Helsinki wants to be a city that anticipates its residents’ service needs and in which services are, first and foremost, designed to be easy to access and user-friendly. An excellent example of a new facilitator of everyday life that meets a specific demand is the Aula Learner Portal deployed at the schools of Helsinki at the beginning of 2021.
The Aula portal allows students, teachers and guardians alike to access the most important daily school services and learning environments through a single login. The Aula service facilitates everyday school life, as users no longer have to separately think about the locations of individual services or insert their password repeatedly. Simultaneously, the portal supports learning and increases the well-being of students.
All daily school services available through Aula
The Aula learner portal is the start page on the computers of students participating in comprehensive education in Helsinki. Information on student welfare services at the student’s school can quickly be found through the portal. School health care, the home page of the student’s school, the City’s library services, the school lunch schedule and the City’s services for children and young people can also be accessed.
“The biggest benefit of Aula is that the students have a natural starting point from where they can easily access all electronic services. The less there is clicking and address typing, the more the students have time for the actual work. The service is important also because it has been specifically developed for teachers and students, and we are able to influence its further development,” class teacher Teemu Einola from Pakila lower-grade comprehensive school summarizes.
The Aula portal brings trust and clarity for the students as they move between the services. Simultaneously, the service also improves the accessibility of student welfare services, as the browser’s home screen gives direct access to the contact details of the student welfare and school health care services at the student’s school.
Aula portal adapts to individual user needs
Aula is user-friendly, as the student can select their own favourite services on the start page. Aula also provides a privacy-respecting and ad-free search service.
Separate platform versions have been developed for upper secondary schools and vocational education. The portal is designed to work on all devices. Guardians can get to know the service with their children using their Helsinki edu ids at https://aula.edu.hel.fi. The Aula service exists in three language versions: Finnish, Swedish and English. In Swedish-language schools the page is automatically displayed in Swedish.
New electronic platforms created to support schoolwork
Aula is not the only new platform that has been built in the last few years to support work at the schools of Helsinki. For example the Opehuone (Teachers’ room) website acts as a centralized set of tools for teachers. The deployment of platforms has been facilitated by offering support e.g. in the form of tutorial videos, trainings and training recordings. Opehuone gives teachers information on coming events and trainings as well as assistance in the use of different digital services. In addition, the service gives access to teachers’ communities and Helsinki-centric pedagogic materials developed to support the teachers’ work.
The goal of Helsinki’s digitalisation programme is to make Helsinki the best city in the world in the utilisation of digitalisation. The City aims to develop services that anticipate the needs of local residents and meet them in a more personalised manner. The goal is to genuinely facilitate the everyday life of residents through savings in time and effort. This is how the new digital Helsinki functions.