October 2, 2020

FIVE FROM FINLAND: Solutions for teachers

illustration of education innovations
Education in Finland uses cutting edge tools for learning.
Julia Bushueva

By equipping teachers with the most advanced tools and solutions for schooling, Finland is living up to its reputation for education excellence.

Finland is leading globally in providing future-skills education for youth and adopting digital technology to make knowledge accessible to everyone. This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping educational systems across the world, demand for Finnish edtech expertise and knowhow has soared.

In celebration of World Teachers’ Day, held annually on 5 October, we have listed five creative Finnish solutions designed to support and empower teachers worldwide in their everyday work, as well as ensure top learning outcomes and student wellbeing.

Huippu Education

This expert in renowned pedagogical methods and practices believes incorporating elements from the Finnish model can help to improve early-childhood and primary education around the world. The company offers Finnish-inspired teacher training, consultation and curriculum fusion for schools and educators globally, with a special focus on emerging markets and even conflict zones.

Huippu Education is steadily growing its international customer base and last year announced a collaboration with the New English School in Jordan’s capital city of Amman. The company is also expanding its offering of online courses designed for teachers willing to develop their professional skills with the help of Finnish trainers, regardless of their location in the world.

“The glue [in all education] is good quality teacher training,” explained founder and CEO Laura Indrén. “Without it, children can’t receive a good education either.”

TeacherGaming

By pairing popular video games with powerful pedagogical and analytical tools, TeacherGaming seeks to elevate teaching and student engagement. Since its foundation in 2011, the company has retooled dozens of entertainment games for education purposes, including its hit title, Minecraftedu, that was acquired by Microsoft in early 2016.

The idea of bringing blockbuster games into the classroom and making the most of them for teachers and students has been welcomed by thousands of schools around the world and proved worth the cash injection of 1.6 million US dollars that the company received from international investors in 2018.

“Sometimes we get told that we have completely changed the teaching experience for someone. Strong feedback kept us at our work even when we weren’t collecting a paycheck,” co-founder Santeri Koivisto told us a few years ago.

FinlandWay

Co-founded by economist Noora Laitio and education expert Jonna Kangas, FinlandWay specialises in bringing scalable and accessible quality solutions from Finland to the world for the best of early-childhood education.

To introduce the most exciting and efficient Finnish education practices to children, parents and educators worldwide, FinlandWay has partnered with school operators in different parts of the globe – from Peru to Vietnam to Morocco. Although Finnish at its core, the concept is adjustable to the local language, culture and learning requirements, and teachers can always count on receiving sufficient training.

“The values of sustainable development, equality, wellbeing and solidarity are something we’re proud to be spreading through FinlandWay […]. We genuinely want to create better beginnings for children and families around the world,” Laitio stated.

Mightifier

Built on the idea that children can benefit from getting encouraging feedback from their peers, Mightifier is a positive school culture programme and a powerful digital tool to enhance students’ social and emotional skills, decrease bullying, improve classroom atmospheres and provide safer learning environments.

Mightifier has generated a lot of interest among teachers, who especially like the solution’s measured impact. Through licensing agreements and partnerships, the tool has been introduced to schools across Europe, Asia and the US.

“Teachers tell us that after […] using Mightifier, they’ve seen that there is less restlessness and arguing in the classroom,” said CEO Mervi Pänkäläinen. “As the atmosphere is calmer, the students are also more active with their schoolwork.”

Hello Ruby

Teaching material comes is all shapes and sizes. The brainchild of Forbes-listed, award-winning Finnish author and entrepreneur Linda Liukas, Hello Ruby is a fun and creative way to teach programming and coding to young children through a unique series of books and apps, as well as associated classroom content and curriculum.

Hello Ruby made its debut on Kickstarter in 2014 and became the most funded book in the platform’s children’s book category at the time. Now available in over 20 languages, Hello Ruby books have broken records in Japan and received praise in China. In 2018, Liukas was also presented a 100 000-US dollar grant for her pioneering work.

“The next generation must be fearless about technology to succeed,” Liukas stressed. “Teachers and parents must understand the paths and opportunities offered by technology. Hello Ruby wants to kindle the curiosity of educators and help them to become excited about a world that is controlled increasingly by technology.”

Text: Zhanna Koiviola

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