Innovation in Finnish schools
Daily Innokas Network activity takes places in schools, kindergartens and public libraries – wherever children are learning 21st century skills. Schools participating in the network and other network participants try out different ways to learn 21st century skills and engage in co-creating their own ways adapted to their local environment.
In the Innokas Network, network participants engage in development activity at the grass-roots level; locally in schools, guided by network trainers and coordinator. As most of the network trainers and coordinators are practicing teachers, the new ways of working developed in the network align well with the day-to-day operations of the Finnish school. The network collects local ideas, experiences and challenges for sharing with all network participants.
Sharing of now co-created ways of working are shared with schools and other Innokas Network participants in events, targeted trainings, and in other activity and learning materials, with the aim of bringing new schools and other participants into the network.
Through the Global Innokas Network, schools participating in the Finnish Innokas Network engage in projects with other schools all over the world, for example in China, the United Kingdom, Denmark and USA. Read more about international activity in the Innokas Network in the Global Innokas blog!
Innovation Education approach
The Innokas Network was started in 2004 by a small group of practicing elementary school teachers and other school personnel. The group started on their own initiative to develop practical ways for the teaching of 21st century skills. Through practical development work and educational research conducted in collaboration with the University of Helsinki, we developed an educational approach known as Innovation Education as the basis for the network activity. Innovation Education supports schools in co-creation by combining the long Finnish tradition in Handcraft and in Science, Technology, Mathematics and Arts (STEAM) subjects with “Maker Culture”, fun practical creative activity that applies technology in its many forms.
Today over 600 Finnish schools participate in the Innokas Network. Network activity is coordinated by the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki in collaboration with 10 regional coordinators in Lappeenranta, Espoo, Turku, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Kontiolahti, Kuopio, Larsmo, Oulu and Rovaniemi. In addition, a large group of companies and other partners who are interested in the teaching of 21st century skills participate in the network or provide support for it.
To learn more about the the origins of the Innokas Network and its guiding principles, take a look at the article “A New Wave of Learning in Finland: Get Started with Innovation!” ( Korhonen, T. & Lavonen, J, Springer 2017 ISBN 978-981-10-1673-8 )