Exporting education by sailing around the world: several FLF members involved
Several member organizations of Future Learning Finland are involved in the journey.
According to Tuomo Meretniemi, the father of the family, the idea of combining a voyage around the world and education export arose from the need to solve the children’s education; during the six-year voyage, the children would be aged 4–14, in other words, of school age.
–However, we quickly understood that the challenges of the digital era we were trying to solve were the same that schools around the world were dealing with. Finland has top expertise in both education and technology, and by combining the two, education can be made into a substantial new type of export for Finland, says Meretniemi.
–The Meretniemi family’s voyage around the world is an excellent opportunity to prove in practice that the Finnish school can be recreated anywhere around the world, even where there are no telecommunications or in the middle of the ocean, confirms Seppo Keränen, Program Director, Future Learning Finland.
The education expert project, named Sail For Good Education, is joined by more than 20 companies and organizations, many of which are members of Finland education export network and are helping to create a digital school onboard the boat. For instance, the three main partners of the project and members of Future Learning Finland, Lenovo, 3 Step IT, and Claned Group, joined together to build the ‘Learning as a service’ tool, a simple solution for digitizing schools.
–We will act as a living laboratory for new types of learning methods, technologies, learning platforms, and digital learning materials. We want to act as an example in applying the new and advanced Finnish curriculum (OPS16), explains Meretniemi.
The boat of the Meretniemi family will act as the stage for a new type of learning and teaching technology during the voyage, but Finnish top expertise will also be displayed to a greater extent in the road show events organized in a number of ports.
–In addition to comprehensive education, the online tools can also be utilized in vocational education, such as corporate training. We are already cooperating with the healthcare and cleantech sectors. In addition to knowledge and skills related to all things digital, Finns have a great deal of valuable expertise in, for instance, the development and consultancy of education, teacher training, and the development of learning environments, says Keränen.
According to Keränen, the intent is to relate this diverse expertise in the ports along the route and, especially, in the Finnish education seminars to be co-ordinated at least in Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Brazil, and Argentina.
The seminars and meetings with local decision-makers will offer the joining Finnish companies the opportunity to meet potential new business partners.
–We have a strong reputation as a leading country in education and, as pioneers, we have so much to give to, for instance, those interested in the development of education. A Finnish school or the entire school system can be recreated anywhere, Keränen sums up.
The Sail for Good voyage will begin in Turkey in June 2016. The Meretniemi family will return to Finland in the autumn of 2022. For more information on the voyage, please visit: http://www.sailforgood.org/#!sail-for-good-digital-education/cxfk