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Finnish project shapes schools of tomorrow

The findings from global case studies, trial projects in Finland and interviews with leaders in education will be turned into a free database open to teachers and educators worldwide.Hundred

Schools are a fundamental building block in our society, but they can struggle to keep up with the fast changing world around them. A new project in Finland, a country that is renowned for its education system, has set out to find out how schools can stay relevant and exciting for the next 100 years.

The Hundred project is part of a celebration programme for Finland’s centenary of independence in 2017 and one the biggest projects focused on Finnish basic education,” says Lasse Leponiemi, head of operations at Scool, the educational company running the non-profit project. “It examines what the world’s best education should be like in 100 years’ time.”

The Hundred team taps into both Finnish and international expertise to answer this question. They will interview 100 changemakers in education, create case studies of the 100 best education projects around the world and trial 100 Finnish education innovations in schools across the country.

“When the world is changing fast, schools need to be able to change with it and preferably do so proactively,” Leponiemi explains. “But very often in education development people only look at what they are doing themselves. We want to invest heavily to going into the world and learn together how we can reform education towards a better direction.”

From boat schooling to math reform

The biggest push in Hundred is real-world testing of new education methods in hundreds of Finnish schools. During 2016 and 2017 these projects, selected from over 500 applications and developed by Finnish teachers, explore how children could be best provided with the tools they need in the future.

The projects focus on five key areas in education: skills, teaching, assessment, learning environment and management, but each takes a very different approach. They vary from building a startup high school to organising the world’s largest parent-teacher night. One family will even sail around the world to research the use of digital tools and new ways to learn in a homeschool environment.

“The best educational practices aren’t always found in expensive private schools or the ones with biggest resources, you learn by looking elsewhere,” says Lasse Leponiemi, Head of Operations at Hundred. Image: Olli Häkkinen

Another project, led by The Global Teacher Prize nominee Maarit Rossi, experiments with more functional, project-based and student-centric learning methods to make maths more fun and engaging. Rossi sees Hundred as a great way to focus attention on the need for change in education.

“The teaching of maths has not really been reformed in the past 100 years,” Rossi argues. “It is one of the most hated subjects, but one that is very important and gives great basis for different life skills. I want to move from a teacher centric to a student centric approach. Also the content needs to be more meaningful and relevant to the kids. Not just numbers and formulas.”

All the projects are chosen by an advisory board and supported by Hundred’s main partners, the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, Finnish telecom operator DNA, OP Financial Group and Finland-based mobile gaming giant Supercell.

World’s largest education database

The goal of Hundred is not only to gain knowledge and experiences, but to inspire educational change. All the project findings will be collected into what Leponiemi describes as ‘the world’s largest education database’. It will be free for teachers and educators worldwide to use and find ways to transform education in their own schools.

The project findings will also be documented in a book, several short documentaries and a series of seminars. While these are not scheduled to launch until late 2017, Leponiemi already has ideas where the education sector is heading.

“I believe education will go through a similar transformation to many industries,” he says. “It will become more transparent and global. This can already be seen in higher education where there are iTunes universities and such, which anyone can use access for free. The world of education will open up internationally in a completely new way. “

And Hundred aims to ensure Finland’s future is at the forefront of it.

The goal of the Finnish education project Hundred is to help Finland maintain its world-leading education system and examine how education needs to change to stay relevant and interesting for the next 100 years. Image: Hundred
By: Eeva Haaramo