The University of Turku (UTU) is Finland´s second largest multidisciplinary university, with over 20,000 students and more than 3,300 staff members (8.8% international; 58.9% female). It is counted among the top 1% in an international ranking of 20,000 universities and is ranked as third best university in Finland (QS Ranking 2015).
In its strategy for 2016-2020, the University of Turku recognizes six areas of strength in research. The Faculty of Education is central in one of these six areas: Children, young people and learning. The largest department in the Faculty of Education is the Department of Teacher Education. The Department of Teacher Education is one of the five institutes for educating school teachers in Finland and has two campuses (Turku and Rauma), each with their own training school. The department provides theory-embedded, discipline-based education of high quality with the ultimate goal of educating future teachers whose personal educational philosophy consists of a solid theoretical foundation, rigorous expertise, resourcefulness and critical reflection skills. Every year over 200 students obtain a master degree from the department that gives them a teacher qualification.
The Educational Technology Research Group at the Department of Teacher Education combines fundamental and applied research in the context of computer supported inquiry learning. It has received continuous funding from the Academy of Finland (SULESLO, CoSiLab, DisMile, ComboLab) and also participated in European projects (Ark of Inquiry, Robotics for Schools, Celebrate, Carditis, Ernist). Members of the group have been training both university staff and in- and pre-service teachers on digitalized teaching and learning and have been responsible for the curriculum design as well as for the development of the Digi-ERKO, a new special national in-service teacher training program to train expert teachers on these topics.
In Next-Lab, the University of Turku acts as a National Expertise Center in Finland, promoting the project and training and supporting teachers in the use of the Sharing and Authoring Platform.