About the Project
This project is one of the 2014 WISE Awards winners.
Me & MyCity is a learning concept on entrepreneurship, the economy and society for sixth-grade pupils (12 to 13 years of age). The Me & MyCity study module includes training for teachers, learning materials based on the national curriculum and a visit to the MyCity learning environment. The MyCity learning environment is a 500-square-meter miniature town built with movable wall elements.
The MyCity learning environment includes business premises for 15 companies and has its own banking system. For one day, the visiting pupils work in a profession, earn a salary and act as consumers and members of their own society. Each regional MyCity reflects the features of local business life. Me & MyCity is a unique concept in entrepreneurship education based on the Finnish curriculum. It already reaches half of Finland’s sixth graders, i.e. over 30,000 pupils in a year. In addition, the project involves teachers, university students and companies.
Context and Issue
Like many societies, Finland has faced a challenge in youth employability and young people’s financial literacy. The number of socially excluded youth has increased. Simultaneously, Finnish business life is facing a skills gap as many members of the workforce retire in the coming years. Businesses will have difficulty finding people with the right kinds of skills. Pupils in schools are suffering from lack of motivation because school subjects are only weakly linked to outside realities of society.
Me & MyCity aims to provide young people with much-needed 21st-century skills. The study module links the school subjects to real life through an innovative learning method.
The Solution and Impact
The Me & MyCity learning concept is a unique curriculum-based study module to introduce the themes of entrepreneurship, the economy and society in elementary school. It already provides half of Finland’s sixth-graders with insight into these issues. The MyCity learning environment is a 500-square-meter miniature town and a roleplay which includes premises for 15 companies. The pupils are extremely motivated: after studying the themes in theory they experience them in a simulated society. Built of mobile wall elements, the MyCity learning environment can reach pupils in all parts of the country. Partnerships with real companies ensure that the roleplay is comparable to the real world.
The mobile wall elements of MyCity and the flexible pedagogical script means that MyCity can be introduced in different regions while also responding to local business life in different parts of the country. The 70 professions of the pupils always reflect the actual employers’ needs in the area. The economy in the miniature society is simulated by MyCity’s own banking system and IT plays a key role in learning: sales, purchases and salaries are updated in real time in the virtual banking system. The Me&MyCity study module and learning materials offer a new way of learning: they integrate different school subjects with each other in a new manner and link them to real-world phenomena.
Me & MyCity has generated media discussion of young people’s employability skills and activated hundreds of different organizations to develop the school system. The impact in schools is obvious: the sixth-graders go through 10 lessons about society, the economy and business and eventually, spend a day in the MyCity learning environment. According to feedback, the pupils learn financial skills and working-life skills during the study module. Teachers receive additional training in the field of entrepreneurship education and the economy. University students serving as mentors learn about team leadership. For companies, MyCity is an arena for Corporate Social Responsibility work and a way to be involved in school system development.
In the next two years, the objective of Me & MyCity is to reach 100 percent of Finnish sixth graders (60,000 pupils in a year). In order to reach the goal, new MyCity learning environments will be launched and thus additional funding from companies and other stakeholders is needed.
Me & MyCity aims at having a permanent foothold in the sphere of basic education and in the elementary school curriculum. The learning concept will be developed to be suitable for different learners as well as for older pupils. In addition, Me & MyCity will be transformed into an international learning concept that can be realized in different cultures and societies.
In order to reach 100 percent of pupils, four new MyCities will be launched in different parts of Finland. New regional MyCities can be realized by finding new partnerships around the country and by developing new regional models for the concept.
The Me & MyCity team will be actively involved in the renewal of the national curriculum. The teacher training, learning materials and learning environment are constantly developed by following curriculum developments and working together with partner companies.
The international Me & MyCity concept is developed by actively participating in international education summits and by cooperating with education experts worldwide.