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Photo: Kimmo Hokkanen

PhD (Ed.), MA (Phil.) Tuukka Tomperi is a senior researcher at Tampere University, The Faculty of Education and Culture. He is also a science editor, author and ex-teacher.




KEYNOTE: Over 100 years since John Dewey’s Democracy and Education – Where are we with democracy & education now?

John Dewey wrote his seminal work in educational theory (published in 1916) during a period that was characterized by high hopes of social progress but also great fears of rapid industrial and cultural change in the U.S. society. At the same time the European world collapsed into unprecedented destruction in the First World War. The mixture of optimism and pessimism, the “dialectics” of progress and disasters, has kept the Western imagination and worldview in its grip also later. The Second World War was followed by a period of fairly peaceful economic and social development, which was, however, marked by serious Cold War tensions, authoritarian regimes, and imperialist schemes in other continents. Advancements in living standards and technological means were accompanied with growing awareness of ecological problems, waste of natural resources and transgression of planetary boundaries of sustainability. After the fall of the Soviet Union and other systems of “real socialism” in Europe, it was thought that the “triumph” of liberal democracies signified “the end of history”. Again, the questionable celebration and optimism was short-lived. We can think of the terrorist attack in 2001 (9/11) as a symbolic sign (signum demonstrativum, quoting the phrase of philosopher Immanuel Kant), which demonstrated the turning point to another kind of historical period.

Now we are perhaps unexpectedly witnessing an era of difficult challenges for democratic values and practices. There are less totalitarian states in the world than half a century ago, but on the other hand many old democracies – already once thought to be permanently stable – are showing authoritarian tendencies and democratic deficits. Negative aspects of new digital media feed on many human weaknesses, stoke polarization and hinder intelligent deliberative debate. The rise of populist parties and ethnocentric movements have brought back – or made visible – attitudes that many assumed to be rather marginal during the more optimistic phase in recent decades.

In the presentation I will discuss the main arguments of Dewey in D & E from our present perspective. I will draw on my recent work in editing the forthcoming Finnish translation of Democracy and Education. Why did Dewey think that the fortunes of democracy are profoundly tied to the future of education? What did he mean by saying that “philosophy is the general theory of education”? How did he justify his faith in democracy’s contribution to human “growth”? What could we do to defend and advance the Deweyan democratic ethos through school education?

“Democracy has many meanings, but if it has a moral meaning, it is found in resolving that the supreme test of all political institutions and industrial arrangements shall be the contribution they make to the all-around growth of every member of society.” (Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy, 1920.)


Panu Kalmi, Professor of Economics at University of Vaasa, School of Accounting and Finance.



KEYNOTE: Can Games Promote Economic and Financial Education?

The use of games in teaching and learning has recently become rather fashionable in many fields, and economics is certainly no exception. The promise of games is related to the fact that young people are very used in playing video games and respond positively to their learning applications. Learning in games can be motivating and fun. At the same time, it is not a trivial task to design economic games that would capture the interest of students.

It is perhaps less noted that games and economics have a similar metastructure. Both of them are focused on scarcity, constraints, optimization, incentives, and institutional rules. Among other things, this enables to use games in economics teaching, even if the context of the game is initially not on economics or finance.

In this presentation, I review how different types of games have been used in economic and financial education. I also review a number of studies on the learning outcomes of using games in economic education. So far, games have been mostly been used as a pedagogical device, and the measurement of learning has taken place outside the game situations. However, games could possibly be used also in the measurement of learning as well.

Finally, I discuss some of the pedagogical implications of games: how to design the learning situations so that most benefits from the use of games are reached. I argue that the role of the teacher remains essential in facilitating learning and helping to apply the experiences in games to the domain of economics.





Updated 2.4.2022