Collaborative Science Education at the University of Helsinki since 2003: New solutions and pedagogical innovations for teaching from early childhood education to universities

In 2018, the University of Helsinki science education will celebrate its 15th anniversary in many different ways. Today a book about research-based science education and its best solutions and pedagogical innovations will be published in English. The book is edited by the director of the Science Education Centre, professor Maija Aksela, the deputy director, professor Juha Oikkonen and general coordinator Julia Halonen. In addition to the editors, 24 authors contributed to the collective writing of the book. The authors are mainly members of the Steering Group of the Centre and field-specific coordinators or researchers involved in the projects.

The aim of science education is to strengthen the science competences. All branches of science belong to this division. By 2020, Finland aims to be one of the leading countries in science education. It is important to encourage children and youth to explore various branches of science, both in and outside of school. Science education is also an important part of universities’ social role. The development and strengthening of science education is a current topic and is important to society.

At the University of Helsinki, science education is a part of societal interaction as well as research and teaching. It supports the university’s strategic areas of focus in a versatile way. The Science Education Centre aims at acting as a global impactor and a pioneer and also a producer of new solutions and pedagogical innovations from early childhood education to universities. One important aim of science education is to promote sustainable development such as climate education, that follows the university’s strategy. Research on science education creates a basis for the development and strengthening of science competences. New, meaningful solutions and pedagogical innovations are needed in order to strengthen the science skills of youth and encourage them towards various sciences, as they are the makers of the future. Hands-on science education is a key to uniting different generations.

The book has 8 chapters (more than a hundred pages) showing the multidisciplinary and communal science education activities and research of the University of Helsinki since 2003. The book introduces new solutions and pedagogical innovations developed in the Center's work, key publications and theses, ongoing projects and future plans. There are examples in particular in the field of science education in the humanities, mathematics and sciences, and the best multidisciplinary solutions.

It is hoped that the book will be widely used in various science education activities and in teacher training. It is published both in printed and online in Finnish and English.