FWF: How do you see the effects of digitalization in education?

Marjaana Manninen (Finnish National Board of Education): I see that digitalization brings many effects and new opportunities to teaching and learning.  Digitalization helps finding endless information and processing it.  Learning can happen everywhere and every time. Digitalization offers new versatile and flexible learning environments and models. It also makes the learning process more visible.

In the best case, digitalization improves the students interest in learning and motivation to learn.

Nowadays technology plays an increasingly significant role in everyday school routines,  allowing pupils to be more easily involved in the development and selection of their own learning environments. In Finland, many schools use regularly learning-related technology.

FWF: What is the purpose of school in your opinion? Are schools teaching the skills students need?

Marjaana Manninen: The purpose of school is to support students’ growth towards humanity and ethically responsible membership of the society and to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed in life.

Well-functioning learning environments promote interaction, participation and communal building of knowledge.

 In my opinion, schools teach the important skills that students need today and in the future. Schools improve the pupil’s thinking and learning-to-learn skills, interaction and capabilities for lifelong learning. Transversal competence is the main factor that the student should learn and understand in school and in life. Transversal competence refers to an entity consisting of knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and will. Transversal competences include for example taking care of oneself and managing every day life.

Studying, working life and active citizenship require a command of different knowledge and skills as well as competences in combining these. Each school subject promotes transversal competence skills.

FWF: What do you see as the biggest achievements and challenges in Finland’s education system?

Marjaana Manninen: Actually the subjects are not replaced with topics in Finnish curriculum. Each school subject promotes transversal competence skills. Organisation of school work is aiming to promote learning, cooperation and well-being. Integrative instruction is a vital part of a school culture that supports comprehensive basic education. The purpose of integrative instruction, cooperation with teachers and different subjects enable the pupils to see relationships and interdependencies between the phenomena to be studied.

The biggest achievements in Finland’s education is equality. In Finland, we ensure that everyone has equal access to education. The core value is that we have one good school for all, not for some. Everyone has opportunities to high-quality education. Every pupil and student has the right to educational support.  The Finnish education system aims to maximize the potential of every child.

There are always things to develop in everything. One of the challenges in education is increasing differences in performance between students and schools. For example, Finland has growing differences between girls and boys in learning outcomes. There are also regional differences in girls´ and boys´ learning outcomes.

 Under the Basic Education Act, schools must cooperate with the pupil´s homes. This means that each pupil receives instruction, guidance and support by their needs. The cooperation between home and school improves the well-being and safety of the pupil, the class and the entire school community.

In the future education focus more on individual learning paths and building on the students’ personal strengths. The new curriculum reform encourages and gives the framework to individual learning. We have also excellent and professional teachers who innovate teaching methods and develop pedagogy considering different learners.

 Our vision is from good education to great education!

FWF: How much has your life changed (via digitalisation) in last 10 years and how do you think it will change more in the next decade?

Marjaana Manninen: I have been using digital technology for a long time. Digitalization has changed and will change everyday life in the future. I believe that in future our homes will be so called smart homes, but security should also be taken into account. Digitalization should be seen as a positive thing; it helps in our everyday life and at the same time we must become better in our time management. But it is important, now and in the future, to remember usability and security in digitalisation. I think sometimes there are even too many different digital applications and platforms in our everyday lives… And how to remember all the different passwords? It can save the time but also waste it! Consumer skills are more and more important skills for an individual!

The big issue in the future will be Big data. There is a massive amount of data everywhere but there are no tools to handle it. There is so much data that it is impossible to analyze it. There is also a lot of data of us in different data bases that we don’t even know about. All the organizations we deal with collect data of us, schools, health care, marketing companies and so on. We don’t have the possibility to control that data. The solution for the data issue could be My data. In My data a person gets rights to control the information about him- or herself. All the data will be in the same place and everyone gets to decide what kind of data he/she wants to share about him6herself.  

Meet Marjaana Manninen at Future Work Festival!