Finnish educational development company SCOOL picks up $1 million from SanomaVentures

    With the brand of Finnish education so strong, it makes sense that a team will try to spin out educational concepts from Finland and test them around the world. That’s the concept around SCOOL, a startup that works more as a production company to test out evidence-based learning concepts. Behind SCOOL are Saku Tuominen and Juha Tynkkynen, two well known Finnish TV producers as well as Pekka Viljakainen, “the father of Finnish online banking.” The company has now raised $1 million led by SanomaVentures.

    “Our mission is to bring the outside world into the classroom. We help schools change by creating innovative concepts that enhance creativity, curiosity and co-operation” says Saku Tuominen, creative director of SCOOL. “We test these concepts in Finland, which has one of the best performing educational systems in the world, and then scale them up globally”.

    So far SCOOL has spun out two programs, Campus and Dreamdo Schools, and plans to test out two more concepts in the coming months.

    Looking at their existing programs, Campus is a filmed event series that helps teachers understand how the world is changing outside of school, including topics like climate, robotics, Ebola, and the economy. Seminars for Campus have begun in Finland and Poland, and are expanding to Atlanta, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Vilnius this year.

    But looking more on the tech side, Dreamdo schools is and extension of the digital platform, Dreamdo, but focused on students. As a product Dreamdo helps classes commit to student-led projects within one semester and to share their process with the world. Browsing the platform you can see initiatives like students in the Philipines campaigning for waste reduction, or Finnish students promoting kindness and joy. The web itself helps build awareness, while for the classroom teachers can download materials like a handbook or “dream boards” or “do boards” to brainstorm out concepts with the help of their students.

    “Our goal is to create a global network of forerunner teachers and then serve them well with innovative, well-tested and fresh ideas,” says Tuominen.