University of Helsinki


Project highlights:

Digital mediation of children’s interactions with the more than human world

Contemporary society is saturated with digital devices that are transforming children’s play activities, their social relationships and their interactions with the “natural” world. This project investigates how children deploy digital devices to interact with the “natural” world and how this influences their literate practices, emotional engagement and identities. These issues are investigated longitudinally across countries, Australia and Finland, and in relation to key contextual issues of social class, material conditions, and pedagogical approach. Through a children’s learning commission on how to use digital devices sustainably, children become researchers of how to mitigate the effects of human activity on the “natural” world. Researchers: Kristiina Kumpulainen, Peter Renshaw (University of Queensland), Ron Tooth (University of Queensland), Chin Chin Wong, Jenny Byman and Jenny Renlund

DigiChild – Nordic Research Network on Digitalising Childhood

Digitalising Childhoods workshop program involves a network of five universities in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland and aims to increase cutting-edge research knowledge of the potentials and pressing issues of digitalisation on children’s (aged 0-18 years) participation, learning, and wellbeing in Nordic societies and beyond.

More information:

MOI – The Joy of Learning Multiliteracies research and development programme

The Joy of Learning Multiliteracies (MOI) programme is designed to promote multiliteracy among children aged 0-8. MOI entails professional development and collaboration among professionals working in early childhood education, pre-school and the initial stages of primary education (years 1 and 2 of Finnish compulsory schooling), as well as in the library and cultural sector.
More information:

Co­CuCo: Con­sti­tut­ing Cul­tures of Com­pas­sion in Early Child­hood Edu­ca­tion

CoCuCo research project funded by the Academy of Finland (2016-2020) studies constitution of compassion in early childhood settings. We study compassion as a socioculturally mediated activity in two cultural contexts, in preschools in Finland and in Singapore. Studying compassion in naturalistic social interactions we are likely to yield informative cultural differences in compassion related to vocabulary, scripts, and rules, that govern how compassion should be expressed, and will learn, how policy objectives and organisational structures might either foster or impede compassion. Working towards cultures of compassion, we aim to design inclusive spaces, spaces where dignity and safety are norms, diversity is recognized and accepted, and everyone feels encouraged, supported, and included. Thirdly, our study deals compassion with children under school age, in their everyday social interactions. The project will produce new scientific knowledge about cultures of compassion, and their development. Researchers: Lasse Lipponen (Group Leader), Antti Rajala, Jaakko Hilppö, Annukka Pursi


The iMake project, funded by the Academy of Finland, addresses digital literacy practices and digital competence development among young learners in the context of school-based makerspaces.
More information: Professor Kristiina Kumpulainen,, Associate professor Anu Kajamaa,, Ms. Jasmiina Korhonen,, Ms. Riikka Olkinuora,

MakEY – Makerspaces in the early years: Enhancing digital literacy and creativity

MakEY is a Staff Exchange (RISE) programme funded by the EU H2020 Research and Innovation Programme. The project aims to further research and innovation in the area of young children´s digital literacy and creative design skills.
More information:

DigiLitEY – The Digital Literacy and Multimodal Practices of Young Children

The aim of this EU COST Action is to develop an interdisciplinary network that enables researchers to synthesise existing research and identify gaps in knowledge in the area of digital literacy and multimodal practices of young children aged from 0-8 years old. This will help to avoid duplication, foster innovative avenues for future research and effectively advance knowledge in this area.
More information:

Pathways to play – Leikinpolut

In the project the research focus is to understand children´s perspectives and viewpoints about learning in play. In the project the researcher follow children with different observation tools and interview them personally and through focus group to create shared understanding about play based activities in early childhood education centers. The research follows the socio cultural learning paradigm and participatory pedagogical focus.
More information: Jonna Kangas, PhD, University Lecturer

Pedagogical Documentation and Digital Portfolios in Finnish ECE

This research and development project funded by the Finnish National Agency for Education investigates the practice(s) of pedagogical documentation in Finnish Early Childhood Education (ECE). The project is situated in three Finnish municipalities and their early years centers who adopted digital portfolios in pedagogical documentation. Our research focuses on opportunities and challenges of pedagogical documentation via digital portfolios with a special interest on children´s agency in this process.
More information: Professor Kristiina Kumpulainen, and Najat Ouakrim-Soivio,


The EduDigi project, funded by European Regional Development Fund, focuses on enhancing the application of gaming technologies in education and learning. The project is carried out by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Science Center Heureka, University of Helsinki, and Tietomaa Science Center.
More information: Professor Kristiina Kumpulainen,

Digital Computer Games for learning in the Nordic countries

This project funded by Nordplus Horizon is designed to strengthen teacher collaboration and knowledge exchange on educational games. The project is centered around an interactive website, where teachers and other DGBL (Digital Game Based Learning) enthusiasts, can access research and information about digital game based learning, overviews of relevant learning games, learning plans and instructions, as well as get in contact with others who are practicing game based learning.
More information:

Applying Digital Game-Based Learning to Teach STEAM and Sustainable Development in Early Childhood Education

The purpose of the project is to study digital game-based learning (DGBL) in teaching STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and sustainable development in early childhood education (K-3). The aim is to make learning science playful and engaging for kids by combining digital games with real-life situations to bridge informal and formal learning experiences and foster problem-solving skills for K-3 pupils. The project will apply problem-solving and inquiry-based learning to develop a digital game-based immersive learning environment allowing pupils to get engaged in learning STEAM and sustainability subjects. As “play” is an essential and positive human experience, the ultimate purpose is to harness the affordances of digital games to create playful learning experiences as an effective way to help students learn STEAM subjects and phenomena. The main objectives of the project are:

– to examine digital games for teaching and learning STEAM in early childhood education

– to implement and evaluate DGBL in phenomenon-based teaching and learning in Finnish schools

– to develop an immersive learning platform enabling blended learning in which students co-create, collaborate and connect their learning experiences across context

The project will be carried out through conducting research and development by means of pilot studies, testing prototypes and re-designing educational games in co-creation with Finnish schools and science centers, Playful Learning Center, and Gro Play as a developer of educational games.

More information: