Finland moving towards online education and collaboration with cloud computing
Looking for web-based teaching tools to prepare its students for the future, Kello School in Finland deployed Microsoft Live@edu to give students a rich online learning experience, foster peer collaboration and enable students to work away from school all within a secure online environment.
Finland’s public educational system—rated number one out of 57 countries tested by the OECD—is built upon excellent institutions such as the Kello School, which serves primary students in the municipality of Haukipudas, located in northern Finland.
The 700 students at Kello School are tutored by 54 teachers with a passion for delivering educational excellence and helping their students prepare for the future.
Teachers at Kello had long been trying to find a web-based teaching solution that would foster collaboration among students and teachers, provide e-mail, and help extend the learning environment beyond the classroom and into the homes. However, the school network lacked the security infrastructure that students needed to enable them to have personal, password-protected file spaces. Another concern was how to provide students with internet access, while limiting full web access from their student accounts.
“We tried using the school’s internal network, but teachers and students couldn’t access work from their homes,“ says Minna Haanpaa, a primary teacher at Kello School. “I tried using a Google solution for my class, but a major problem was that if I created Google accounts for my students, I didn’t have any control over where they went once they got onto the internet.”
In October 2008, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen met Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and announced that he would introduce his country’s educators to Microsoft Live@edu, a free hosted service for K–12 and higher education institutions that provides students, staff, faculty, and alumni long-term, primary e-mail addresses and other applications that they can use to collaborate and communicate online.
Kello School decided to deploy Live@edu immediately and serve as a demonstration program for other educators in the district. Students used Live@edu tools in planning and executing class projects. This included using Microsoft Office Live Workspace for collaborative work; Windows Live Spaces for social networking; and uploading photos and documents to Windows Live SkyDrive, a cloud-based file storage and sharing service.
“The main reason why we started using Live@edu was that it had, in one package, all of the elements that we needed for our schoolwork,” says Haanpaa. Her colleague Sami Rousu, a fellow teacher at Kello School who also coordinates IT at the school adds, “Students can do projects, and they also have e-mail, calendars, and different kinds of work spaces with Live@edu. The fact that all students have a formal online identity enhances the integrity of the environment.” Besides offering a complete learning environment, the cloud solution is also safe and protected for learning, and is also helping the school meet national educational goals of allowing students to master necessary communication skills to acquire and use information.
“Live@edu is helping the school move towards the future,” concludes Haanpaa. “Live@edu is changing our way of seeing things and learning. It’s getting us to where we need to be in the next 10 or 20 years.”
Benefits of cloud
- Offers a complete learning environment
- Provides a safe online environment
- Supports collaboration
- Helps meet national curriculum goals
- Prepares students for the future
You can find the original case study here
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