Finnish Education Innovation & What We Might Learn from It

photo 1 copyI’m thankful to have gotten to spend the past week in Finland talking to people highly interested in professional development (not to mention quite a bit smarter than myself). This took the form of two main conversations: with University of Helsinki professors Hannele Niemi and Jari Multisilta and with Open Badge Factory creator and Open Badges community member Eric Rousselle. I came away with a few recommendations worth sharing:

  • Pasi Sahlberg’s book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? Sahlberg keynoted the¬†OPPI conference which a few Mozilla Foundation colleagues and I presented at (photos at right), and I’m an admitted late but passionate fan of the primer he’s written. Here’s a teaser: “This book is about how Finland how the Finns transformed their educational system from mediocre in the 1980s to one of the models of excellence today. International indicators show that Finland has one of the most educated citizenries in the world, provides educational opportunities in an egalitarian manner, and makes efficient use of resources.” Our regular research and badge system design call now has a Goodreads group for sharing relevant recommendations (join us!), and this book was the first addition.
  • Open Badge Factory for easy badge issuer reporting. Amongst the wide range of platforms for creating badges that align with the Open Badges Infrastructure, this tool has some of the neatest tracking tools for people who design and issue badges. Check out the cloud-based tool’s report generation to see how your badges are being claimed and put to use by learners. It’s generated some positive press in Finland, top right.
  • The forthcoming Teacher’s Toolkit will be part of a public-private research partnership focused on sharing¬†pedagogy and imagining future learners’ needs. I’m looking forward to seeing this open and prototype-based project, particularly as Mozilla thinks about offering its own portable toolkits for distributed contributors. This kit’s organizers explain that “Teacher’s Collaborative Toolkit is a virtual teachers’ resource net to which different mobile services, learning material and authentic resource repositories, such as digital archives, tutoring and mentoring support, professional peer learning practices, can be connected.”Oppi Festival Openingob