Finland is a global educational powerhouse, a shining beacon of excellence based on a series of sensible (i.e., progressive/ left/ socially just) principles relating to respecting teacher professionalism and pupil equality (read an account here)… that somehow in England we seem to ignore, avoid or misapply the lessons. So it was a fitting location for the month 19 meeting of the MAGICAL project.
The MAGICAL project is an EU-funded project that brings together the Institute of Educational Technology (Italy), the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), ESRI (MMU), and Tampere University of Technology (Finland). The focus of the project is to explore the potential of collaborative game making in developing 21st Century or transversal skills (i.e., collaboration, creativity, problem solving, and digital literacy) in primary and lower secondary students. Part of the project is to develop an innovative collaborative game-making portal called ‘MAGOS’, that will enable young people to develop online games in distributed groups in real time.
During the visit, the project team was invited to attend an audience with Krista Kiurun, the Finnish minister for education. (If you can speak Finnish you can read about the meeting here.) We heard the minister talk about the challenges facing the Finnish educational system in particular a looming digital divide between students in Finland and the challenges of maintaining excellence with the prospect of the digital disruption of education and society more broadly. The meeting was held at SkillPixel’s office the ‘home of the Finnish educational Internet industry’ where they’re developing a programme where students learn by teaching an artificially-intelligent avatar how to do maths and in time other subjects also. It was interesting to see how Finn’s are thinking through how they can build on the country’s prestigious international reputation for education in order to sell educational packages to countries and consumers around the world. So we can expect to see more and more Finnish companies offering resources to give your child a slice of the world’s best education.