Upper secondary school and university learn together

12.08.2016

A school solution innovated at Aalto University will bring upper secondary school to Otaniemi campus.

Haukilahti students Roope Maaranta (left), Petra Poimaa ja Alarik Rantala examining the new premises in Otaniemi. The Laine building was previously used by Aalto University's Forest Products Technology. Photo: Taru Turpeinen / Espoo city

This autumn, Aalto University's Otaniemi campus will receive new actors, as the 350 students from Haukilahti Upper Secondary School, Espoo will start their studies at the campus. The upper secondary school will interact closely with the students and faculty of the university. The students from the upper secondary school will share with the university facilities in a number of different buildings in addition to their hub, a building called Laine.

School as a service is a progressive innovation

The novel school solution originates from a research and development project related to service architecture for teaching which was led by Professor Jarmo Suominen, Aalto University Department of Architecture. The idea was refined in multidisciplinary courses held in Espoo, London and Shanghai. The City of Espoo became excited about the concept developing swing schools and decided to test the operations starting this autumn.

Vice President Antti Ahlava has been in charge of the cooperation project at Aalto.
- School as a service is a new, progressive idea which entails perceiving the school as a platform that supports learning. In this concept, the school's activities and physical structure are separated. Dividing the activities in this neighbourhood supports the pedagogical objectives for social and theme-based learning and makes upper secondary school a natural part of the university campus and its culture, Ahlava describes.

- A participatory method was used in designing the concept: both future users as well as students and experts from Aalto have been involved. The Royal College of Arts, London and its service designers also participated in the project, Ahlava continues.

Unique learning experiences

An important aim of the university is to educate game changers for building an innovative society.
- It is fantastic to engage students of upper secondary school age in our activities. This kind of interaction, creating together and diverse learning environments produce new ideas and unique learning experiences for both parties involved, explains Vice President Eero Eloranta, who is in charge of education at Aalto University.

Aalto University also directs and inspires activities in a novel developer community of companies and the city whose purpose is to develop the service architecture for organising teaching and utilising the experiences gathered from this project.

The campus is renewing in multiple ways

The university has a lot of plans for developing Otaniemi campus. According to Antti Ahlava, Haukilahti Upper Secondary School fits the vision of the campus perfectly.
- We are building Otaniemi into a campus of the future and a living environment for research, innovations, learning and art. We are bringing lives closer, introducing our partners into the university and experimenting with imaginative operational solutions and space sharing, Ahlava explains.

Read more:
A new kind of learning environmentHaukilahti Upper Secondary School moves to the Aalto University Campus (espoo.fi)