I got an opportunity to participate in the summit organized by the Sutton Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in November 2014. The goal of the summit was to learn from one another how to create and sustain high quality teaching feedback and professional learning systems. The event was interesting and I learned a lot even though most of the examples are hard to implement into Finnish education system. Many educators were interested in our team-teaching model. We discussed what kinds of structures and resources are needed. Hopefully we were able to convince as many as possible.
The best part of the summit was meeting the educators from all over the world. The most memorable discussion I had with Australian principal Ray Trotter. His Wooranna Parks Primary School resembled a lot our Koulumestari School from Finland. They teach in teams, some pupils tutor others and they use a lot of ICT and robotics in their lessons. Mr Trotter introduced me Dr. David Thornburg’s ‘holodeck’ classroom, an environment that supports project-based learning. At Wooranna Parks Primary School they use videos like Enigma Portal in their projects. I have used similar kinds of videos in my lessons and with teacher-training courses as motivators. I think that this method develops problem-solving skills in many ways.
In 2014 we started the research collaboration with the FabLab@School. The research’s focus is to identify students’ skills to cope in everyday situations that require technology. FabLab@schools have started the research in the United States (1000 pupils) and now Finnish and Danish students are participating also.
The FabLab@School is a worldwide growing network of educational digital fabrications labs, especially designed for schools and children. It has been created by Prof. Paulo Blikstein at Stanford for middle and high school students (https://tltl.stanford.edu/project/fablabschool). The work that the FabLab@School does resembles a lot what Innokas Network is doing in Finland with elementary and middle school students.
Kati and Tiina from Innokas Network
In September 2014 we participated in the Chinese moon festival in Finland. It was organized by the City of Espoo with its key partners. During the evening we got to know more about the collaboration between Espoo and Shanghai. We also had an opportunity to share our experiences from Bridges Conference in Chongqing, China.
Tiina, Minna and Kati from Innokas Network
Innokas Network and the Innovative School Model was introduced in Minneapolis in Cradle to Career Conference at the University of Minnesota (University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management). The conference was part of FinnFest 2014 event. Tiina Korhonen, the Head of Innokas Network and Innokas Coordinator Minna Kukkonen’s presentation aroused thoughts of questions like ‘What is learning in 2020’ and ‘How does an Innovative School look like’. To answer these questions The Innovative School model was introduced through many practical examples.
There were many presentations about the Finnish school system. The Minister of Education and Culture, Krista Kiuru was present through a video greetings and moreover, we had presentations from the Ministry of Education and Culture International Relations Director Jaana Palojärvi, Professor Pasi Sahlberg and Rovio CMO Peter Vesterbacka. The joy of learning, the increasing of motivation and equal learning opportunities were the topics for speeches and discussions. The conference opened the USA – Finnish cooperation opportunities and, above all, shared experiences and ideas of reciprocity of good practices. It was interesting to hear about local schools and the education system both in Finland and in the United States. Lifelong learning, inspiration in learning and learning in 21st century touched us all, individually and collectively!
It was a pleasure to meet many wonderful persons and share many enthusiastic ideas. Networking is great!
Innokas-coordinator Minna from Finland
My colleagues and I had an opportunity to participate in Bridges-project last spring. The project was organized by international Network called Global Educational Community (GEC). Particopants comes from China, United States, Singapore, Australia and Finland. The network’s main goal is to develop learning, teaching and leading at the school level. In each of the participating countries teachers and pupils carried out a bridge themed project during the spring 2014. The process was documented and shared regularly online (http://www.ibridgelearn.net/show.php?id=70). We introduced our project in GEC/Bridges conference in July 2014 in Chongqing, China.
The first part of the conference focused on knowledge sharing. We saw many interesting projects that Chinese pupils and classes from other countries had done. We Finns had presentations of team-teaching, project based learning (PBL) and mobile learning. We listened great keynote speeches and participated in project based learning workshops.
At the second part of the journey we travelled to Chengdu where we visited Panda reservation and got a possibility to care pandas. We cleaned their cages, fed them and baked panda-bread for them. We also planned Panda-project which GEC schools will start during 2015 .
Innokas-coordinator Kati from Finland