China-Finland Co-creating New Solutions for Education and Health seminar in Beijing, China, 9th October 2017

UniPID - Finnish University Partnership for International Development / FinCEAL Plus and China - Finland Strategic ICT Alliance and Beijing Normal University - Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute (JoLII) organized a high-level, bi-regional research seminar focusing on Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation in Health and Education in Beijing, China 9th October 2017 and related visits on 10th October as part of the minister of education and science of Finland visit to China.

China – Finland bi-regional research seminar focusing on Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation in Health and Education was held on October 9th in Beijing, China. The high level even was co-organized by UniPID – FinCEAL Plus with China – Finland Strategic ICT Alliance and Beijing Normal University – JoLII. The event was supported by Team Finland and Finnish Ministery of Education and Culture, and the Embassy of Finland in Beijing, China as well as other relevant entities from China and Finland.

The half day seminar gathered together over 70 experts on experts from academia (including young scientists and experienced researchers), industry (including business developers, innovators and investors) as well as Government representatives and other stakeholders from China and Finland to present and discuss about new approaches and technologies in education and about the role of learning in addressing 21st century challenges such as ageing society and healthcare. The goal of the seminar was to provide a platform for developing concrete joint innovation and research cooperation initiatives.



The seminar welcome speech was given by Ms. Tarja Kangaskorte, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Finland in Beijing and the seminar was opened by the Vice President of Beijing Normal University, Professor CHEN Li.

The first session, New Approaches and Technologies for 21st Century Education was opened by Professor Hannele Nieme from the University of Helsinki and Professor Jari Multisilta, the director of the University Consortium of Pori. They gave a speech about digital storytelling and 21st century learning skills, and how do the digital story-telling and digital pen promote students’ learning processes and inspire creativity, co-creation and global collaboration including suggestions and recommendations for future schools in Finland and China.



The second speaker, Professor YU Shengquan, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Education and the Director of Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Education from the Beijing Normal University talked about Artificial Intelligence in Education. Professor Yu introduced the AI Tutor Project and talked about automated question generation & scoring, recognition and diagnosis of learning obstacles and feedback in time, problem solving ability assessment, personal traits evaluations, fitness monitoring, smart learning partner, recommended learning resources based on knowledge map, intelligent tutoring and learning space etc. and also some project examples related to these were given.



The first session was ended by a speech from Professor Eero Ropo from the University of Tampere (Finland) about Finnish Teacher Education. Professor Ropo talked about main challenges of the Finnish educational reform including how to educate high quality teachers for the future, how to improve the quality of teaching and learning process on a local level and individual schools, and how to create national level capacity for evidence-based school improvement at different levels.



After the break the seminar continued with a second session "Education Helping to Address 21st Century Challenges” and Mr. Allan Schneitz from LifeLearnPlatform, Finland and Mr. XIAO Dun from Yi Qi Zuo, China both talked about Digital Transformation of Education and Learning Delivery. Mr. Schneitz talked about LifeLearn Focus and engagement:challenge of rewarding micro actions with difficult or unwelcome topics, "my nation vs. the future with AI”, learning communities around skills, authentic learning, mobile learning, social media learning etc. Mr. XIAO stated that the learning should be made beautiful in the digital era, and that it should be interesting, individualized and interactive. As a case study Shanghai Jinri School Teacher Ni Jiaqing’s experiment was shown and related AI and Edutech topics were discussed.



The session continued with speeches from Mr. Peter Vesterbacka from Lightneer, Finland, Ms. Jie SANG, TV producer, Social Journalist, China and Dr. Jaana-Maija Koivisto, CEO, Practigame & Tampere University of Technology, Finland about "Games for Education and Training”. Mr. Vesterbacka introduced their exciting fun learning game Big Bang Legends and Ms. SANG discussed about the most successful scientific TV show in China the "Super Brain” she has developed, with its challenges (interesting, fun and stimulating) and the positive impact to the students. Dr. Jaana-Maija Koivisto then introduced their Healthcare Education gaming application and dicussed about motivational affordance, psychological and behavioral outcomes of gamifying learning and benefits of her healthcare education gaming application.



The fifth speaker Professor WANG Dahua from the Beijing Normal University discussed about the role of learning in active ageing including what are the age-related declines in cognitive functions. Professor Wang discussed about that can older people's intelligence get improved by training and about the learning ability of the elderly with several examples. In addition learning in community practice and some examples of learning devices for older people were discussed.

The last speaker of the session, Dr. Matti Hämäläinen from Nightingale Health & China-Finland Strategic ICT Alliance, Finland gave a talk about the role of learning in personalized health and wellbeing. Dr. Hämäläinen discussed about the determinants of health, sources of health data, effect of physical exercise and tools for moving from science to clinical practice and everyday life health & wellbeing and how personalized medicine meets personalized learning. He also gave examples how China-Finland collaboration in joint research, education and innovation in precision medicine, translational medicine and exercise medicine is moving forward.


The last part of the seminar included three high level talks from the Counsellor of Education and Science at the Embassy of Finland in Beijing, Dr. Mika Tirronen giving a talk about Sino-Finnish Learning Garden – the platform for join research & innovation in education, remarks on China-Finland Science, Education and Innovation Cooperation from the Finland’s ambassador to China, Mr. Jarno Syrjälä, and finally an inspiring talk from the Minister of Education and Science of Finland, Ms. Sanni Grahn-Laasonen about China-Finland – Co-creating Future of Education and Health.

The sessions were followed by a panel discussion where experts from academia and industry discussed about concrete areas of cross-cutting themes for collaboration between China and Finland in the scope of digital solutions for health and education. The panelists were Professor LIU Jia from the Beijing Normal University, China Professor ZHU Qifeng, the CEO of Qingrui International Education Group, China, Professor Petri Ihantola From Tampere University of Technology, Finland and Ms. Milla Kokko, CEO, from HEI Schools, Finland. The panel was moderated by Jari Multisilta from the University Consortium of Pori, Finland.

The panel started with introductions and discussion about some case studies. As Professor LIU had extensive experience from research on psychology and cognitive neuroscience he gave some examples examples how he sees the results and findings from cognitive neuroscience will change the traditional ways of education and he also discussed where China and Finland could collaborate in creating new solutions for the whole world. Professor Liu gave 3 factors for cooperation: 1)Researchers could jointly study the new ways ideas of learning by making studies of brain functionality by tracking nerve connections with e.g. MRI-type brain imaging methods, 2) Student evaluations with some new type of instruments could be developed (e.g. mathematic equations as an example in learning), and 3)Collaborations in evaluating individual differences between students how they perform in differencent school subjects. Even young kids aged at 1-2 years old could be put into a scanner that tracks spontaneous neural acitivity of the brain to evaluate how good they are in each skills.
Professor Liu also stated that the brain based education and brain sciences can be involved as China has a wide range of population as test subjects and Finland has developed good applications for these kinds of studies.

Professor Ihantola, taking into account Finland’s wide experience & knowledge in ICT and software engineering identified some specific areas of cooperation between China and Finland where the competences would complement each other and that would be the ideal areas for cooperation. Professor Ihantola stated that the key thing is to find good collaborative people, especially we would need more student collaboration. In China there is more holistic approach, and in Finland good work has been done in understanding small details, especially in non-intrusive data collection, basically by combining intrusive approaches in China and (e.g. by brain imaging) and use that information in machine learning by using non-intrusive methods. In that way could we predict the same that China is having by current intrusive methods, by these non-intrusive methods. Professor Ihantola also stated that the ways of collecting the data would be by looking typing patterns, or how user uses a mouse etc. He also pointed that a lot of learning data is needed so there is a good space for collaboration there.

Professor Ihantola also mentioned other joint research collaboration examples such as the anonymization of the learning data for studies.

Professor ZHU, having created a successful business in language education discussed about the opportunities of Finnish companies entering the China education market together with a local partner. He also discussed about that what could be the first prospective market segments (e.g. K-12, after school, vocational, skills training) and the first regions targeted. In addition he dicussed about the opportunities for Chinese and Finnish companies tapping into global market together and structuring such cooperation. Professor Zhu stated that Finland has one the best education systems in the world so there would be a lot of potential for collaboration in innovations in education and learning.

Mrs. Kokko, as the CEO of the HEI Schools and as an expert of Finland’s early childhood education, back up by the brand of Finland with its best in the world education system discussed how she has experienced the start of their business in China and how China and Finland could scale her concept or any other education solutions together worldwide. Mrs. Kokko also stated that the Finnish educational model they use in the HEI Schools is based on top quality ongoing research.

After the panel session the day concluded with Signing Ceremonies and a China-Finalnd Evening reception joint networking cocktails hosted by the Embassy of Finland in Beijing offering a more informal networking opportunities for experts from both regions.

On 10th of October the FinCEAL Plus delegation had an opportunity to visit Beijing Normal University with the delegation of the Minister of Education and Science of Finland and join Showcase of the Sino-Finnish Cooperation at Beijing Normal University hosted by the Advanced Innovation Centre for Future Education – AICFE. Along with the Signing Ceremonies the FinCEAL Plus delegation had an opportunity to discuss about collaboration possibilities between Finnish Universities and Beijing Normal University during the AI Driven Future Teach Round Table seminar session.

UniPID-FinCEAL Plus warmly thanks the China-Finland Strategic ICT Alliance and Beijing Normal University Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute (JoLII) for co-organizing the event and the Embassy of Finland in Beijing for the support in organizing the events and the evening reception.Special thanks also goes to Team Finland for their support, and all the speakers, panelists and participants for their active engagement. We hope that the event has managed to create links that enable more cooperation between our countries and regions in the near future.

Download the full programme of the seminar.

Photos:Martin Suski and Jarkko Mutanen.