The Edupreneurs Recommendation Paper is out!

Our goal with this recommendation paper is to share the lessons learned from the project Edupreneurs: Networking and Empowering Education Entrepreneurs Towards a Resilient EdTech Ecosystem. The project was undertaked in Southern Africa, funded by the Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS 2) programme.

Edupreneurs Recommendation Paper
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Toni Ruusunen, full-stack developer

This time I talked with Toni Ruusunen about his work at Eduix. Toni is among other Eduix’s employees who used to work in another field and decided to explore the world of software development. Out of his own interest, self-regulated learning, and problem-solving skills, he developed his programming competences and ended up working with us.

Toni is from Tampere and he has a high school background, “ylioppilas” how it is called in Finnish. This means that Toni doesn’t have a formal computer science background. He used to work as a construction worker, especially as a painter. However, he got bored of working outside and sometimes in bad weather conditions. That was when he shifted his attention to an indoor type of work: programming, and he set his next professional goal.

Tampere, Toni’s hometown
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Technology implementation in your school

Academic peer reviewing is one of the best ways there is to boost learning: although it is hard sometimes, when you are lucky, you get to read a lot of rich, useful, informative, instructive, mind changing literature that your supervisors and peers failed to recommend for you before. And I’ve been learning so much with the recommendations of one of the reviewers from a manuscript recently submitted.

The reviewer suggested guidelines, models, and plans developed by the pioneers in the field of technology implementation in schools, back in the 1990s. Although the technology has changed in so many levels, their recommendations are still as relevant as before. In addition, it’s a great pleasure to go back in memory when we read references to CD players and digital encyclopedias that people could purchase with CDs and floppy disks. Ah those times…

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Minna Ilmén, project manager

As a starting point for the year 2022, I talked with Minna Ilmén, project manager at Eduix for 3 years now. It was a relaxing and fun conversation. This time, we travel to Akaa, a small village about 50km south from Tampere where Minna lives. She described her house as a small, cozy and old place in the middle of the woods, where she lives with her husband and two cats.

Akaa, where Minna lives.
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Eduix wishes

Despite its challenges, the year 2021 has been a mark for the internationalization of Eduix’s operations. The fact that I am writing this post in Brazil, right now, is one of its milestones. If we make a timeline of what has happened during this year, we should notice that:

Currently …

I am in my home country, after 2 years of a long wait in between a pandemic, not only to visit my dear family and friends, but also to talk with education stakeholders about Eduix and our vast experience in digitizing education processes. We believe we can support Brazilian education institutions in promoting high quality hybrid and online education with our edtech solutions!

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Olli Ovaskainen, software engineer

Olli is 36 years old, he lives in Pori, a city 110km west from Tampere, Eduix’s headquarter.

When Olli was a child, he used to skateboard during summers and snowboard in Finnish winters. Nowadays, however, he is more keen to stick his foot on the ground and play frisbee golf during his free time. After work, Olli also likes to walk around his neighbourhood, where he easily has access to nature around.

Pori and Tampere

For about 10 years, Olli was a landscaping artist. He used to build yards, arrange pavements out of natural materials, such as stones and trees, assemble wood fences, build house terraces etc. However, because this was, in practice, a seasonal job, with a lot of work during Finnish summer and not so much during the winter time, he started to think about other professions.

That’s when he told me he’s always been good with computer programming – which was his hobby since childhood. So, he decided to become a professional programmer about 3 years ago, when he started to study on it at a professional level. As things happen naturally when they just seem to be right, one and a half year later, Eduix took him as its new employee.

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Aquarium, a curious concept of education

Every time I would get involved in export/exchange education projects in Finland, I would remind asking myself:

How did Finland change its own education system? How did the transformation happen?

Because when foreign visitors (like me, some years ago) come here, it is difficult to see beyond the amazing schools that appear in front of our eyes. One needs to understand that what we see today is the result of a long-term process, with conflicts of ideas and even drawbacks.

For example, did you know that…

  • … Before WW2, Finnish primary education was formal, teacher-centered, and moral-oriented? It was inspired in the German model of education, in which more “capable” students were tracked to “academic subjects” and those students who were lagging behind (or, as they used to say, “preferred manual work”) were tracked to “vocational studies”.
  • … Back in the 1950s, Finland had a public-private school system? Additionally, the government used to fund private schools in order to both support the post-war increased demand for education and extend government control over them.
  • … After WW2, the three major transformation policy agenda in Finland were: accessibility (universal and unified education), curriculum (holistic and personalized education), and professionalism (qualified teachers)? Later, they also invested efforts on developing career counselling, so students would get more support on making decisions for their lives.
  • … The Finnish Primary School Teachers’ Association was one of the strongest civil society organization in favor of an unified school system? Their ideas were in direct opposition to the general opinion of university professors back then.
  • … After unifying the school system in 1970s, one of the first aspect to be developed was special needs support? So the schools could attend the diverse needs of pupils in order for all to reach education success.
  • … Finland has mostly implemented education approaches based on research developed abroad, such as USA, Canada and UK? For instance, Finnish universities and schools were one of the first countries to implement in large scale the cooperative learning methodology from Johnson brothers.
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Research experiences during the pandemic

Eduix participated in the X International Symposium on Research, organized by the Colombian Association of Higher Education Institutions with Professional Technical, Technological or University training (ACIET). The event happened from 29th September until 1st October and addressed the theme “Research Experiences in the Age of Pandemic”. In the event, Eduix presented how our edtech solutions has helped Finnish Higher Education Institutions (HEI) continue running their research endeavors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The paradigm shift in education

From a global perspective, we all know that many HEIs have faced increased dropout rates due to students’ financial difficulties and inefficient virtual learning environments in the past year. Nevertheless, HEIs with the the appropriate virtual tools were able to keep educational processes running online (synchronous and asynchronous), identify students at risk and retain them, maintain staff efficiency, reduce costs, and attract more students.

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Get to know Sustainable Me

Sustainable Me is our Artificial-Intelligence (AI) tool that profiles students’ competences and interests, so they can efficiently transform their learning paths into professional skills. The tool was developed in partnership with HeadAI. Our business cooperation has also resulted in another AI tool: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) AI-scorecard for assessing the extent that education curricula address the SDGs.

Imagine this …

Marek is a Polish student starting his Degree Programme in Medicine. Priya is an India company employee willing to advance on her job position. Taru wants to radically change her career in Finland, from programmer to engineer. Despite their differences, they are all about to ask themselves: what should I learn next?

Sustainable Me is a tool to help students, employees, and career changers to understand:

  • what professional competences they already have,
  • what competences they want and need to learn,
  • and what paths they can take to reach their goals.

The users build their skills’ profile based on their hobbies, education, jobs and careers, and the tool transforms the users’ interests into actionable learning paths.

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Thank you for attending the Edupreneurs final event

Thank you for all of you who registered to and attended the Edupreneurs final event. We are proud to have brought together such an amazing group of education stakeholders. We have discussed how we can build a digital business education ecosystem in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The final event counted with the participation of

  • Mr. Matti Karvanen, Deputy Head of Mission, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Finland;
  • Mr. Ilary Patrick Lindy, the SAIS Leader Expert;
  • Prof. Samuel John, from the Department of Mechanical and Marine Engineering (NUST);
  • Mr. Hasekiel Johannes, Innovation Officer (NUST-NBII);
  • Dr. Altti Lagstedt, Principal lecturer from UAS Haaga-Helia; and
  • Mr. Sebulon David, Glowdom CEO, the keystone organization from the Edupreneurs ecosystem.

For those who haven’t made to attend the event and for those who would like to remember key points of our discussions, kindly find the link to our recorded session below:

Edupreneur Final Event

Thank you again for being part of our joint efforts on building a digital business education ecosystem in the SADC.