Knowledge Map > Finland Knowledge Map > Finland

Kaisto's study from 2007 explored and assessed the impact of educational use of ICT in schools across Finland. This mixed methods study surveyed 6,000 pupils through questionnaires and drew data from 33 interviews with teachers (from 12 schools). The study found that:

  • Teachers realised the possibilities of ICT but most of them lacked the pedagogical vision to integrate ICT effectively within their teaching;
  • All teachers had basic ICT skills. But the technical infrastructure between schools varied considerably and, therefore, the opportunities to develop these skills also varied in practice;
  • The vast majority of teachers used ICT to help with their planning but few used it in their teaching;
  • Pupils disliked, and were not motivated by, highly structured, ready-made learning tasks. They preferred open, enquiry-based tasks but these were seldom evidenced in the research;
  • Those pupils with a positive attitude towards ICT had a more positive attitude about their school and themselves in general. They were able to use their knowledge in more critical and creative ways.

Pedersen's study (Pedersen et al, 2006) indicated similar findings. Here, whilst the positive impact of ICT on students' learning outcomes was noticed, a broader criticism of Nordic schools failing to realise the full potential of ICT was also noted. As others have discussed (Plomp, 2009, p308), trends like these 'raise questions on how to support and encourage schools to become more diversified ICT users, in order to help students become competent members of the Finnish knowledge society'.

Ryymin's study (Rymnin et al, 2008) examined the network structure of a teacher community in relation to their use of ICT. Their participants were 33 teachers in an upper comprehensive school in suburban Helsinki. Through social network analysis, participants were asked to assess their networking relationships in respect of five particular dimensions. The results indicated that whilst there were few central actors in the community who dominated the exchange of technical or pedagogical knowledge, there were two 'hybrid' actors who were central to the exchanges. These teachers' networks were characterised by their own external networks which helped them develop and maintain a high level of ICT competence. The study concludes with the categorisation of networks into four principle types:

  • The Counsellor, who offers advice actively without seeking information in return;
  • The Collaborator, who works collaboratively in web-based learning using several different media;
  • The Inquirer, an active seeker of ICT-related information by capitalising on their social relationships;
  • The Weakly Social, who prefers media rather than face-to-face encounters in their search for information.

Finnish schools have adapted well to the fast pace of change in ICT development and usage. Like educational systems across the European Union, they will have to continue to be flexible to meet the challenges associated with ongoing changes in society and the diverse perspectives of different ICT users. Developing pedagogically innovative and quality practices is a challenge for all participants within the iTEC project. There is much that can be learnt from Finland's educational system in this respect.