OER in Finland
OER Initiatives in OER in Finland
In its response to the OECD questionnaire, Finland reported that it has chosen to focus its OER efforts on older students and is most active in ISCED sector 5. (2)
Short history of Finnish OER
The first real OER for high schools was built by Otavan Opisto intitute in 1996. It was called Internitix and had most of the high school courses created online. The institute provided all courses open for schools to use and also online teaching and evaluation services on the courses.
In the basic education the beginning was from the city of Turku in 1996, where they had an innovative OER pioneer named Turkka Sinervo. He established the first subject based teacher network of handcraft teachers who started to create OER on hand craft online. The network and the OER tray was called “Käspaikka” which also has an English version.
The other start-up from Turku in the late 90‘s was the OER platform of exams, training modules and quizzes called Perunakellari, which was using the free software called Hot Potatoes. Perunakellari (The potato cellar) is a free interactive collection of practical exercise materials for students made by the teachers around Finland.
The Finnish National Bureau of Education started country wide OER creation process in the beginning of 2001. The platform is named edu.fi. This platform and OER service is built and maintained by the National Board of education. It supports and develops teaching, learning and implementation of the usage of ICT in education. The platform gathers the information of curicular usage of ICT in education and most of the Finnish OER material for basic education, and for the secondary education (high schools and vocational). The subjects and school years based on the Finnish curriculum categorize the OER materials. The platform also has a good collection of best practices of the usage of these OER materials. In the Vocational section the categorization is done by professions. One can find some full material for vocational degree and examinations in the platform.
Starting year 2002 the online and web based training has spread mostly in the secondary education (High schools, lyceums, vocational) and there are several regional network, which provide OER material and full courses. Some of them one has to pay for some have their materials open. In Finland the student has to be listed in some schools student to get an exam. That’s why the materials for high school almost everythime have the teacher connection / or online guidance connected. Examples of the network you can find at: East Finlands’ network,Tampere regions’ network and North Finland’s network.
Also the Teacher training high schools are nowadays quite active in this area and you can find info at http://www.enorssi.fi/enorssi-verkosto/enorssi-in-english
The adult high schools are also active and the life long learning possibilities are offered nation vide. The adult high schools have wide network, which offers most of the courses on-time online. They have also the most complete OER course tray for high school courses at http://www.lse.fi/kurssitarjotin.htm
The high education area we had in the beginning of the century a development project called Finnish Virtual University. All the Finnish universities were involved in this project. This project was great and there are plenty of OER materials in use between different faculties in different universities. The most benefit on the life long learning point of view is the Finnish Open Universities Network, which has the OER courses and materials up to the bachelor degree. In this network are all the Finnish open university present and they provide courses in all disciplines. The one thing is that all Finnish Open Universities are parts of the “real” university’s and that’s why all the courses have academical status and give real ECTS credits. See http://www.avoinyliopisto.fi/
Finnish OER and especially learning materials produced in Finnish are becoming better presented in international OER projects and in repositories that include multilingual materials. Some examples are:
Learning Resource Exchange for schools – portal which includes lots of Finnish materials for different subjects. LRE was provided by European Schoolnet and has been supported by Ministries of Education in Europe and a number of European projects such as ASPECT, CELEBRATE, CALIBRATE and MELT. The content provider from Finland is the Finnish National Board of Education.
Discover the Cosmos - portal which includes over 70 learning units in Finnish. Learning activities are also available in Finnish. The materials are for astronomy in particular.
Open Science Resources - portal which offers materials for natural sciences. There are over 50 learning resources available in Finnish. The materials in Finnish are produced in cooperation with the science-center Heureka. There are also a variety of so called educational pathways which describe inquiry-based learning scenarios and illustrate the steps and methods how a teacher can include the available learning materials in these scenarios.
Some materials in Finnish can also be found from http://learn.openscout.net which includes materials for Business & Management
National OER initiatives
In Finland, learning materials are mostly produced by publishers. Materials are subsidised and distributed for free in primary and lower secondary schools. The National Board of Education produces learning materials for prioritised areas and for public learning repositories (www.edu.fi) and in areas where the market is too small for private publishers. (2)
EDU.fi is set up and maintained by the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE), a national agency under the Ministry of Education and Culture. FNBE has a wide range of tasks related to the development of education all through pre-primary and basic education, general and vocational upper secondary education and training, adult education and basic education in the arts.
The purpose of the website is to offer Finnish teachers tools, resources and information to support their work. Decisions regarding the content included in the web service are made by FNBE specialists. All content must be in line with the national educational guidelines and available to users free of charge. EDU.fi is mainly used by Finnish teachers in basic education and upper secondary education.
The web service is divided into four main sections: 1. General education 2. Vocational education 3. Materials and methods 4. Competitions and theme days
Based on web statistics, the most popular content is information on competitions and special theme days as well as the section with links to online teaching material produced by the FNBE.
The section on materials and methods offers users listings of different online teaching materials produced by the FNBE as well as information on distance studies, learning environments and the use of ICT in education. Online teaching materials are categorized based on school-level and school subject. The sub-section on ICT includes ample material on e.g. the use of social media, copyright issues, smartboards etc. There is also a blog where teachers write about how they use ICT in their everyday teaching situations.
Edu.fi also provides access to Vetamix.net and a collection of other learning resources in Swedish which are available via http://edu.fi/hitta_material/digitala_larresurser
The Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE) offers free-of-charge educational and informative content through YLE Learning Online. According to the web-page it includes access to over 3000 educational video and audio clips and to about 3000 interactive exercises related to various on-line learning materials. The service is devided into five categories: Nature and Environment, Culture and Society, Languages, Free time and Working life.
YLE Teacher's TV is available in Finnish at http://opettajatv.yle.fi/
Vetamix.net is anonline learning resource provided by the Swedish department of YLE in collaboration with Utbildningsstyrelsen and Svenska kulturfonden. It provides audio and video material from YLE’s archive as well as digital photographies and other learning resources from Utbildningsstyrelsen.
Länkhåven also provides selected and qualified learning resources in Swedish and Finnish.
Le Mill is an online community for “finding, authoring and sharing” open educational resources (OER). Le Mill was developed by the LeMill team led by the Learning Environments Research Group of Media Lab at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Finland. As of November 2010, Le Mill has nearly ~15,000 teachers contributing from 63 countries and almost 24,000 learning resources in 83 languages. Le Mill resources are licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike.
Regional OER initiatives
Ouluma.fi provides learning materials especially for natural sciences on different educational levels. Materials are produced as a part of the OuLUMA-centers activities. The portal also includes materials produced by several partners of OuLUMA as well as teachers themselves. The materials are freely available for re-use in teaching activities with conditions provided by OuLUMA. These include acknowledgement of the original author of the material and non-commercial purposes.
OuLUMA is a LUMA-center of OULU, providing a forum and support structure for universities and schools dealing with natural sciences in northern Finland. OuLUMA-center was founded in 2007 in cooperation by Oulu University and the Education department of city of Oulu. OuLUMA targets for more extensive cooperations on a national level as well with other LUMA-centers, to raise awareness on LUMA-projects and to provide best practices from the overall activities.
Institutional OER initiatives
Peda.net is a research and development project coordinated by the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
University of Applied sciences in Jyväskylä distributes some of their materials openly at http://oppimateriaalit.jamk.fi/oppimateriaalisivustot/
Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences was the first institution in Finland to join the OCW (Open Course Ware)-consortium, promising to publish all their learning materials under open licences. Metropolia offers a variety of degree programmes in the fields of culture, business, health care and social services, and technology.