Finnish School of the Future

Here’s an interesting-looking project, with a video about it. I don’t think the video does the project justice, and I think that it’s unfortunate that when we see three youngsters leaping into the air with joy at the end of the film, it’s when they’re leaving the school building at the end of the day!

Nevertheless, I think the video could provide a useful focus for discussion in a staff training day, or even in a departmental meeting. For example, the following kinds of questions might be posed:

  • How does the availability of mobile technology like laptops support a different kind of arrangement of spaces within the school, and within a single classroom?
  • What challenges are posed by the kind of learning seen in the video (pupil-centric rather than teacher-centric), and how can they be dealt with?
  • How does the community support students’ learning?
  • How might the use of virtual world technology support the school, and the school community?
  • Is there even a difference between the school and its community, or does technology enable the two to be integrated in a very real sense?
  • How “outlandish” ie futuristic is this school of the future in terms of either its technology or what it’s attempting to do?
  • Which aspects of the approach shown could be implemented virtually straight away?

I have to say that I don’t think this school of the future looks that futuristic, but in a way that’s a strength. I recall inspecting an ICT (Information & Communications Technology) department in a school that, on every available document, had proudly proclaimed that it had a classroom of the future. When I asked to see it, the Head of ICT showed me an empty room, explaining it away with the immortal words “the emphasis of our classroom of the future is very much on ‘the future’”.

I think the classroom or school of the future starts right now, with questioning, discussion, a consequent understanding of what is and is not working, and a vision of how things might be different – and a commitment to making that journey, and a strategy that enables the school to do so.

You can find information about this project here. For now, check out the video: