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Hug me! – collaborative digital learning

The student-centered model for digital content production

This model focuses on coaching learners towards emergent leadership; the ability to steer things in the right direction without the authority to do so, through social competence using collaboratively digital tools and environments. A model to use learners' hidden competences and intrinsic motivation in digital learning processes.

Finland 100


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100






March 2017
The Hug me! - innovation improves student agency, proactivity and entrepreneurship skills. It creates a foundation for collaborative digital learning and the improvement of socio-emotional skills.

About the innovation

What is it all about?

According to a PISA study, 15 percent of Finnish students feel left out and even more feel unmotivated at school. Schools must change in order to stay meaningful to students and fill the gap between students' and teachers' digital skills. Teaching methods and tools should provide students with the means necessary to cope in their personal lives as well as in the working life. These skills include socio-emotional skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking, creativity as well as collaborativeskills.

Hug me! strides to answer this need with student-centeredcollaborative digital content projects. The projects improve the students’ sense of agency, proactivity andentrepreneurship skills while creating a foundation for collaborative digital learning and improving socio-emotional skills.

Hug me! aimsfor transversal competence stated in the new Finnish national core curriculum of 2014; thinking and learning to learn, cultural competence, interaction and self-expression, taking care of oneself and managing daily life, multiliteracy, ICT Competence, working life competence and entrepreneurship, participation, involvement and building a sustainable future.

The innovation allows students to create their own digital projects in groups. They choose the tools and methods themselvesas well as the phenomenon itself. A solution-basedapproach and autonomy are key elements for the successful implementation of the model.

Instructors encourage the students to face themselves as well as their hopes, fears and thoughts. Through this self-examination they learn to understand others – we have more in common than not. The group is a safe space to take chances and eliminate fears of failure or embarrassment.

The innovation instructs teachers how to implement content production into collaborative learning among students.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


In this solution-based collaborative learning, socio-emotional skills and digital content are linked together to make learning an adventure and help students to find the joy of learning through digitalization in school.


The impact of our solution can be seen in students’ experiences that are linked to 21st century's future skills and in intrinsic motivation Collaborative skills, negotiation skills and flexibility; students learn to listen to each other and tolerate different people and ideas.


By using digital tools and platforms sourced by Cuppla and Claned and developed for Hug me!, teachers and students can collect all digital content into one location and share the content with each other. This solution combines device and learning management and supports collaborative learning. It can be used anytime, anywhere.

Implementation steps

Socio-emotional skills as the base for collaborative learning
Collaborative learning is centered around students' socio-emotional skills. The implementation of the innovation requires a well-grouped class where everyone knows each other and work well together.

The students must feel safe in the group and learn to trust the other members. This way they are comfortable enough to be active and see that the group works well in different situations. Students must be able to solve problems as a team, make plans, commit and get along with different types of people with differing opinions.

The teacher designs:

  • The timetable and the size of the project. These should be flexible because projects can push the schedule.

  • The phenomenon studied. Introduce the project with a discussion mapping out the students' prior knowledge.

Remember that the discussion is all about interaction. Discussions instill social skills as well as encourage students to take and appoint the floor without raising their hands.

Choosing a phenomenon to study
You can use different methods to choose the themes regarding the phenomenon.

They can be ideas formed by the teacher, the parents, the curriculum or the students themselves. The teacher makes the final decision. The phenomenon should be linked to the national core curriculum's objectives.

Project examples:

Example 1

The phenomenon of the Mikkeli refugee center was named “More alike than different.” A genuine contact to a transformation in a local neighborhood provided a golden opportunity to improve the students' and their parents' cultural competences. It also allowed them to face their feelings and prejudices that the project aimed to tackle.

Example 2

A school-year-long project on working life skills and entrepreneurship was called “Working – student-experiences.” The students spent a day at their parent’s job and filmed a video based on their research questions.

Example 3

The parents of a class requested the phenomenon to be entrepreneurship. The Finnish national core curriculum includes entrepreneurship in the learning goals of its transversal competencies. The students brainstormed, planned and founded their own businesses. As a result, the class won a entrepreneurship competition.

Choosing the subjects linked to the phenomenon
A multidisciplinary approach to the phenomenon is encouraged as it tends to become a natural part of project based learning.

Choose 3–5 subjects best suited to investigate the phenomenon. The students will further the project during these subject lessons.

Often multiple subjects are applicable to the phenomenon, however, it is important to choose specific subjects in which lessons will be used to work the project. This way the teachers and students can see a clear structure in their learning and the teacher can research and write down the learning goals stated in the curriculum under the subjects chosen.

Dividing into groups
Learning means growing together, rather than looking for one’s mistakes.

The group serves to support, educate and inspire every member in reaching their full potential. Trust and team spirit will improve and peer learning allows students’ voices to be heard. In addition the sharing of information and skills becomes relevant. You should encourage students to voice their opinions and listen to those of others.

You can divide the groups yourself or the students can form them themselves. The groups can also be determined by chance. You should instruct the students on how to determine the responsibilities of every group member so that the team will work smoothly.

The groups should have a maximum of four students. This way everyone has enough to do.

Setting goals and creating research questions
The teacher should set the goals for the project and explain these goals to the students for better understanding of the learning process.

The teacher sets three goals for the whole class based on the curriculum's guidelines for the subjects chosen. The goals help focus the project on what needs to be learned and enable independent study.

The students should also set team goals for learning about their phenomenon and for collaborative learning. The students ultimately decide what goals are best. They should consider a) what the common thread in the phenomenon and their project is, and b) how to reach the goals? Every team should have three class goals and three team goals, so six altogether.

Research questions

The students create 3–5 research questions per team. They should be connected to the theme in question and they define and guide the investigation.

Choosing digital platforms and applications
The school should have a working internet connection and tablets for each class in order to successfully implement the content production projects.

Various applications can be used to support the projects, so use them. There are a great number of suitable applications, so you should begin with familiar ones and encourage students to learn to use new applications at home. Students often have immense ICT skills so when they can choose their own working methods, they will be more motivated and creative. You must think what factors affect the choice of the correct tool and application. To help with this, you can use the Padagogy Wheel which has gathered different applications and their purpose.

The Padagogy Wheel 4.1.

Working culture
The work can last just one day or up to six weeks, depending on the scale of the project. You should not or really cannot set a strict time-limit because the projects progress stage-by-stage.

It is important to trust the children and allow independent work.


Hold separate project lessons during the week so that the projects can get started. The teacher should provide guidance and encouragement as well as ensure that the teams can get ahead. The teacher must shift their mindset in order to support a new type of learning and help develop students' self-control.

The teacher should hold weekly discussions with each team about their progress as well as goals and plans for the week. This requires trust, not just within the team but between the teacher and the students.

Open learning environment

Students work effortlessly in different learning environments, both at school and outside it with different networks. The students can work on their project at their parents' work place, visiting a local business or even in the woods next to their house or at home, depending on their topic. This is a good way to support students' engagement to the school and their independent entrepreneurship, agency and self-steering skills.

Assessment brings the cooperation between the home and the school to the fore.

The final products can be anything from videos to essays or even a product made on Book Creator. The teacher should instruct the students to choose the most effective method to present their project right from the beginning. When the projects are completed, an event should be held for the parents where everyone can discuss the production, phenomenon and process. The parents should be informed on the project's size and goals. You can also publish the final products on the class blog and YouTube channel as well as the parents' closed Facebook group.

You can tailor different types of questionnaires to make self-assessment easy for younger students. The questions can be open-ended or closed. You can learn more at Google forms.

Essay-form is the best type of self-assessment for older students. The directions should include steering questions. The students will learn essay writing skills but also other skills including reflection, self-assessment, process evaluation as well as explicating and developing.

During the whole project, you should teach the students how to verbalize their actions as a part of teaching continual reflecting and self-steering skills. If you continue with content production projects, the students will become bolder and more independent which builds team spirit.

Teacher training
Hug me! collaborates with Cuppla Technology and Claned.

We publish education packages that train teachers to carry out collaborative digital projects with their students. The online platform created by Cuppla and Claned enables the students and teachers to manage different programs and tools in a single place. We aim to make this teacher training a permanent part of teachers' further training. It will ease their work and everyday life in the digitalized world.

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