French–Finnish School of Helsinki

Heroes of the school world moved to distance learning with agility

Le Lycée franco-finlandais d’Helsinki – the French–Finnish School of Helsinki – chose a solution implemented by Enter when they wished to automate the data processing at the school. The value of the Ruutuvihko application and the O365 platform was put to the test in spring 2020, with schoolwork quickly becoming distance learning under the unprecedented circumstances.

The French–Finnish School of Helsinki, HRSK, is a state language school, which makes the school a different organisation than municipal educational institutions. There are three state language schools in Helsinki, all of which use the ICT services produced by the Government ICT Centre Valtori.

“The position of the school under the state administration also results in many special needs when it comes to information technology solutions and developing them. For example, we have had to solve how to define pupil in the systems, as they cannot be classified as a state employee,” says HRSK rector Kari Kivinen.

Ruutuvihko as an information management solution

A little over a year ago, HRSK wanted to automate the data processing of the entire coeducational school’s teaching using cloud services.

“After lengthy negotiations, we opted for the Ruutuvihko application provided by Enter, and an Office 365 platform was created for the teachers and pupils. In spring 2019, all pupils and groups had been taken to the cloud, and the teachers were able to communicate and assign tasks using the Teams platform in Office 365. In addition, the staff were trained on using the system so that the benefits of the application could be maximised,” Kivinen reports.

Enter took care of the interfaces

Kivinen views Enter’s role as an important one, as Valtori’s IT solutions were connected with the other applications.

“The project combined Microsoft’s platform, Valtori’s technology and Primus databases into one natural entity. Enter took care of the interfaces of Wilma and Primus with Valtori services,” he says.

With Ruutuvihko, the data processing of the learning environment from the Primus database to the cloud services is very straightforward.

“With information updated automatically in cloud services, we are saving hours of work. At the same time, teaching and learning are no longer connected to the classroom, as everyone is able to log into the system with their own account from any place, for example home,” Kivinen adds.

Applications helping also during crisis

In spring 2020, just before the lockdown brought about by COVID-19, the school’s information systems were literally baptised by fire, as a destructive fire damaged almost all the school premises. Fortunately, there were no casualties, but the teachers and pupils had to adopt distance-learning from the beginning of March.

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“Our challenging situation was, in a sense, also fortunate. Ruutuvihko and the Office 365 platform had already been used by us for about a year, which, from the very beginning, enabled us to telecommute and continue studying. In our evacuation premises, we could even successfully complete the matriculation examinations, which started the week following the fire and during which the clean-up at the school following the fire was only starting,” Kivinen notes.

Tools and expertise for distance learning

As the COVID-19 pandemic closed all schools in Finland, HRSK had already learned the practices of working remotely, and teaching continued at full power.

“Both the pupils and the teachers had a very clear understanding in the situation, and our systems were working flawlessly. The pupils were accustomed to distance learning, and the teachers performed magnificently. Adversities and changes did not stop the learning, but with good team spirit, we quickly adapted to the new ways and technologies,” Kivinen happily explains.

The school has coped with the challenging spring and is now looking at a renovation and building additional spaces.

“A well-working IT system and up-to-date information management in the school environment contribute to learning being possible anywhere, regardless of the place. Thanks to the applications, we have also been able to support our school’s communality during the lockdown. The channels work excellently in both teaching and communication,” Kivinen says.

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