A 1.7m-strong online learning community created by Finnish teachers now has its own monthly magazine
Primary pupils aged 7-11 get to go on a world tour of places, peoples and customs with a new interactive e-magazine through Petra's Planet Share, a "social platform for learning" created with Finnish teachers.
The Petra's Planet magazine, developed by Finnish company Dramaforum, reflects the Nordic approach to learning — "fun, quality content, and cultural and environmental awareness with the concept of global citizenship", and schools can get it free for half a term.
Children 'travel' with a character called Petra to learn about different countries, cultures, customs, food, and animals. Dramaforum founder Eevamaria Halttunen explains: "We know that children learn while playing — and that possibility also exists during screen time. With Petra's Planet, children engage online in a way that is fun but also helps them to learn more about the world around them.
'Fostering compassion towards people and respect for the natural world'
"By learning about new countries, cultures, and nature, we can foster compassion towards people and respect for the natural world. It also makes reading fun and that's great news for parents and children."
Each issue of the magazine, published monthly, takes children to a different country and the first one is Brazil for an exploration of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. They are accompanied by creative projects, interactive puzzles, quizzes, news and reviews and downloadable activities including a printable passport for children to update. Future country visits include Sri Lanka and Lapland (for Christmas).
While the Petra’s Planet website spans home and school, Petra’s Planet Share is the online collaborative space for schools for cross-curricular learning and teaching tools created by Finnish teachers. It’s a subscription-based service that works on all devices through a browser — a safe "walled garden" for primary schools.
Free trial also delivers magazine until autumn half term
The good news for UK teachers and pupils is that any school that joins Petra Planet Share on a free trial also gets the magazine free every month until the autumn half term. They just apply and access is set up for them.
With Petra’s Planet Share teachers get ready-to-use lesson plans for cross-curricular use, moderation consoles, an Ofsted-mapped e-safety course and class blog. The children get customisable avatars, online profile page, personal blogs (with commenting system), collaborative learning tools and live chat.
Eevamaria Halttunen created Petra and Dramaforum because she found it hard to find appropriate online education content for her own children. The company now delivers a host of Petra's Planet-related services. Petra's Planet virtual world has more than 1.7 million subscribers worldwide, and Petra's Planet EDU products have designed for primary school use by teachers in Finland.
"I wanted to create products that are fun and also that inspire children to exercise their natural curiosity and discover the wonders of the world," she added.
The new e-magazine is also available through Apple. Android and Windows stores, and from Amazon, Sainburys Entertainment and the Pocketmags digital news stand. A print version will be distributed to Eurostar lounges in Paris, Brussels and London and on train services between London and the south of France. Spencer Heather, product delivery manager for Eurostar, said, "As our young travelers set off on a journey from the heart of London and Ashford to the south of France, we're sure Petra's Planet will keep them thoroughly entertained."
Copies of the new e-magazine are available to schools with free trials of Petra's Planet Share