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Sharing Ways to Learn 21st Century Knowledge and Skills
Uppdaterad: 21 timmar 48 minuter sedan

Movie Gala

tis, 04/07/2015 - 13:43

We went to a movie gala last Thursday. It was for everyone who took part in the Espoo movie competition. We sat in the front row. First we saw the first movie ever made. It was a black and white movie about a train coming to a station. It was very short. Then we saw all the animations. Then we got a price. We got tickets to go see a real movie and a diploma for taking part in the competition. They asked us questions about making the animation. It was fun. 

Jalavapuisto school, class 3K, Espoo, Finland

More in Finnish

Robo Game from Metsokangas Comprehensive School

ons, 04/01/2015 - 16:28

The Robo Project has started at Metsokangas Comprehensive School in Oulu. Our students made wooden game boards by using Google Maps, painted them using six different colours and after that they marked the names of biggest cities all around the world.

When game boards were finished, students started to learn programming. A few of them had programmed before but for the most of them it was the first time to use EV3 Lego Robots. For the first time they programmed their robots to walk from the city to another. Next time they will start to learn to avoid obstacles and to program robots to turn around.

During this spring our students will create many own strategies in groups how to play the game by using the robots. They will also make ship outfits for the robots related to their game strategy. They will also make pawns which will look alike pandas.


Päivi, Jaana, Minna and Petri from Metsokangas Comprehensive School (and also our 102 eager  students)

Panda animations

ons, 03/18/2015 - 21:29

Anu and 3K, Jalavapuisto school, Espoo, Finland

SYK – Building a Mental Bridge to Old People’s Home

ons, 03/18/2015 - 10:23

Pupils started to write profiles of their senior person. They discussed, how they should write an interview which is at the same time personal, respectful and informative.

When all the profiles were finished teacher read them to pupils in 5A. The stories of senior citizens’ lives were touching and real.

On our second visit to Old people’s home pupils gave profiles they wrote to their senior person. They continued the interview by making more questions about plays seniors played on their childhood. First of all it was good to see how happy seniors were when they had an opportunity to meet 5A’s pupils again. Pupils heard lots of stories, but they also realized that it is hard to remember things which have happened so long ago.

– Raini Sipilä

Building GEC, conference day in Finland

mån, 03/16/2015 - 05:15

Innokas Network and the Department of Teacher Education at University of Helsinki had the great pleasure of organizing the Global Educational Community (GEC) Finland conference day on March 6. During the conference day we promoted GEC to the wider audience in Finland, reflected on previous GEC experiences, and built and modeled GEC in practice.


During the first session we introduced participants to Global Educational Community background, goals and practice. We also had the opportunity to hear GEC educator and musician Chris Kohn perform his own song “Building Bridges”. GEC leaders Professor Guoli Liang from Wisconsin University and Professor Ann Lieberman from Stanford sent their video greetings, followed by an open mic session between GEC teachers from Australia, USA, China and Finland. GEC teachers learned from each other about the great projects they are doing with students in schools.

Video greetings from professor Guoli Liang

Video greetings from professor Ann Lieberman

We also had the honor to welcome Counsellor of Education Paula Mattila from the Finnish National Board of education as our visiting lecturer. She facilitated a discussion on global education as part of the Finnish National Curriculum and on global education in general.

After the opening sessions, conference participants formed global teams, with the task of starting to “model the GEC”. The idea behind the task was that each global team would get to know each other, have an opportunity to discuss the day´s topics and would start to model GEC by using Innovation Education materials and tools. The global teams were so focused in building their GEC models that they almost forgot lunch!

In the afternoon professor Jari Multisilta ran a great presentation about ICT in Global Education, and Professor Jari Lavonen talked about linking the Innovative School model with global education. Tiina Korhonen, the Head of Innokas Network, summarized the Innovation Education idea and challenged all GEC educators to make learning and operational innovations and share them globally.

In the last session, each global team finalized their models and presented them, complete with accompanying stories. The models and stories about GEC highlighted the day – what a great idea and needs sharing moment it was! We agreed to share these moments with the larger GEC community.

It´s a great to be part of GEC and to build it together with you. The next step is to build strong partnerships with schools, teachers and students to make global education a part of everyday school life. We’ll have our next meetings next summer in China (summer conference) and a GEC Finland meeting in September.

If you are interested in joining GEC please don´t hesitate to contact us!

Tiina, Kati and Minna

GEC Conference in Helsinki

fre, 03/13/2015 - 10:30

Last week, Innokas Network hosted the Global Educational Community (GEC) Conference at the University of Helsinki. During the week, collaborators from China, USA, Australia and Finland built deeper knowledge of each country’s educational practice on many levels.

The program of the week was based on the Innovative School Model, which emphasizes the role of school stakeholders as innovators. The Innovative School model was present throughout the week, with additional presentations on innovation, creativity and Innovation education. We had discussions also on the best project based learning practices, on 21st Century Skills, and on collaboration with nearby community. To get our hands dirty on the subject, we also run hands-on sessions on everyday technology and robotics.


Professor Jari Lavonen presented the Finnish education system, curriculum and evaluation practices. We also had an amazing opportunity to visit schools (Saunalahti School in Espoo, Mäntymäki school in Kauniainen and Normal Lyceum of Helsinki), the Embassy of the United States of America and the Museum of Technology. On each visit, we were warmly welcomed, and we learned about the valuable work on 21st Century Skills these collaborators do in their own field. 

Tweets were flying (#GEC2015 #innokas2015) and blogs were posted throughout the week. We all learned so much from each other and we are looking forward to continuing our collaboration. Now we all are better equipped to help our students in becoming global citizens!

Kati, Tiina ja Minna

Electric circuits with seven-year-olds

ons, 03/11/2015 - 21:56

We had a great joy to get a visitor from Boston in to our class. And not just a random visitor but a friendly, ethusiastic physics teacher Stacy who actually knew a Little Finnish!:)

First we studied how the circuits work and made some tests.Kids were thrilled!They weren’t afraid of trying  and they didn’t even realize that they were studying physics.

After studying we applied the things we’ve learned into real life by making cool gadgets as “the answering light” or “space”. The answering light is very useful in the classroom because by using it, students won’t have to raise their hands anymore. (According to the professional opinion of a 1st grader.) One just switches on the light that stands on her desk and the teacher sees it. In this particular gadget, the switch actually consists of two parts: a teddy-bear and a car. When the teddy is placed on the car , the light lights up! See the picture below.

As a teacher, I hope that the future learning and future school could be more like the two days’ experience we had: Full of joy without having the fear of failure even when facing new challenging things to study.

I’d like to see my class bubbling creativity and enthusiasm again!

Class 1.A and teacher Anna-Kristiina,

Ylikylä School, Rovaniemi


Making a mental bridge, SYK Finland

ons, 03/11/2015 - 11:36

At Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu (SYK) 26 pupils from the 5th grade have worked on a theme BRIDGE. In our class the theme is seen as a mental construction – we are building a bridge to Old People’s Home and to our partner school Janesville.

We started on working on our drama lessons by thinking somebody’s circle of life. What could have happened in person’s life when she/he was a child, a young person, an adult, an old person? Afterwards pupils made up 10 questions they would ask when we visited Old People’s Home.

Pupils worked on pairs and in groups


Pupils were very exited about the visit, because they didn’t know what to expect. Reactions were different depending on the answers they got. After the visit we went back to school and instead of Math lesson, pupils talked and talked about their experiences. Pupils were amazed, happy, schocked about the answers.of four. We hoped to get 13 interviews, but in the end only seven persons wanted to answer pupils’ questions.

Yesterday pupils started to write a profile of their senior person. When their profiles are ready, pupils will take it to their person and have a conversation about it.

– Raini Sipilä


fre, 02/27/2015 - 16:13

We’ve been really busy with the animations. We are using the movie also for a film competition here in Espoo and got really busy in the end as the competition’s deadline is on Friday the 27th of February. But we made it! You’ll see it soon but as for now.. some pictures making of…

3K, Jalavapuisto school, Espoo, Finland

Life as A Sixth Grader

lör, 02/21/2015 - 21:58

I am an American teacher spending four months in Finland on a Fulbright grant, and I recently had the opportunity to spend a week at the Koulumestari School. I observed several different classes, but I spent the most time with one sixth grade class. I have my own blog to keep track of my observations as I visit schools throughout Finland, and I was asked to write a guest post for the Innokas blog.

My first impression of the school was that the atmosphere was less stressful and more relaxed than a typical American school. This was evident when seeing students remove their shoes upon entering the building. Not only are the floors clean enough for sitting, but wearing socks or slippers while learning must make students feel more comfortable and as if they are at home.

A typical day for the 6th graders at Koulumestari starts at 8:15 with some greetings said by the class in unison, both in Finnish and English, followed by a run-down of the day’s schedule. Then they have two 45-minute classes, followed by a 30-minute break during which they go outside to run around and expend extra energy. Students then return for two more 45-minute lessons. Next is a 20-minute lunch and another 30-minute recess outside. The afternoon schedule varies, with classes usually ending at 2:00 (3:00 on Tuesday).

My first day was interrupted by a fire alarm going off, so I got to see what happens when a school full of children in socks have to hurry outside! They scrambled to throw something on their feet, and during the fire drill they huddled on the ice rink behind the school.

The class has 24 students, and they are taught most of their subjects by a regular education teacher (called a class teacher) and a special education teacher. The teachers have the room shown below as well as an adjoining room containing a few tables, a large sofa, and some beanbag chairs for reading. Both rooms are equipped with Smart Boards, desktop computers, and document cameras. Each student has a school-issued tablet that can be taken home.

The two teachers worked together seamlessly, sometimes co-teaching a lesson and other times splitting students into two groups and using the second room. I didn’t even know that one teacher was a special educator until asking, and I wonder if students are aware of the distinction.

Whether students stay together or break into two groups varies based on the lesson.  Before an English lesson, the special education teacher gave all the students an option to have class in a smaller group in the next room. He said that a few of the weaker students always go with the smaller group, but that any student who is feeling that he/she needs some extra review can take this option. For a math lesson, a group of the stronger students went to the other room to work on something different from the rest of the class, but the students sometimes have math all together. The second room was also used during free reading time. Some students stayed in the main room and read their library books, while another group went into the other room and curled up on the couch and bean bag chairs to listen to a story read aloud.

Finnish class teachers must be prepared to teach a greater number of subjects than teachers in the US. In addition to the expected subjects of math, Finnish, science, geography, and history, they also must be able to teach music, physical education, art, and handicrafts. Special education teachers are also qualified to teach all of these subjects but have extra training in working with students with learning disabilities. Because the extra subjects are taught by the class teachers rather than by separate teachers of music, art, etc., it is easier to coordinate what students are doing in all of their classes.

One example of integrating the arts into the overall curriculum was evident in an Innokas project students are doing on two endangered animals. One is the giant panda, and the other is the Saimaannorppa (Saimaa ringed seal), a seal that only exists in Lake Saimaa in Finland. You can read more about their project in the blog post below this one.

Students previously did an art project about pandas, and this week they learned how to make seals out of clay. For the art lesson, all of the 6th graders (approximately 45 students) came together in one of the classrooms of the other 6th grade group. They gathered around a table where one of the other 6th grade teachers demonstrated the process they would be following to make seals out of clay. First she orally went over the instructions that were clearly written on the board, with key words underlined. Then she demonstrated the steps students would be following and showed a sample seal that she had made. 

The students then divided themselves between the demonstration room and the adjoining one and got to work making their seals.

Topics students were studying in many of their lessons that week were related to the Chinese component of their project. In religion class, they were reading about Buddhism, while in geography they studied Asia.  On Friday, the last day before a one-week school break, all of the 6th graders gathered in the gym to hear a speaker from the World Wildlife Fund talk about seals, pandas, and other endangered animals. After the presentation, all of the students practiced a hilarious seal dance. In March they’ll be hosting a fundraiser for seal conservation efforts.

Thanks to the school for allowing me to see all of the great work that the students are doing!

-Stacy Kissel
Brookline High School, Brookline, MA, USA
Fulbright recipient, University of Helsinki


Greetings from the Koulumestari School

tis, 02/17/2015 - 08:47

We are a primary school in Espoo city in Finland in Europe. Our students are in the sixth grade. So they are about 12 -13 years old this year. We have 24 kids in our class. Some of them have learning difficulties. That’s why we have two teachers working all the time with them. One class teacher and one teacher of special education. The teachers are planning and evaluating together. We have also a part-time school assistant working in our class. Sometimes our students are studying all together and sometimes they are studying in smaller groups.

We have started a China-project in our school with our sixth grade students. We are studying Asia’s geography and religions and the history of China in February (before our one weeks winter holiday starts:). We are doing a big poster of China all together.

In arts the kids are painting dragons and fireworks and they are also drawing Chinese letters

We have a very special animal – called the Saimaa ringed seal – in Finland. There are only 310 ones in the world. And they are living in the lake called Saimaa in the eastern part of Finland.


They have also a very rare animal – called the Giant Panda – in China.

Both of these animals are endangered. We are going to study protection on these two different kind of animals. Our big big plan is to organize a charity Event to save the Saimaa ringed seal during this spring season.

We are also starting the cooperation with our partner school in USA. Our target is to encourage our students to use English language. We encourage them to talk and write with a foreign language with American kids. Our students have been studying English at school three and a half years.

Greetings from Koulumestari school class 6NK

We’ve had lots of fun!

tors, 02/12/2015 - 13:42

We are going to make animations about the panda. First we used the ipads to see what a panda looks like. Then we made small pandas from silk clay. They came out very nicely! The animation will tell different facts about the pandas. We looked for these facts from the internet. Our teacher had searched for links and put them on qr-codes which we opened with the qr-code reader. Then we wrote about the pandas to our new panda notebooks. We got to decorate them ourselves.

3K, Jalavapuisto school, Espoo, Finland


Building Global Educational Community Bridges and Network

tis, 02/10/2015 - 17:42

Global Educational Community (GEC) teachers from Finland met in January 2015. The goal of the meeting was to get to know each other, plan becoming projects with schools around the world and get familiar with revised Finnish curriculum and especially international and global aims in it.To be active in GEC really fulfills many aims of Finnish new curriculum- in both the home internationality and the global internationality. It is really a pleasure to network with other people and countries around the world to share and take responsibility for the common world together.

Finnish teachers started to plan becoming projects about either Pandas or Flying objects during this meeting.Finnish teachers were also given partnership schools and teachers from USA, Australia and moreover, we are waiting for ones in China. Getting familiar with partner schools and their culture at schools and in countries will begin in contacting each other by emails and Skype-meetings. Some teachers might meet each other in GEC conference in Finland in March. The second possibility to meet face to face and present some best practices in co-projects is in the conference held in Beijing in July this year.

I wish you positive experiences in global networking by a photo of smiling Finnish teachers making a statue by drama about GEC, how many pandas you can find there?

Minna Kukkonen, Innokas-coordinator from Finland

Greetings from Washington!

lör, 01/17/2015 - 16:04

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.

Innokas-coordinator Kati

Research collaboration with the FabLab@schools

lör, 01/17/2015 - 16:00

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 ( 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

Espoo Moon Festival 2014

lör, 01/17/2015 - 15:57

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

Cradle to career conference in USA, Minneapolis

lör, 01/17/2015 - 15:52

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

Global Educational Community Conference in China

lör, 01/17/2015 - 15:43

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 ( 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

Robotics news from Silverton Primary School

tors, 06/12/2014 - 12:46

Silverton Primary School students and teachers are taking part within the Global Innokas Network project, looking at how to best implement Robotics into the curriculum. There has also been a excursion planned to show the students how robotics is used in the real world. Please find our Robotics news from our website:

Ben Eilenberg, Vanessa Jefferson and the students, Silverton Primary School, Australia

From the traditional board game to the innovative board game

fre, 05/30/2014 - 22:25

At Metsokangas Comprehensive School the classes of 3CD learned about innovations at first by watching the video and then by discussing together. During discussion they thought about what kind of innovations and new kind of toys they know: for example they mentioned different kind of robots, moving rabbits and talking teddy bears. After these examples many students noticed that they own the some kind of innovative toy. A few students also noticed that they had a board game or book which include DVD-exercises or a game on the CD disc. After discussing those topics students had to think who can make innovations. It was an easy question because students mentioned almost immediately americans, japanese people, chinese people, factory workers, inventors and last but not least everybody on the planet. After discussion we defined the term of innovation. For the best thing students noticed that innovations can solve some problem and generate positive cash flow to the innovators or their employer.

After defining the term of innovation the students had a possibility to think about innovated, technology based board games about Finnish landscapes. At first the teacher presented the blank board game that included only the map of Finland. All students together invented three different versions of the new kind of board game that includes for example QR-codes, DVD-exercises and Led-lights. They also had to think about what materials they need to make the game complete.

After the common start students were divided into groups of three and they started to plan their board game with the planning paper. During the planning they had to make three questions and answers about the seven Finnish landscape areas, designed the background of the game board, made the rules, decided how someone can win the game and where are the starting and the finishing points, planned the routes and decide which technologies are included into the game. After filling in the planning paper students got an A3-sized paper to implement their game board.

As a technology solutions the most of the groups used QR-codes. Into the codes they included the game instructions and questions or answers. They created QR-codes by using QR code Generator. That’s why they have to use mobile device to open the codes during playing.

Some groups also wanted to use Led-lights to mark for examples aiports, harbors or starting points. They soldered Led-lights and made the electric circuits by themselves.

After the games were ready they played them and enjoyed their well-done work. As a QR code reader they had a possibility to use their own mobile phones.

Jaana and students of Metsokangas school, Oulu, Finland