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Annemari Kuhmonen
Jesse Pehu
Veera Toivonen
Maija Huhta

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A model for an ever-developing school

Strong Together – Evolving School

Hyvinkää, Finland
In this innovation the students improve their school together with the rest of the school community. The focus is on learning and school satisfaction using a game. Everybody is involved: students, guardians and the teaching staff.
Introduction

What is it all about?

“The method suits any school or classroom around the world. The best part is that it engages everyone connected to the school, especially the students”

- Jesse Pehu, principal, Hyvinkää

Today, the whole world is talking about improving schools – both the learning results as well as school satisfaction. The changes and improvement efforts can start from many different levels. Often, however, the order follows a top-to-bottom model that ignores the students that are, after all, at the heart of the changes and improvements.

Learning at school is aimed primarily at the students and school satisfaction plays a significant role in learning motivation. Any school improvement effort should enable student participation in every stage of the development – brainstorming, piloting, execution and reflecting.

The Evolving School innovation strides to improve schools by putting the students first, focusing on learning and school satisfaction.

The innovation engages the teaching staff and parents to improve the school together with the students. This is achieved through a game called “Let's Improve Learning Together.”

The game has seven stages:

1. Preparations
2. Official kick-off
3. Brainstorming
4. Elimination round for the ideas in the classroom
5. Elimination round with the teachers
6. Elimination round with the parents, and
7. Presenting the ideas to the board.

The stages culminate in three ideas with the most potential. The game ends in an award ceremony for the winning ideas.

The goal is to collect concrete ideas for improvement and implement them. The innovation also aims to get the students thinking about learning and how to improve it, as well as take charge of their own learning. The innovation provides a chance for the teachers to make their instruction more effective for all learners. They also get an insight into their students' thoughts about learning and school satisfaction.

The model for continual improvement and the accompanying game was created during the 2016–2017 school year. A team of project management students at Laurea University of Applied Sciences developed the prototype for the model in the fall of 2016. They cooperated with the Puolimatka School's students and teachers and used methods from service design. The finished product was piloted in the spring of 2017. It was organized by the Laurea student team with the principal and teacher coordinators of Puolimatka School.

The following eleven steps introduce the stages of the game and provide the material needed.

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Innovation Overview
6 - 16
Age Group
-
Children/Users
1
Country
2017
Established
-
Organisation
520
Views
Tips for implementation
The principal and two committed teacher coordinators, time to plan the project and orientate the staff and students.
Connect with innovator
Annemari Kuhmonen
Jesse Pehu
Veera Toivonen
Maija Huhta
HundrED Review
Innovativeness

Everyone improves the school, learning and school satisfaction – together.

Impact

The innovation engages everyone connected to the school. Especially students get to participate in improving the education and school satisfaction.

Scalability

The method can be implemented in any school or classroom around the globe.

Media

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Milestones

Achievements & Awards

Map

Spread of the innovation

Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Roles
Improving a school requires the commitment of different school operators. Teachers, students, parents and the school board all have a role in the game “Let's Improve Learning Together” and ultimately the improvement process of the school.
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02
Introducing the game
The game is a process and everything learnt during the journey is a meaningful part of the big picture. You should note that you must follow the guidelines precisely in order to achieve concrete results. This requires logical progression in the game.
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03
Kick-off
In a school assembly, the principal should hold a launch speech and start the game. The speech should include when and where the winners will be announced and what the prize is. This motivates the students to participate.
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04
Brainstorming in class
The lesson is approximately 45 minutes.
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05
Stage one: Elimination round in the classroom
The lesson is approximately 45 minutes.
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06
Stage two: Elimination round with the teachers
All ideas will be up in the teachers lounge so the teachers can read them. If your school is a comprehensive school, you should separate elementary school ideas from the junior high school ones.
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