Maker@STEAM community includes several research groups focusing on material and maker culture, design processes and learning, (developing invention pedagogy), learning in digital environments, teaching and learning inter, cross and multidisciplinary topics of biology, chemistry, craft, home economics, mathematics, and physics.

Members of the Maker@STEAM community have several externally funded projects. Projects engage in material and artefact research in cultural context, educational design-based research and teacher-researcher partnership. Research applies advanced data gathering technologies including eye-tracking, experience sampling methods, video observation and experimental research methods. Data are analysed with sophisticated analysis methods such as network analysis.

The members of Maker@STEAM operate in the following research groups and projects.

Craft and craft education

Research in Craft Studies covers broadly different areas of craft, such as:

  • designers and makers of craft products,
  • designing and making processes and product development,
  • machines, tools and materials used in crafts.

Craft Studies is a multidisciplinary field of research. A research object can be approached from a psychological, physiological, social, cultural, economical or technological point of view. Craft studies analyses creative and productive activities of human beings.

Craft Education investigates teaching and learning crafts, and educational systems. Research focuses on teaching and learning skills, interaction and collaboration in craft.

Research themes are:

  • designing and making craft products
  • virtual collaborative designing
  • craft as a cultural activity
  • future of craft
  • craft skills and knowledge
  • teaching and learning crafts

The research group is directed by Professor Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen.

Food, culture and learn­ing

The research group, Food, culture and learning, focuses on subject-didactic questions related to the teaching and learning of home economics within various cultural settings and school levels, ranging from comprehensive school to higher education. We are especially interested in formal teaching and learning situations, such as in the classroom, but also within informal learning environments such as homes or NGOs.

Teachers’ practical mastery of food preparation skills is key for obtaining a high level of professionalism. Without having one’s own foundation of strong practical skills, the home economics teacher will be unable to focus on pedagogical issues within the learning environment, and provide individual support for their students build a safe and equal learning environment where the students feel free to experiment and learn new things. Home economics teachers in higher education must find a balance between cultivating generic skills (i.e., being reflective and critical) and subject-specific skills (i.e., having practical skills and knowledge of sustainable choices in everyday life).

The whole research group has actively promoted national and international research co-operation, participated in discussions on our latest research findings, consulted, and tutored young researchers, as well as organized expert meetings, seminars, and symposiums. The HEED-team, led by university lecturer, PhD Hille Janhonen-Abruquah, is raising important issues related to home economics education: pedagogical themes such as diversity, gender and equality in schools; transnationality, culturally responsive education, and multicultural education in schools are key issues when putting the new Finnish national curriculum into practice.

The research group is directed by Professor Päivi Palojoki.

Read more about this research project in Finnish.

Mul­tiple mo­bile gaze track­ing in so­cial in­ter­ac­tion

The aim of our research is to develop sufficient measures and novel knowledge on the social visual attention in the field of mathematics teaching and learning. Classroom interaction has been explored on macro-level throughout decades. Our purpose is to move on to the micro-level of evidence and broaden the results received with momentary physiological measurements back to the field of educational discourse.

Our research project, MathTrack, is funded by the Academy of Finland and conducted in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. The MathTrack project is a study of classroom interactions, which aims to take into full consideration the complexity of social and embodied processes of learning. We use multiple mobile gaze trackers to study the visual attention of four students and their teacher in realistic classroom settings. Using multiple mobile gaze tracking provides us with a view of how the students’ and teachers’ visual attention shifts in real classrooms.

The research group is directed by Professor Markku Hannula.

STEAM education

STEAM education research group conducts research and development work in both research areas of the Faculty of Educational Sciences, or education, society & culture and learning & interaction, especially in research on teaching, engagement and learning in school science, mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, computer science and technology,  also in the framework of creativity, innovation and sustainable development. The group has many research projects financed by external funding. Many of the projects are conducted in the frame of Design Based Research.

Growing Mind

Cultivating Expertise in Learning of Life Sciences (CELLS)

The major goal of our multidisciplinary research project Cul­tiv­at­ing Ex­pert­ise in Learn­ing of Life Sci­en­ces (CELLS) is to investigate the development of expertise in higher education in context of life sciences. The study focuses on university students' professional development and on university teachers' pedagogical expertise. Various research methods, such as eye-tracking and mixed reality learning environments, are utilized in our studies.

Manager of the project is University Lecturer Ilona Södervik.

Research in digital learning at schools

In the group of Digital Learning at Schools, “digital learning” is understood broad way. We are interested in how digital tools and digitalization change teaching and learning and how teaching and learning can be changed by digital tools. In collaboration with faculty researchers and project partners, we are analyzing the role of digital tools at school and how digital tools can be applied a novel way to engage students to learn to make a contribution. Topics or contexts have been e.g. students’ emotions and interest, science learning, computational thinking, and sustainability inventions.

The group of Digital Learning at Schools' is led by Associate Professor Kalle Juuti.

Materials, artefacts, colour and craft futures

Research is multi- and inter-disciplinary. It focuses broadly on materials, artefacts, colour and craft as such and from the processes point of view. The time scale of research extends from history to the futures perspectives. Sustainability is in the core of the research.

Director of the BioColour project is Docent, University Researcher Riikka Räisänen.