Digitalization in the Education Division is primarily a change in operational culture and methods. This is a comprehensive, systemic change with a focus on the renewal of pedagogical practices and approaches.
The new early education plan, renewed qualification requirements in vocational education and new curricula for preschools, comprehensive schools and upper secondary schools emphasize the active role of the learner and the broad-based competence needed in the future. The objective is to provide good learning and growth for each child, young person and adult.
Technology is meant to bring added value to the process of growth and learning. Digital technology is integrated fluently with learning and activities. The entire city is a learning environment.
With the organizational reform of the City of Helsinki, a number of digitalization programs of the Education Division are combined into one joint program of the division in 2018.
The key measures are the following:
1. Development of skills, operating culture and management
The staff’s competence is strengthened and developed to give everyone the required skills and tools to realise digitalisation. The new Digi.hel.fi frame of reference, developed on the basis of the national Ope.fi frame of reference for continuing training, defines the digital competences required in teaching and pedagogical management. This work has been done together with teachers and principals.
2. Innovative pedagogical trials
During the school year 2016–17, innovative trials of new pedagogy and digitalisation were started in altogether 70 schools and educational institutions. The objective is to empower all schools to develop their own digital operating culture, innovate future school structures and pedagogical solutions, and share their competence.
Early education and preschool units implemented the Oivalluksia esiopetuksesta varhaiskasvatukseen (Insights from preschool to early education) project. Together with day care staff, new approaches have been developed to increase children’s participation. The emphasis is on multi-literacy and the natural use of new technology.
3. Learning environments and digital materials
The entire city functions as a learning environment. Physical learning and activity environments are developed together with schools, educational institutions and day care centers.
An expert network of approximately 40 teachers operates in Helsinki with the task of developing and modelling new kinds of pedagogical practices and tools. Part of their working hours are allocated to development and training other teachers. The City of Helsinki develops digital learning tools in cooperation with companies and universities.
4. Developing an information system to support the operations
Digitalization of education requires a change in the operating culture, which, in turn, requires a functioning digital environment, a comprehensive digital system for teaching and learning. One of the objectives is to create a coherent and functional information resource and open interfaces for national systems, such as the national TOR register (‘verified competence register’).
5. Information tools for teachers and learners
Wireless networks in schools, educational institutions and early education. All teachers receive laptops. The number of laptops for use by pupils and students is increased as follows:
- Digital devices in each early education group.
- In grades 1–2, the number of laptops is 50% of the number of students
- In grades 3–6, the number of laptops is 75% of the number of students
- In grades 7–9, the number of laptops is 100% of the number of students
- Re-conceptualizing information technology installation and support services