How Norway and Finland Built Innovative, Trusted Educational Environments

New Report from CoSN’s Recent Senior Delegation Offers Lessons Learned for U.S. Educators
Monday, March 18, 2019
CoSN today published a new report titled, Systems Built on Trust, revealing key lessons learned from the association’s recent senior leadership delegation to Norway and Finland. 
 
Comprising school technology leaders and experts, the group visited classrooms and met with government officials, local leaders and educators in both countries to explore their innovative policies, practices and achievements. The group found that a major component of education success in Norway and Finland was their strong systems of trust — among students, parents, teachers, administrators and government representatives.
 
“Visiting Norway and Finland provided an up-close look at how both countries are improving teaching and learning from early childhood through post-secondary education. They are using technology effectively while making investments in the individual teacher and student. We hope our colleagues in the United States will glean from our lessons learned in our commitment to grow engaging learning environments,” said Tom Ryan, CEO, eLearn Institute, and Chair of CoSN’s Board of Directors. 
 
Major takeaways from the trip revealed in Systems Built on Trust include: 
 
  • Return the locus of control to teachers. Teachers are most effective when they are responsible for making decisions in their own classrooms.
  • Consider a shift in the use of assessments. Emphasize formative assessment and the use of data in real-time.
  • Invest in early childhood education. Strong, universal preschool programs allow all children to start school with pre-requisite skills, preventing students from falling behind and having to catch up with their peers.
  • Cultivate the skills and mindsets for lifelong learning. Focusing on lifelong skills like collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving enables success in a rapidly changing world.
  • Invest in developing student agency. Place the responsibility to thrive in the hands of the students. 
“The delegation was impressed to see how trust and responsibility permeate the education systems in Norway and Finland. These dual concepts play out for students, for teachers and schools, and for both local and national government agencies. We were inspired by the examples seen in schools and in our discussions with educators and policymakers,” said Irene Spero, Chief External Relations Officer, CoSN. “It is our hope that Systems Built on Trust will be a valuable, informative and inspirational resource for North American policymakers and educators as they continue their educational transformation.”
 
The educational exchange continues CoSN’s long-standing commitment to international learning and leadership. Over the past 17 years, CoSN has led delegations to New Zealand (2017), Ireland (2016), India (2015), Singapore (2015), Portugal (2013), London and Paris (2011), South America (2011), Scotland and the Netherlands (2009), Scandinavia (2007), Australia (2004), and the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Germany (2002).
 
For details on activities that took place during the trip, please visit the delegation blog. Learn more about CoSN’s commitment to global leadership here.
 
The CoSN delegation to Norway and Finland, as well as the report following their trip, are made possible through the generous support of lead sponsor HP, with additional support from 3DBear, Inc.