved to distance learning at home from the middle of March until the middle of May. In the last two weeks of the school term the schools opened again, but with restrictions. Live Time Travels were out of the question because of this.

The Ostrobothnian Children’s Culture Network BARK in Finland usually do Time Travels most weekdays in May, but this year we needed to think outside the box. As we now live in a world, where we are socially distancing ourselves from one another the Time Travels has to find a new format. This year, all 6th and 8th graders in the region of Ostrobothnia got a link to a virtual Time Travel to 1807 or 1943.

This is new territory and one learns and gets new ideas as one goes along. What I have discovered, is that there can be different kinds of virtual Time Travels. One is a recorded version, with tasks and discussion topics. This can be led by a teacher. This kind of Time Travel can be distributed to many classes through a You Tube-video and is not so dependent on that all in the group have personal access to a social platform like Teams, Zooms or the like.

Another format of the virtual Time Travel is one that is held totally through a social platform like Teams, Zoom or Google, led by a museum professional or other Time Travel educator. Where the group can take part and discuss and perform as if they were on a physical place together. But this of course requires that all participants have access to the social platform and know how to use it.

As in a live Time Travel, this is not a performance or a play, it’s an interaction with the past, present and the future. After setting the scene through a video, the activity starts. The easiest point would be to make it just theoretical and have the students find the answers in documents; however, this would entail activity through film, music and handicraft, just as it would have been in a live Time Travel. And at the end, we reflect.

In both cases the challenge is that if there are manual tasks to be done, activities that everyone can do in the classroom or home surroundings must be planned. It’s not an option to write with quill pens and ink for example, as this is not something that is readily available. To do a virtual Time Travel can be interesting and creative. It’s a way to challenge the concept and take it to new levels. You need to think outside the box and the interaction will be different compared to the reality of physical Time Travel. The experience, which we often talk about will now take another form, but a form that will still engage and intrigue the participant to reflect on the past, present and the future.

Annina Ylikoski

The Ostrobothnian Children’s Culture Network BARK, Finland (Former Bridging Ages President)

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