Please introduce yourself and where you work.

I’m Ulla-Maaria Koivula, the founder and CEO of interactive image platform ThingLink that helps build visual learning environments in the cloud.

What about education or edtech do you think is: a) overlooked b) gets too little attention?

More than attention, education needs enough funding. It’s the most important investment we can make in the stability of our democratic system. Edtech is the tool and infrastructure angle to education, which is also important, but it should not get more attention than making sure we have enough qualified teachers and that they are fairly compensated for their work.

What’s the biggest learning-related challenge you have had at work? How have you approached/solved the challenge?

Building a company from scratch means you need to learn new things every day, and that you need to maintain the ability to learn as you gain more experience. I personally learn most from our educators and users in the ThingLink community, that’s why I feel it’s important to be present in our community group.

One important theme in learning is assessment and how it should be done. What’s your take on it? When and how assessment should be used in your opinion?

Assessment relates to the question of data; its collection, use, and ownership. Data should help the students reflect their own learning, and learners should own their data.

What is the biggest learning related challenge to solve in the next five years? Do we have the tools to solve it?

Globally, our biggest problem is lack of qualified teachers. We don’t yet have the tools to solve this, but we have ideas how we can help.

What can the world learn from Finnish learning expertise in solving future challenges? And what can Finnish education learn from others?

Some elements that make up the Finnish education system are attractive to other countries. Example of this is Finnish teacher education, and the inbuilt autonomy for teachers to improve educational practices locally through research. There are hundreds of interesting innovative practices in education across the world. The challenge is both to find them and to find the time to apply them in your own work.

If you had a magic wand that could make everyone learn 3 skills, what would those skills be? Why?

  • The skill of listening to others – for building empathy in all relationships
  • The skill of being a happy vegetarian – for cutting down carbon emissions and ending the cruelty of industrial meat production.
  • The skill of making music – for having a creative channel for self-expression

Ulla-Maaria Koivula

Ulla-Maaria Koivula is the founder and CEO of interactive image platform ThingLink that helps build visual learning environments in the cloud.

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