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WIP: All-inclusive Outreach: A Long-term Cooperation Process Between a Finnish Mid-sized University and a Mid-sized Town

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Technical Session 8

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Johanna Kristiina Naukkarinen Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Johanna Naukkarinen received her M.Sc. degree in chemical engineering from Helsinki University of Technology in 2001, her D.Sc. (Tech) degree in knowledge management from Tampere University of Technology in 2015, and her professional teacher qualification from Tampere University of Applied sciences in 2013. She is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher and project manager with the School of Energy Systems at Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT with main research interests related to technology and society, gender diversity and engineering education.

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Kati Maarit Koikkalainen Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology

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Coordinator of LUT Junior Univeristy, since 2017. Before that worked as an educational coordinator, Degree Programmeof Environmental Techlogy and as an environmental manager of LUT University. Education: Master's degree in Energy and Environmental Technology. Qualification of a vocational teacher.

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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 presented.

Naukkarinen, J. K., & Koikkalainen, K. M. (2020, June), WIP: All-inclusive Outreach: A Long-term Cooperation Process Between a Finnish Mid-sized University and a Mid-sized Town Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35522

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