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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

I am working as Professor of Education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. I am the founding member and research director of the Playful Learning Center (www.plchelsinki.fi) and Co-leader of the Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI) Expert Group (https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/learning-culture-and-interventions). 

I hold an adjunct professorship at the University of Turku and Univeristy of Helsinki. 

I received my PhD in Education from the University of Exeter in the year 1994 after which I have held two distinguished scholarly positions awarded by the Academy of Finland. I have worked as a Junior Fellow of the Academy of Finland and as an Academy Fellow of the Academy of Finland during the years of 1997-2005. 

In the years 2006-9 I directed the national interdisciplinary research network on learning, CICERO Learning at the University of Helsinki. I moved from this position to serve as the Director of the Information and Evaluation Services Unit at the Finnish National Board of Education (2009-11). I have worked as a Professor of Education at the University of Helsinki from the year 2012 to date.

I have been a visiting professor at the University of Warwick, Institute of Education, UK (2007-9), the University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education (2004-6) and the University of British Columbia, UBC (2019-2020).

I have spearheaded several externally funded research projects examining learning and education from the sociocultural perspective. My research focuses on understanding social, emotional and cultural dimensions of learning and development. In my publications, I have been interested to develop new knowledge about social interaction in learning, illuminating the ways in which participation, agency and knowledge are situationally negotiated across space and time. I have also addressed methodological questions in the analysis of social interaction in formal and informal settings. Lately, I have begun to be interested in visual, participatory research, children’s and young people’s creativity and resilience as well as formation of learner identities in the digital age. 

In sum, my core research themes are:

  • Social interaction and learning
  • Sociocultural theories
  • Social ecologies of learning and development
  • Cognitive, social and emotional processes
  • Play and creativity across the lifecourse
  • Agency and resilience
  • Children, media and digital literacies
  • Children’s engagement and voice
  • Transitions
  • Participatory research methods
  • Visual research

External positions

Visiting Professor, University of British Columbia

1 Aug 201931 Aug 2020

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.