Angry Birds and education professionals team up

Otava and Rovio Learning collaborate in learning materials, research coordinated by CICERO Learning

Angry Birds and education professionals team up

“Rovio believes in fun learning,” says Sanna Lukander, the company’s VP of Books. Angry Birds activity books will be introduced at the Helsinki Book Fair opening on 25 October. Special editions for American and Chinese children are already in the making.

Wanting to avoid producing mass entertainment, Rovio based the books on the national core curriculum for pre-primary education. It also enlisted researchers for the project, as well as Otava, an experienced publisher of textbooks.

“We want to be convincing, so we collaborate with the best partners around the world to prove that our products promote learning. This is why we contacted the University of Helsinki and its learning researchers,” Lukander explains.

When exporting learning materials, specific adaptations must be created for each culture. Mere translation is rarely enough. In Finland, for example, small children are assumed to have time left over for fun, and the learning environment is taken to be safe. As Lukander points out, this is not the case everywhere.

It is impossible to create beneficial activities for children – in any country – if educational facts are ignored. “To ensure that all children find suitable ways to practise, different learning strategies must be kept in mind,” says Lukander. It is important to respect all learners and make sure that failures or disappointments do not lead to embarrassment.

Research into the impact of Angry Birds Playground, Rovio’s new brand, is coordinated by the CICERO Learning Network.

“We’re in a good position. Finnish educational competence is known all around the world, and our materials are in demand,” says Professor Jari Multasilta, Director of the Cicero Learning Network. “We are involved in the Tekes-funded Learning Solutions programme, looking to gather information that can be used for product development. I am eagerly waiting for the results.”

Adds Lukander: “And Rovio is interested in the learning researchers’ observations.”

According to Multasilta, textbooks for school-aged children might also be in demand: “When I visited Stanford University in January, people enthusiastically wondered how they – in California! – could get hold of Finnish mathematics textbooks.”

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Text: Virve Pohjanpalo
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
Translation: Language Services, University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki, digital communications

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