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Page updated 24.8.2021
Educity inside

ISATE 2021 was a success – the main themes were the current state, future and challenges of digitalization

Last week the faculty of Engineering and Business at Turku University of Applied Sciences hosted the annual International Symposium on Advances in Technology Education (ISATE).

ISATE is a cooperation forum of institutes based mainly in Japan and Singapore, and Turku UAS has been active in operating in the forum, promoting its relations to the institutes in question.

The aim of the conference is to present and disseminate information on engineering, technology and education between the experts in the field. A joint aim is also to develop the education in the field thus that it meets both the current and future needs of engineering.

This is a first time for the conference series to take place outside Asia, says Dean Juha Kontio from Turku UAS’ faculty of Engineering and Business, who acted as the Conference Chair.

In the four-day conference the discussion topics included the development of engineering education, the cooperation of higher education institutions and working life, and the future needs in the fields of engineering.

The keynote speakers of the conference were Aldert Kamp, the Co-Director of the international CDIO network and former Director of Education in the faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft; Mitsuteru Inoue, Senior Executive Director of the Japanese network of technology institutes (KOSEN) and Chief Advisor Marjo Joshi from Turku University of Applied Sciences.

Engineering as a solution to future problems

Both Kamp and Inoue highlighted teaching focused on problem-solving and prerequisites for a successful career.

Kamp stirred up the audience’s interest by raising perhaps one of the most challenging development targets of engineering education – how to train students for professions which do not yet exist and solve problems which we cannot yet identify as problems?

– We should develop teaching to respond to problem-solving of the future. What do we want the engineers of the future to do tomorrow that they are not yet doing today?, asks Kamp.

As for Inoue, he described engineers as “Social doctors”, with which he refers to engineers’ skills and creativity in solving different social problems and challenges with the means of science and technology.

– The engineers of the future should be given the abilities to develop society with the help of science and technology, Inoue emphasizes.

The importance of digital skills and working life

In her presentation, Marjo Joshi discussed e.g., in which direction we have taken digitalization as a part of teaching and how the coronavirus pandemic has shaped it.

– The coronavirus forced us to take giant leaps in the development, but now we can’t talk about high-quality, well-planned online education. Instead, we are talking about the Emergency Remote Teaching phase, i.e., temporary teaching forced online, which is not high-quality due to the lack of time and resources.

In particular, Joshi was worried about student’s digital abilities and whether higher education institutions support the digital working of students to an adequate extent.

– Teachers are provided with trainings to operate in the digital environments, but we should also support students thus that they take a personal interest in working in digital environments and can respond to the demands of working life, says Joshi.

The conference was a success

In its entirety, the conference offered a broad view on engineering education and different organizations’ ways of doing things. Once again, the conference highlighted the importance of sharing information, experiences and good practices.

– For Turku UAS, the conference has acted as a showcase and we have been able to highlight the solutions we have created and our learning environments, not forgetting Turku and Finland, says Conference Chair Juha Kontio.

– Our way of implementing the conference has received praise and the conference carried out fully online has exceeded expectations in terms of content, the functionality of technology and the group of participants, says Kontio and gives thanks to his team and cooperation partners.

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