Research Projects and Conferences

ONNI 2022–2023: Success in school safety

Making school safety management a shared effort within the school community and offering comprehensive schools versatile tools to develop their safety. 

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PATT38 - 38th Pupils’ Attitudes Toward Technology conference 27.–30.4.2021

Technology in our Hands. Creative Pedagogy and Ambitious Teacher Education.

38th Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology Conference was held from Finland on the 27th – 30th of April 2021. PATT38 was hosted by University of Turku, Department of Teacher Education. The program included current themes and interesting keynotes and was a great get together opportunity for the experts of the STEAM-field.

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PATT38-proceedings in Techne series:

The Developing Network of Safety Culture in Schools (OPTUKE)

The OPTUKE network is a multi-agency co-operation of professionals and academics with expertise in the safety culture development of schools. The network was established in 2010.

During the past few years the incidents of extreme violence, the increase of depression, bullying, loneliness and helplessness create situations where new, innovative safety procedures are needed.

The OPTUKE network wants to support the process of making safety culture more visible from elementary school to university, so that everyone who works or studies may enjoy wellbeing and safety.

The OPTUKE network develops and researches educational modules and develops a learning environment as well as organizes and co-ordinates its activities nationwide and internationally. The OPTUKE network involves safety expertise, educational planning and reporting, and academic publishing which enhance the possibilities of finding new safety solutions.

Goals of the network are:

  • To consider the challenges of creating safety culture based on research and everyday life.
  • To assemble multi-agencies nationwide and to achieve international competence to develop innovative solutions and working models which publicize the best and evidence-based practices.
  • To advance a wide, systematic and open safety culture in the everyday life of schools.

Contact: Brita Somerkoski

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InnoPlay 2018–2022: Craft, design and technology education (STEAM) in the early years

A three-year program InnoPlay focuses on craft design and tchnology (STEAM) in the education of the youngest children from kindergarten to second grade. Our aim is to develop pedagogical methods which integrate craft, environmental and technology education and mathematics in ways that motivate younger learners; Play, exploring and self expression. Main principal is to support learning by bringing up childrens’ interests and point of views into multisubjectal (STEAM) learning projects. InnoPlay program has started in August 2018.

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InnoKomp 2017–2020

Innovation competences: co-creation, digital modelling and multimateriality as factors renewing craft, design and technology

The Craft, Design and Technology (CDT) teacher education programme in the University of Turku, Rauma campus is coordinating the InnoKomp – innovation competencies -project in close co-operation with the teacher education programmes of the University of Helsinki, the University of Eastern Finland and the Åbo Akademi University.

The project promotes the design and technology thinking of multi-material CDT. The project also develops a continuing education model for the teachers’ vocational skills, in which teacher educators, teacher education students and primary and secondary teachers develop multi-material CDT teaching using the co-teaching skills.

The InnoKomp-project relies on piloting new pedagogical models in the partner schools of the universities. The pupils and the teachers as well as the teacher educators will create the models to improve the design and technology competencies of the pupils so that the teaching of CDT is multi-material and offers equal opportunities. The new models will be tested in schools during two pilot rounds that have started in the spring of 2018.

Contact: Marja-Leena Rönkkö

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DigiYouth 2018–2020: Enhancing youth entrepreneurship with cross-border startups and digital technologies

During 3 years (2018–2020) DigiYouth brings together 220 Estonian, Finnish, Latvian and Swedish students (aged 14–19) who engage in the development of digital products or services, starting from idea creation and formation of teams, through the prototyping until marketing and sales.

All the activities are a part of the general school curriculum.

DigiYouth aims to prepare students and schools for the 4th industrial revolution, i.e

  • make more space in school curriculum to create, innovate and integrate
  • connect classroom learning to real-world contexts
  • combine the development of digital skills and entrepreneurship
  • transfer the best of start-up approach from business to education
  • show students the potential of digital solutions in different economic sectors
  • give students an overview of entrepreneurial opportunities and career choices related to digital technologies

40 cross-border student startups created
220 students in four countries having a cross-border start-up experience
45 teachers and mentors trained
A 1.5 year study module on digital entrepreneurship developed for schools

Contacts: Jaana Lepistö, Marja-Leena Rönkkö

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Teacher Safe II 2018–2019: Safety belongs to everyone

Teacher Safe II is a development and research project for promoting fire safety in the context of teacher education. The project provides sustainable, safe and secure working models for teacher education. The collaborative partners are the Departments of Teacher Education at the University of Turku, University of Eastern Finland, University of Tampere and University of Helsinki and the regional emergency services from these areas.

The central focus is to bridge the gaps between the fire services and teacher education and to enhance the safety pedagogics in a changing and multicultural society. The project provides new models for promoting safety competence, research and material for teacher education in the whole country as well as for schools. The core element of the project is that each of the Teacher Education Departments creates their own implementation plans, including the development of safety contents in the teacher education curriculum.

The first year students will be provided safety walks, MOOC on campus safety and security, methods for risk assessments and practical training for responding the fires.

The project is coordinated by Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku and it is funded by the Finnish Fire Protection Fund. The project manager is professor Eila Lindfors.

Contacts: Special Research Fellow Brita Somerkoski or senior researcher Matti Waitinen.

​The collaborative partners are the Departments of Teacher Education in University of Turku, University of Eastern Finland, University of Tampere and University of Helsinki and the regional emergency services from these areas.

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Future Teaching - FUTE

The FUTE project works to develop a didactic platform for teacher training, and to create tools that help teachers by implementing more design thinking into the educational curriculum in schools across Europe.

Contacts: Satu Grönman, Päivi Granö

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EVAPREM 2017–2018

The main goal of this project is to develop a universal and comprehensive model for evaluating the results of prevention measures implemented by the rescue boards of European countries.

​1 January, 2017 – 31 December, 2018
Budget: 531 006 EUR, incl EU Grant 398 255 EUR

The aim of the project is to deepen our understanding of the effectiveness and efficiency of the prevention services considering the corresponding socio-economic environment. The project will provide robust evidence and analysis to support policy-makers in understanding the impact of prevention and supports policy-makers at different administrative levels in elaborating and reshaping the selection of prevention services with providing cost effective evaluation tools.

The project has a series of associated subsidiary objectives. The specific sub-goals are:

  • to give an assessment of prevention activities as a whole;
  • an “overall index”, which assesses whether the right things and in the right amount are done in a country (relevance and effectiveness);
  • to give an international comparison;
  • the value of the “index” should be comparable between countries, therefore it should be generalizable across countries, since different countries implement different activities for prevention;
  • to give an assessment of the trends;
  • the value of the index has to be found over the years, so it must be ensured that the input data is (or will be in the future) available (bi)annually;
  • to give an assessment to specific preventive activities;
  • the model must be sufficiently detailed to be able to conclude what activities and in what proportion should be changed to ensure the optimum outcome (in other words: what to change to maximize the outcome);
  • the components of the index should also have a meaning / interpretation on their own;
  • to give an assessment to the activities across target groups (school children, elderly people etc., who would be more vulnerable);
  • to provide an implementation model of prevention measures based on the local level collaboration with the actors – a safety pedagogic point of view will be provided as well as practical models how to conduct accident prevention effectively.

The main beneficiaries of the project would be the organisations responsible for planning and implementing the prevention measures in their respective countries on national and local level as well as safety actors in European level. The direct beneficiaries will be populations of the participating countries and indirectly countries who will be adapting and using the evaluation tool afterwards.

Participating countries:

  • The Estonian Rescue Board (ERB) – Coordinator
  • University of Tartu, Estonia – Beneficiary No1
  • State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia, Latvia – Beneficiary No 2
  • Frederiksbourg Brand og Redning, Denmark – Beneficiary No 3
  • Fire and Rescue Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuania – Beneficiary No 4
  • University of Turku – Beneficiary No 5

The project is financed by the European Union and serves also as a Flagship project of the  European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR).

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EduSafe 2016-2018, Safe School 2016–2017 and Teacher Safe 2013–2015

Promotion Safety at Education (EduSafe) research and development project considers safety from the viewpoint of occupational and workplace safety at educational context.

At education, there is a need to develop safety management practices.
EduSafe program produces knowledge about the current status and need of development of safety management at the educational context. In addition, new methods and materials are established for safety management.
Finnish schools are considered generally as safe working environment however, new challenges are faced during the past years. The illusion of invulnerability is broken for example by the school shootings in the beginning of 21st century.

In the classroom, various safety risks, disturbances, and violence are faced. Also, the burden of human relations is considered as a sustainable status rather than unique events.

Aims and goals

The aim of the research is to evaluate and improve safety management, safety culture and safety competencies in the educational context.

  • safety management, safety culture and safety competencies at the organizations involved  are supported (resilient working methods)
  • to establish a model for general safety practices, safety management, safety culture and safety competence at the educational context
  • to disseminate the established model widely

Methods and results

  • Two questionnaires and interviews at the organizations involved have been carried out
  • Intervention material is collected. The intervention procedures carried out are Muutospaja ( Safety workshop for an organizational change in the working environment); Green Cross digital application for monitoring the risk and near-miss cases and Hetipurku model (Model for defusing and debriefing).

The project creates knowledge of the status of safety management, development needs as well as methods and materials that enhance safety competence and safety management in the working environment. These will support the development of safety culture in the educational context.  The project is carried out 6/2016 – 9/2018.

The organizations involved and the funding

At the University of Turku, the project will be carried out by the Department of Teacher Education. The coordinator of the EduSafe project is Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, FIOH. The project emphasizes collaboration with the educational department of two Finnish cities, two schools, the after-school clubs, food service and four university training schools. The collaboration is done also with the OPTUKE network. The research and development project EduSafe is funded by The Finnish Work Environment Fund, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University of Turku.

Contacts: Professor Eila Lindfors, Special Research Fellow Brita Somerkoski

More information: Edusafe, Teacher Safe

Make it now! Learning, Exploring, Understanding -conference 28.-30.9.2016

NORDFO conference.

NordFo works in cooperation with the Nordic countries´ teacher education to initiate, stimulate and report research and R & D within the subjects in design and technology in arts and craft and the teacher education in these subjects.

Make it NOW publication –  Techne theme issue

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