A4 Conference proceedings

All-inclusive outreach - A long-term co-operation process between a Finnish mid-sized university and a mid-sized town (Work in Progress)

Open Access publication

Publication Details
Authors: Naukkarinen Johanna, Koikkalainen Kati
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Title of parent publication: 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access
Journal acronym: ASEE Annual Conference
ISSN: 2153-5965
eISSN: 2153-5868
JUFO-Level of this publication: 1
Permanent website address: https://peer.asee.org/35522
Open Access: Open Access publication


The paper introduces ongoing cooperation between a Finnish university
and the school authorities of a local town. The work started in 2017 as a
project in which the educational activities carried out by university
staff and students were systematically built into the curricula of all
the school levels from preschool to high school in the town. The
objective of the cooperation is to increase all the children's interest
in science, technology, research, and sustainable business, develop
their skills for academic studies, and enhance their opportunities to
build a sustainable future. The activities also aim at engaging
children’s families to promote sustainability in their home city.
The planning of the scheme was carried out in workshops involving both
university staff and school teachers from different levels. It resulted
in a set of activities for all the preschoolers, 3rd, 5th, and 8th
graders, and secondary high school students in the topic areas of clean
energy, clean water, circular economy, sustainable business and
entrepreneurship, and sustainable living. The topics arise from the
University's research areas. The activities were piloted in the academic
year of 2018–19, and the whole cooperation program has been under way
from the autumn 2019 onwards. The work is not regarded as a development
project but a permanent form of cooperation, which is an integral part
of the curricula of all the schools.
To evaluate the effects of the educational activities on children's
thinking, a survey on conceptions of and attitudes towards science,
technology, sustainability, and entrepreneurship was devised based on
published instruments such as PATT and ROSE questionnaires, complemented
by some new questions. The first version of the survey was administered
to the ninth graders in May 2019. The collected data will be used
primarily for developing (and shortening) the survey, but the data may,
to some extent, also serve as baseline data as the respondents of this
first round had not been exposed to any of the cooperation activities.
The developed survey will be administered yearly to all the ninth grade
students in the town to monitor possible changes in the mindset and
educational aspirations of the children.
The paper describes the planning and implementation process of the
cooperation as well as the actual activities in schools in more detail
and discusses the implications of the cooperation for both the
university and the municipality so far. The survey to monitor the
students’ thinking and its intended use in the future will also be

Last updated on 2020-13-07 at 14:43