Posts in the education category

Floworks living lab is a 21st century development hub at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, which contributes to education by making internal operations function better. Sometimes described as co-creation of the education or students bringing innovation to education, Floworks works closely with students and engages them in a variety of learning projects.

It started in 2010 with a realization that there was a specific need of development opportunities to pursue. Resources were available for staff, however, there wasn’t enough time to dedicate to every single one of them. Since these projects seemed to be great learning experiences and students possessed the required skills and could get credits for them, why not combine the two elements and turn it into an excellent learning opportunity? As an answer to that question, Floworks was developed.

A small team of people, consisting of a Development Manager, Ilkka Haukijärvi and three Coaches, Jussi Hannunen, Timo Nevalainen and Kseniya Tarasova are actively engaged in working with students. From 1st of August, a new team member, Clémentine Arpiainen, will start working in Floworks as an Analyst. She will be closely involved within the living lab, including such areas as coaching, research, and development of the operations in general.

Projects vary from Engineering and ICT to Healthcare and Coaches are open to all degree programme students. It should be directly connected to their personalized curriculum so they are building their capabilities and competences expected to use in their future careers. The competences brought to each project include use of social media, use of ICT in delivering services along with a designer orientation for service modelling approach to development work.

However, Coaches understand there is no such thing as one fits all so, for particular projects, they’re looking for students with skills to match the requirements. In order to find them, they contact staff members and ask them to promote the projects, use social media tools and TAMK’s own communications system, Intra. In some occasions, they approach students personally by visiting them during classes and introduce them to the projects.

Projects are requested by TAMK’s organizational and teaching staff and their number varies a lot. Earlier this year, Floworks had about ten projects running at the same time. Coach Jussi Hannunen believes that’s quite a lot, but there are no limits. “Five to seven projects are more comfortable to work with. We value quality to quantity and we won’t take up any projects which don’t fit TAMK’s strategy and criteria.”

Deadlines for the projects are set with Floworks’s customers after deciding when they need the product and what is practical for the team. Students are guided by Coaches about their responsibilities so they know exactly what they have to do from the start until the end.

So far, Floworks’s customers have been really impressed by the work students put in. They realized that the more they engage with the project, the more useful the product will be and the deliverables. And that they can learn a lot about the functions of their own operations. Most of the projects have been successful and delivered what was expected from them and sometimes more.

Summer projects

This summer, Floworks has three exciting projects going on: “Orientation Goes Online”, “Building Connection with International Degree Programme Applicants” and “Video Production Team for Mindtrek 2016”.

Coach Timo Nevalainen reveals the purpose of the first two projects and how new students will benefit from them: “We’re trying to find ways to do online orientation for new international students before they arrive at TAMK and also during the orientation week at their arrival in Tampere. To come up with a service where TAMK will be as open and helpful as possible from the first minute a student is interested in studying with us. We’re targeting students from outside the European Union for our degree programmes in English. If they can learn more things before coming here, then they could dedicate more time to socializing at their arrival in Finland and take in the new information in a more relaxed way.

The second project aims to connect potential students considering applying to the International Business programme with existing students and staff here. This way, they will already have some contacts here and their parents will receive more information about TAMK.”

“There are two co-creative projects developing for new students by TAMK’s IB students. In these two projects, we have students from Arts and Media, Environmental Engineering and Piano Pedagogy. Third project comes from our partner, MINTREK. Mindtrek is an international conference on open community development and newest digital technologies in business, taking place in Tampere on the 17th of October. Altogether, the projects are covering the months of June, July and August.” adds Coach Kseniya Tarasova.

“Everybody needs new tools in delivering the services they provide, whether they’re provided to students, or in general. There’s always a chance to do your work better. And students can help with that by giving information, ideas, or even taking a concept that you have and turn it into a service you can use. These kind of opportunities exist in all big organizations, such as TAMK. There’s no fear that we will run out of projects.” concludes Jussi Hannunen.

Coach Jussi Hannunen hosting a workshop at Floworks

Coach Jussi Hannunen hosting a workshop at Floworks

Coach Kseniya Tarasova

Coach Kseniya Tarasova

Coach Timo Nevalainen

Coach Timo Nevalainen

TAMK students taking part in Floworks's summer projects

TAMK students taking part in Floworks’s summer projects

Floworks's Coaches working closely with TAMK students

Floworks’s Coach, Kseniya Tarasova having a lunch break with TAMK students

 

Text & photos: Andruta Ilie

Nordplus Seminar (1 of 4)

Jukka Vesterinen from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture

The seminar was held for the first time in Tampere and the event was hosted by Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

Digital International Collaboration in Education was the main theme for the seminar which showcased different projects that had been possible with Nordplus funding. The Nordplus programme aims to strengthen educational collaboration between the Nordic countries. There were participants from all of the countries and some of the Baltic countries were also represented, as new additions.

Before the actual project cases were shown, a presentation was held by Olli Vesterinen from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. He explained where Finland was going regarding digital education. After Vesterinen finished, there was a speech from Project NEMO’s Team Leader and Researcher, Katri Saarikivi from the Cognitive Brain Research Unit of University of Helsinki. The NEMO Project aims to bring empathy to the digital environment and possibly solve the issue of the mean and inhuman atmosphere surrounding internet behavior and social media. Even with the very complex neurobiological terms and theories, Saarikivi’s speech was both very understandable and enjoyable to listen to.

Nordplus Seminar (3 of 4)

Katri Saarikivi promoting the emotion hack day 16 for the NEMO project

Many interesting educational projects were introduced and some of them were quite complex. One of these was the interactive multilingual book for comprehensive school. The successful idea behind this project was to teach children different languages of Nordic countries. They created an online educational book which was then translated into different languages. You could read and listen to it side by side to see the differences in pronunciation and words.

One of the newer things among the projects helping digitalization is the MOOCs or Massive Open and Online Courses. This could potentially bring thousands of students, parents, employees or otherwise interested people to learn new and interesting topics with the magic of Internet and fast networks at their own convenience. All these people could learn from their own homes while the teacher could be on another continent. These virtual learning tools will give great possibilities to many people as technologies develop.

Nordplus Seminar (4 of 4)

A new technologies presentation given by Gytis Cibulskis

Gytis Cibulskis from Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania explained some of the new technologies such as VR or Virtual Reality and 360 degree cameras that could capture everything in the classroom or during an event, such as a conference.

At the end of the seminar a panel discussion was led by Nordplus’s Main Administrator and Special Adviser, Henrik Neiiendam Andersen from the Danish Agency for Higher Education. He and the seminar participants asked various questions regarding topics discussed for the panel consisting of Nordplus members from different Nordic countries.

Overall, the seminar gave new ideas and topics to the participants. For some, the MOOCs, VR and digital interactive books were new things they never heard of before. These seminars spread great ideas we’re developing in Nordic countries with help from Nordplus.

 

PowerPoint presentations and other material can be found on the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture website.

Text & Photos: Aleksi Jolkkonen

Igor Ter Halle

 

Back to Tampere University of Applied Sciences for the third time, representing Windesheim University of Netherlands during IWBAS 2016 was Igor Ter Halle, Lecturer in Online Communication. Igor hosted two lectures on ‘Content Marketing: how to get content right’ aiming to teach students how to develop a content strategy that works.

The interest rate in his lectures was impressive and overcame his expectations; a number of fifty Finnish and exchange students showed up to listen to his knowledge.  “I’m very satisfied with the overall result. All students spoke English very well and they were not afraid of making errors. We make errors all the time in life.”, he said. Though Dutch people are more perfectionists and stressed about getting things done properly, Igor sees the laid-back Finnish way rather relaxing and ascribes it to the self-confidence of having a great educational system: “You can’t go anywhere else in the world for a better system. Finland is famous for that. We even have TV documentaries on the Finnish education.”

Another differentiating aspect between TAMK and Windesheim University is the number of degree programmes in English. TAMK provides its students with more options. Igor is currently developing a business semester in English, starting in September and hoping to encourage Dutch students to cross their boundaries and dare improving their cultural skills, along with Erasmus students.

There are, of course, similarities between the two universities.  Both use innovative practices and focus on coaching instead of traditional teaching in order to create and deliver experiences and not just knowledge. Since students don’t respond to traditional lectures anymore, teachers and educators are challenged to find new ways of getting their attention. This is done through combining lectures, workshops and projects in an entrepreneurial manner. “Thinking outside the box” is the solution Igor believes in.

Igor’s career path took an interesting turn during the years, starting as a Journalist and currently being a Lecturer in Online Communication. The education field offers the freedom of creating your own job, however, this comes with responsibilities and obligations too. “What I like most about working in education is that I never did the same thing twice”, he states.

“I’d like my students to stop trying controlling everything and sometimes, just let it happen. To stick to themselves and find out first what motivates them. There are lots of people who are not doing the job they are trained for. They can do a lot more than they think, if they would only try.”

 

Text & photo: Andruta Ilie

Group photo

In the photo ( from left to right): Mark Curcher ( Program Director for the 21st Century Educators Program at TAMK), Dr Rodolfo Silveira, Carita Prokki ( Director, TAMK EDU) and Virpi Heinonen (Adviser, Global Education at TAMK)

Forty years have passed since his previous trip to Finland, and Doctor Rodolfo Silveira, Counselor at the Technological University of Uruguay (UTEC) and President of Board of Directors at The National Research and Innovation Agency of Uruguay (ANII), returned to visit TAMK and several Finnish universities in order to transfer new teaching and learning techniques back home.

His visit is a consequence of an agreement with UPM (a Finnish forest industry company) in 2015, aiming to build a new Regional Technological University (ITR) in Fray Bentos to advance technical skills and engineering expertise in rural Uruguay. The regional university will specialize in mechatronics, renewable energy, transport and logistics. ‘Finland is famous for its education system, comprehending the early stages up to the academic levels. We have a similar model in Uruguay and we need more innovators and entrepreneurs to facilitate the mobility between different degree offers. The purpose of my trip is to see how it’s possible to collaborate and to develop programmes and activities together. It can be a win-win situation ’, he said.

Dr Silveira recognizes challenges while switching to a new education model. “We have to change people’s mindsets. In general, people are conservative and don’t receive changes well. If we are able to demonstrate this new model actually works, they might respond in a positive way. Our government and political parties are supportive, but without the society’s involvement, it won’t be possible to do anything. The natural course of evolution is to move forward. The whole world is changing and we have to constantly reinvent ourselves. Ideally, it will result in a better life quality for us all.”

Read more about the agreement between UPM and UTEC here:

http://www.upmpulp.com/pulp-and-paper-news/all-news/Pages/UPM-and-the-Technical-University-of-Uruguay-sign-agreement-on-new-Regional-University-in-Fray-Bentos.aspx#

 

Text & photo: Andruta Ilie