Breaking the barriers of education
We went through the problems we, as students, saw in education, and searched for simple and viable solutions.
Team membersAmália B. Garcez, Johannes Leppäkorpi, Juho Ylisirniö, Eeva Kuorikoski, Emely Hoener zu Siederdissen, Masi Mahlamäki, Valtteri Salmijärvi.
Members roles and background
As there were only seven of us, we decided against having roles. As for us, we are all high school students.
Amália B. Garcez, 17, is a Brazilian exchange student in Finland and a climate activist involved in sustainability and education projects, creator of the SOS Amazônia Campaign (sosamazonia.fund/en).
Johannes Leppäkorpi, 17, is an experienced entrepreneur and founder of JastonMatter.
Juho Ylisirniö, 17, is student with strong interests in education and innovation.
Eeva Kuorikoski, 16, is a student involved in many school projects involving the European Union, as well as a graphic artist.
Emely Hoener zu Siederdissen, 15, is a German exchange student in Finland and involved with different education projects.
Masi Mahlamäki, 16, experienced inovator, entrepreneur and founder of JastonMatter. Tries to bring ideas to reality. Goal is to not only effect the future, but create change and impact the world.
Valtteri Salmijärvi, 17, is a strong experienced student with willness to make the world better place to live, who has been working a lot with innovating new things and calculating the best ways to do it.
We see education as now being passed from the teacher to the students through a filter – students sift the information and don’t usually take it all in. Our objective is to break this filter, and build a new, adaptable way to pass information, using current methods mixed with technology and creativity.
To be able to break the filter, we need to reshape classes, from inside out, so we start with the classroom. Instead of having to sit around through many periods a week where the teachers talk and the students listen – or pretend to – our idea is to have only one* period a week where the teacher directly gives information, and in the two others, the students come to class to work independently on their own projects, while having the teacher present for any questions, orientation and explanations. In a study period, the students would have five different projects to complete, and each of them would have five options on how to be presented, with different skills in each option. Overall, all of the five projects would have to have five different skills.
Our solution can be adapted for any subject and age and the teacher can choose specific tasks that work different skills and topics on what they are teaching. In their independent work, the students can choose whether to work alone or in a group, so they have freedom to do the work in the way that works best for them. Over the course, the teacher can feel free to give optional extra assignments so students can catch up on their progress bar.
This method would benefit the teacher as well. As they will only be teaching one class per week in the traditional way, they will get more time to come up with assignments and diversify their own experience, with more creativity and different methods.
However, this would require a new type of organization in classes, and that’s where our idea is completed. Nowadays, in almost every country, every student has a smartphone, and we felt that instead of banishing them from classrooms, we had to embrace their presence. With this idea in mind, we created an app called EDUPACE. This app works along with the teacher and the students, and is adapted to fit the classroom setting described above.
The main idea in our app comes from the feeling of downloading something: you want it to get to 100%, you want the progress bar to finish and get a feeling of satisfaction from seeing it go up – and this feeling can be easily used to generate motivation. The most important feature in our app is a progress bar, where students can see their progress in different classes along the study period, along with the predicted grade for your course based on the progress the student has been making. This, in turn, would make it easier for the teacher to map out how the students are doing and how they are progressing. The bar, just like the classes, consists of five main projects per course, all assigned by the teacher, and all with the same value: 25%. With this system, students will have to do at least one test, but they can still get the 100% without getting maximum points in every assignment.
The tasks can vary depending on the skills the teacher actually needs the students to learn, but are organized in a way in which students can decide what type of working is best for them and encompasses both traditional and non-traditional ways of learning.
These projects would be shown in the app as pathways, and every new activity the student does pushes them further into a path, with more choices of skills to explore in the first project, but which are reduced so they don’t work on the same skill twice and are able to explore more abilities and go out of your comfort zone. The path and the progress bar are things to keep the students organized, and would be designed in a way that makes the student feel motivated to progress, almost like in a game.
Solution target group
We would start with high school and university students, as they would we more independent and adapt easily to this new type of learning. However, our solution is highly adaptible and can work with any age group or level of education, with simple tweaks in the way the app is set up.
Our solution will impact students and teachers in many ways. We, the creators of this project, come from different education systems and have experiences in different countries. As well as that, we learn in different ways and have different strenghts and weaknesses in the classroom, and so were able to create something that was truly adaptible for different people.
Through this new hybrid way of teaching, with traditional and independent studying mixing together, we create a new experience for students and teachers; an experience that promotes motivation, independence, technology and much more. We want to break the barriers of education, make it interesting and accessible for people with different learning abilities, and still give the teacher enough control to be creative inside their classroom.
Solution tweet textEDUPACE - mixing technology and traditional ways of education, in a way that helps teachers AND students. Adaptable, sustainable and independent learning. No filters, just information – all the barriers broken down.
When thinking of what to innovate, we tried to be as realistic as possible, and think of something that could work on as many countries as possible (in our group, we have experience with education in Brazil, Canada, China, Finland and Germany). We also took into account that there are already hundreds of education apps, and creating just one more would not be world changing.
Our solution is different and good because we tied in class learning with technology – the app isn’t meant to work alone, but to support the changes we feel have to be made in the classroom. We need to reshape classes, from inside out, so we start with the classroom. Instead of having to sit around through many periods a week where the teachers talk and the students listen – or pretend to – our idea is to have only one period a week where the teacher directly gives information, and in the two others, the students come to class to work independently on their own projects, while having the teacher present for any questions, orientation and explanations. In a study period, the students would have five different projects to complete, and each of them would have five options on how to be presented, with different skills in each option.
Our idea can be implemented into everything that has some kind of end goal, for example sports, jobs, and even at home for your children to keep count of chores. The possibilities are limitless.
The app can be easily implemented into any education system and there are not really big organizational changes to make in a school's basic functioning. As the audience of the app grows in size the sustainability aspect of the app can be managed with updates to fit into different cultures and places. Overall, it is highly adaptible and there are only improvements to be made in long term, with the user's opinions taken into account.
Solution team work
Our team was filled with very different people. We mostly did not agree on things, but instead of fighting, we had civilized discussions, which resulted in a filter for our ideas, and allowed only the best to pass. As well as that, we had a balance between practical thinking people and creative people. In the end, we worked very well and could work again in the future.
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