Helsinki Education Week attracts over 2,100 participants to work and learn together

From late October to early November, Helsinki Education Week brought together more than 2,100 participants to share knowledge and engage in discussions. This year there were nearly 150 events on learning, well-being and pedagogy.
Motivated participants learning about digital skills at Helsinki Education Week’s event. Photo: Pyry Antero
Motivated participants learning about digital skills at Helsinki Education Week’s event. Photo: Pyry Antero

Good things are worth sharing!

Many of Helsinki’s schools were involved in organising these events and sharing their own best practices. Organising the event was a pleasant and rewarding experience for Jukka-Pekka Anttinen, teacher at Käpylä Comprehensive School. He presented his school’s model, which includes systematically practising emotional skills from first to ninth grade.

“I attended Helsinki Education Week because I wanted to share my knowledge with others. I think it’s very rewarding to see other people rejoice because someone has done the groundwork on a subject they’ve been mulling over themselves. I think it’s smart to share best practices with others,” Anttinen says. And teachers who participated in the event fully agree with this. Elina Kaverma-Soukko considered the examples from other schools very useful for generating ideas on how to apply them at her own school.

Marjo Malinen, Ville Leppänen and Heikki Pulkka were presenters at the Education Week’s event that focused on digital skills. They talked about the learner’s digital path in comprehensive schools, which includes tasks and exercises for different grade levels. They systematically deepen and enrich pupils’ digital competence and skills as they progress along the digital path. This operating model increases equality in digital competence for learners.

Maria Alén, a teacher at Pakila Lower Secondary School, took part in the event and says she is specifically incorporating the learner’s digital path into her teaching: “We’re in the process of merging with a primary school, which is why I’m particularly interested in this integrated digital path.” Alén was also interested in the Thinglink and Minecraft tips presented during the day.

Thoughts on teaching from a student’s perspective

Kerttu Saatsi, a 15-year-old pupil from Porolahti Comprehensive School, dreams of a career as a mathematics teacher and wants to delve into the very core of teaching the subject. She has immersed herself in the subject by reading the literature, conducting analysis, and producing her own teaching material.

Saatsi organised an event during the Education Week where she shared her thoughts on teaching mathematics from a student’s perspective. This event drew both in-person and remote participants.

“Maths is part of all our lives, and it’s especially important for schools to know how to motivate students to study it,” Saatsi says. She thinks that students become more interested through independent thinking, variety and challenges. Learners should be given enough space to work independently, but not so much that the task feels overwhelming. “It was quite thought-provoking,” said Jarno Porkka, a maths teacher who participated in the event.

Working and learning together is key

The two previous Helsinki Education Weeks were held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, and then there was a year off. This year, there were also in-person events. “It was great to meet people face to face and discuss learning, teaching and many other things. These in-person meetings and discussions were central to and the most important part of this week,” says Pedagogical Specialist Tommi Tiittala, the lead coordinator of the theme week.

Tiittala considers working and learning together to be the central idea of the theme week. He says that the impressive number of events – almost 150 – would not have been possible without the contribution and close cooperation of the Education Division’s various units and partners.

Tiittala continues, saying, “During the week, we shared many new pedagogical ideas and thoughts. I’m sure that many units will experiment with new pedagogical ideas to diversify their work soon. A huge thanks to everyone involved!