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Joy of Learning in the Center of the Designing Future Education Seminar

September 23, 2017

Suomi Finland 100 Singapore, The Embassy of Finland, City of Helsinki and GEMS World Academy (Singapore) presented an education and EduTech seminar to over 450 guests from public and private educational bodies in Singapore, at GEMS World Academy’s campus in Yishun, Singapore.


The seminar focused on 21st century skills, like critical thinking, creativity and communication in education. The discussions centered on how to future-proof children through education by encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset, using digital solutions as tools for educating students and developing their skills for future jobs.


Speaker highlights:



Professor for Educational Psychology Dr. Kirsti Lonka from University of Helsinki laid the groundwork for understanding phenomenon-based learning, which she described as a creative process. She emphasized the need to educate children to be creative problem solvers and take ownership of their own learning. According to Lonka, phenomenon-based learning integrates various subjects that are thought at school, and uses engaging learning environments in physical, virtual, social, mobile and mental spaces of learning.




Global teacher prize finalist and founder of Paths to Math Maarit Rossi presented ideas on how math can become meaningful for children. Instead of being a just a set of rules, math can be a powerful tool to understanding the world. According to Rossi teachers can do this by making connections to everyday life by using e.g. modelling, classifying, estimating and measuring and rounding in their everyday teaching. The key is to let the children find the answers to the problems. As Rossi highlighted: mathematics can be fascinating, meaningful, interesting and fun!



Dr. Marjo Kyllönen, Head of Development service unit, City of Helsinki emphasized the need to redesign schools to enhance digital learning, so that children can have motivating learning experiences. According to Kyllönen, focus is on meaningful learning and holistic competencies, where learning is anchored to real life phenomenon and individual learning paths are enabled. Kyllönen wants to promote students’ participation and active role in learning, and using digital solutions to pave innovative ways of doing this.



Ms. Kristina Kaihari, Counsellor of Education from Finnish National Agency of Education, explained how entrepreneurship and soft skills are taught in recently revamped national curriculum. In the new curriculum entrepreneurship is seen as an attitude, way to think and capability to see and manage the big picture. The schools in Finland work together with non-profit organizations like Me & MyCity to increase financial skills and entrepreneurship in the society.



Former Mighty Eagle of Rovio (Angry Birds) and serial entrepreneur Mr. Peter Vesterbacka entertained the audience in the evenings’ GEMS Distinguished Speaker Series by giving snapshots of his career, recent ventures in developing Big Bang Legends and building a tunnel from Helsinki to the city of Tallinn, Estonia.


Over twenty companies presenting at the EduTech expo



Thank you for all the companies presenting at seminar. During the day, the audience learned how to utilize digital solutions in inspiring ways to engage children in learning. In that process, the children can be encouraged to become entrepreneurs or even superheroes!




Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual experiences, collaborative knowledge creation, exploring your city as an urban learning environment, all this is used to foster participative culture in schools and lead the way in the 21st century learning.


Creativity, play and socio-emotional skills were highlighted in “balanced children sessions” in the afternoon, which showcased a model Finnish kindergarten, solution focused anti-bullying approach as well as an architectural learning concept. School buildings with clean-air and customer-centered design rounded up the day.



See more photos of the seminar day here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/148751612@N04/?



Facebook comments from the seminar guests embracing the joy of learning:


Elizabeth Hernandez 

Spending the day learning about the education system in Finland, considered to be the world's most successful in incorporating technology, promoting personalised learning and preparing kids for the future. In particular, I'm intrigued by how they're incorporating games and immersive experiences through Virtual Reality to teach 21st Century skills of empathy, understanding, problem-solving, collaboration, etc. 


Samantha Ng ZQ

While we are really good at teaching certain facts and knowledge, assessments are still very traditional. Parents and teachers play an important role in fostering innovation, creativity, resilience, critical thinking. Do you know that the minimum qualification to be a teacher in Finland is at least a Master Degree? That it is tougher to get into the teaching school compared to medical or law school. What's the 21st century skills? How to you close the GAP between school and the outside world? How do you stay relevant?


Ng Aik Yang 

Embracing the joy of learning through my lens - midst of the most inspiring session this year. This represents the essence of my learning, to design from the virtues of children from within and using tools that enable, rather than force upon. To see everybody as creators in a safe space and celebrate this joy together.


Louisa Lee 

#Joy is to be able to invest the time in #Learning and to work at applying and sharing what I now know to inspire a positive and lasting #Change that I want to see in #Healthcare and #Education! We can be the change we want to see but it is only when we collaborate that a (R)Evolution can take place!


Hanika Dimaano-Marero 

Digital learning. Collaborative knowledge creation. Whole city as an urban learning environment. Creating that environment to be positive, safe and provide meaningful experiences. Fostering innovation by encouraging initiative and a participative culture in schools. Building an entrepreneurial spirit from young. These are the words, among many, that resonated to me the most, as a parent, as a teacher at home, and as a partner of our educators. This seminar was absolutely an eye opener to how much the world is changing and getting more complex, and how our role becomes so critical in preparing our children to thrive and change the world.

Nazir Amir 

Thank you for sharing wonderful ideas on making learning enjoyable and meaningful through a variety of play-based approaches (toys, gadgets and games), learning beyond the classroom (gardens, forests, the environment and community as teaching and learning resources), using media (cartoons, songs, etc) and a variety of skills-based activities (STEM, STEAM, VR/AR simulations, craft-based, music, physical activities amongst many others) in Finnish schools. Truly bringing out the joy of learning through not just Hands-On and Minds-On approaches but also Hearts-on! Most important takeaway of the day - learning, smiles, and establishing friendships between Finland and Singapore!

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