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Five From Finland

Education, part 3

With the world sitting up and paying attention, it’s fair to say that Finns have learnt a thing or two about education over the years.Credits: : Julia Bushueva

There are many reasons why Finland has earned its great reputation in education. Here are five more.

Our previous Five for Friday about education proved to be so popular that we have taken another dip into the well of knowledge. See what you can learn from these!

Based in Helsinki, this company has developed a mobile application to improve communication between parents and teachers, helping make children’s learning paths and teachers’ pedagogical expertise more visible. ​Last year, the company landed 160 000 euros in a seed funding to boost its efforts.

​“Our​ ​vision​ ​is​ ​to​ ​be the​ ​companion​ ​of​ ​a​ ​million​ ​educators,​ ​first​ ​in​ ​Finland​ ​and​ ​Southeast​ ​Asia​, ​and​ ​later​ ​in​ ​the Middle​ ​East,” founder and CEO Taina Mikkola said in November.​ “With​ ​the​ ​support​ ​of​ ​investors​, ​we​ ​are​ ​taking​ our ​first​ ​international​ ​steps.”

Sharing its Fun Learning approach with the world is the chief focus of these early education specialists, who most recently have outlined plans to open several kindergartens in Beijing and other locations around China. This follows deals in Tunisia and the Middle East.

“Our aim is to coach teachers to adopt the Fun Learning approach and environment that is both exhilarating and transformative,” Fun Academy CEO Sanna Lukander said in 2016. “We have combined Finnish expertise in education with a strong background in entertainment to create the Fun Learning approach designed to support the curiosity, exploratory minds and enthusiasm of young children.”

This education gamification company recently inked a deal with GEMS Education, the largest global private school company.

“Seppo is a revolutionary game-based learning platform which transforms the way we teach and allows students to develop 21st-century learning skills and dispositions,” said Helen Loxton-Baker, from GEMS Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis, in 2016. “Seppo creates memorable learning experiences due to its competitive nature as a game-based learning platform, which intrinsically motivates students to learn.”

By pairing popular games with powerful pedagogical and analytical tools, this edtech startup seeks to elevate teaching and student engagement. Microsoft snapped up its Minecraftedu educational game, and it is tipped to bring even more blockbuster games into the classroom after raising 1.6 million US dollars in seed funding earlier this year.

“The team at TeacherGaming is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable teams in making learning fun,” VC firm Makers Fund’s Michael Cheung commented at the time. “With their experience in education and partnerships with top publishers, we believe TeacherGaming will grow to be the leading educational games platform.”

Dedicated to facilitating the learning process, Lightneer leapt out of the gate with the game Big Bang Legends, where players collect quarks, create protons and build atoms. The game rendered the entire periodic table into Pokémon-style collectible characters and looked set to conquer the world. However, the company recently announced it was mothballing the game and is now looking to the horizon.

As we wrote in our 2016 feature, the company’s plan was to expand its learning solutions beyond physics to possibly even include a language-based approach.

“A lot of companies are fighting for getting everyone on the planet online, but what do you do with the Internet if you can’t read?” CEO Lauri Järvilehto told us. “Creating a game that would teach all children in developing countries to read and basic English skills is a hugely intriguing idea.”

By: James O’Sullivan