quinta-feira, 30 de abril de 2015

Visiting Valkeakoski Campus

Hi everyone! 

In this post, I’ll share some experience I had visiting Valkeakoski campus. 
HAMK University of Applied Science has 7 campuses, they are: Evo, Hämeenlinna, Lepaa, Mustiala, Forssa, Riihimäki and Valkeakoski. The VET Teachers who are in HAMK are living and studying in Hämeenlinna campus.
Valkeakoski is a town about 30 minutes’ drive from Hämeenlinna, in the southern part of Finland.
Besides Hamk University, we also visited a Valkeakoski Vocational School and Valkeakoski High School there; all of them compose a large campus area, as they are pretty close one another, and share programs, courses, disciplines and physical structure. 

Watch the introductory video: 

HAMK University of Applied Science - Valkeakoski Campus

Valkeakoski campus offers three bachelor degree courses; they are Automation Engineering, International Business (in English) and Electrical and Automation Engineering (in Finish). I’ll highlight some topics that somehow caught my attention:

  • The campus offers some international programs in English. Even Finns sometimes attend the program in English. 
  • HAMK and the other educational institutions share some courses. Students can have triple programs; they study in 3 institutions at the same time. For instance, a high school student can concomitantly take a Vocational Course and also study some disciplines at the university through the Open University System. Of course, that is a big challenge for a student, but it’s possible. 
  •  There are some companies and entrepreneurs using the University facilities. They pay a membership fee and in return they can benefit from students working in their projects, pilot some ideas, offer some training courses etc. ; some even hire students for a part-time job. On the other hand, students can develop actual work life skills and live real entrepreneurial experiences.
Valkeakoski Upper Secondary School
The compulsory education in Finland comprehends up to Grade 9, called secondary school. After that, students may choose to study Upper secondary school, which is equivalent to secondary school in Brazil, or may take Vocational education or even both concomitantly. 
Furthermore, it is also possible for the student who is taking upper secondary school, also take some disciplines in a University of Applied Science through the Open University system.

Valkeakoski Upper Secondary School has a large, bright and functional physical structure which attends all dimensions of learning. Students can get together in different spaces, such as cafeteria, theather, labs, meetings rooms, classrooms etc.

The school takes an acronym - PISA - as its main values, which is for Passion, Involvement, Sociability and Agency. 
All classes are recorded and transmited by Moodle. So, a student who is not there in medical leave, for instance, is able to attend class, or else someone who wants to review class can also take advantage of that practice.

Valkeakoski Vocational School Valkeakoski Vocational Institute offers education focusing on the needs of the economic life in the region. The four sectors of courses offered are: Technology

and Transport; Tourism, Catering and Home Economics; Health and Social Services and Business and Administration. The avarage time each one lasts is 3 years and basic studies, such as such as Mathematics, Finnish, Swedish, English, Civics, Chemistry, Physics, ADP, Arts and Culture and Sports are included in the programme.
We had a presentation from the International Business Course.

Some highlighted topics:

  • The course is organized in projects as opposed to disciplines. Students can develop many projects at the same time.  
  •  Students are prepared to be independent, entrepreneur and autonomous in relation to their own studies. Therefore, skills needed not only for their
    work specifically, but for their own life, are developed as they study.
  • Students can make choices, they choose their projects, plan their self-study program, and develop their own ideas. So the learning process is personalized, as they are surveyed about their interests, their needs and learning objectives.
  • Students learn work life skills and practice them as much as they can. That happens when they present some project ideas to the market (which may sponsor their projects if they can get any benefit from them) – they organize fairs, create marketing campaign, sell solutions, create products and services etc. They are responsible for the whole process, from the beginning to the delivery of the product/service and the post-project satisfaction survey, thus they experience real work life. 

  • The teacher is not someone who tells the student what to do, but instead, guides and coaches. 

  • Competence-based assessment.
  • The assessment is carried out through the Vocational Skills Demonstration. Students work in real companies and are assessed in real situations.
  • The assessment instruments and processes are mainly: a lot of different kinds of self-assessment, digital learning diary, hands-on activities, rubrics (skills required) etc.

 More information click on: http://www.valkeakoskicampus.fi/en/


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