Me & MyCity is a unique education concept, with separate solutions tailored to teach primary and secondary school children about entrepreneurship, the economy and society. The study modules include training for teachers, learning materials based on the national curriculum and a visit to the MyCity learning environment.
In 2014, Me & MyCity won the World Innovation Summit for Education competition. Me & MyCity is supported by the Economic Information Office - striving to promote the future needs of Finnish industries and the service sector since 1947.
Learning about the world around you - Me & MyCity for primary school
Challenge & Approach
The MyCity learning environment for primary school is a 500-square-meter miniature town, with movable wall elements, business premises for 15 companies, its own banking system and even a miniature Futurice for the students to run.
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. It already reaches half of Finland's sixth graders, i.e. over 45,000 pupils in a year. In addition, the project involves teachers, university students and companies.
The game system for the Me & MyCity miniature society for primary school students needed to be replaced with one that fulfills modern technical requirements, has a fresh, new look and is easy to learn and use. In addition to the system, the game management functions needed an overhaul, too. The goal was to create a system that provides the staff and teachers with a clear and easy-to-use interface for planning and scripting the students’ Me & MyCity day.
Creating a day-long simulation of concepts as complex as entrepreneur- and citizenship involves a lot of parameters, so coming up with a simple and intuitive way for people to design their Me & MyCity day to maximize the students’ learning potential was a real challenge.
Development commenced with a project definition phase during which the people working at Me & MyCity talked about their ideas and hopes for the new system. The ideas were used to build a clickable prototype, which was then tested with students and staff. This gave us quick feedback on what worked and what needed to be developed further.
The functionalities were further defined in cooperation with the customer’s product owner during the implementation phase.
The game system developed by Futurice was launched at the Me & MyCity sites in Helsinki-Vantaa, Southeast Finland and Eastern Finland. Futurice provided the customer with full support during the launch week.
The new system was well received by students, teachers and Me & MyCity staff. Based on feedback, users find the system both functional and easy to use. Thanks to its flexibility, the system has allowed Me & MyCity to optimize some of their processes and use the saved time for things that better serve the goals of the learning environment.
A thousand thumbs up! Students get the gist of the game real fast and no additional instructions for using the tablets are necessary. Teachers, too, use a tablet to perform tasks during the day and they’ve been really excited about the game. So it really works for people of all ages! We have to look at what we do here as a larger whole, but the data system does play a very major role.
Saara Hautala, Me & MyCity Coordinator, Lappeenranta, Finland
Gamification of global trade - Me & MyCity for secondary school
Challenge & Approach
In 2015, Me & MyCity was opened to secondary school students. Where the MyCity day for primary school students concentrates on the local, secondary school students needed a game that would teach them about global trade and take the gamification of the concept a little further than the version for younger kids.The goal was for the students' choices to have a bigger impact on the outcome and create a friendly rivalry between teams.
Futurice’s multidisciplinary team worked at the customer’s premises, which made collaborating, communication and going through things on a daily basis much simpler and more direct.
The concept design phase of the game for secondary school students started with collecting ideas and defining pedagogic goals for the new service, with the latter steering the entire project, and moved on to defining the starting point for the game mechanics, describing game progress and modeling some of the primary user interfaces.
The game concept allowed the students' actions to have a major impact on how the game progressed. It also includes surprising events, like price variations for raw materials, cartel investigations, etc. Early on, the concept was tested with students and staff members to make sure the process was on the right track.
Work on the concept continued right through the implementation phase and Futurice participated in the design of the physical learning environment, too - not just the digital system.
The new game was piloted at a purpose-built environment in Tikkurila. Students found that the game made even the more complex issues and structures related to world trade easier to understand. And much more fun. It successfully supported students with very different learning styles and temperaments, helping all get the most out of their day at Me & MyCity.
Further development of the secondary school version, based on feedback collected during the pilot project, will commence in spring 2016. Launch is planned for fall 2016.