IDEC2016 Newsletter 1/2015

Welcome to IDEC 2016!

6th – 10th June

Mikkeli, Finland

The annual International Democratic Education Conference 2016 is held in Mikkeli, Finland on 6th – 10th, June, located in Eastern Finland, in the heart of lake district of Finland. The city, which was founded in 1838, is well-known particularly for its military history and  the headquarters during three different wars. Today, the beautiful Lake Saimaa nature and versatile services of the area attract numerous travellers around the year.

View the hometown of Idec 2016:


IDEC 2016 Themes

The year 2016 themes of Democratic Future and Self-Directed Learning promote the framework of Democratic Education. There are many remarkable, very exciting keynote presenters during the 5-day event, here to mention a few of them. The event also includes Open Space Sessions, informal workshop sessions on the topics around Cultural Shift, Participatory Learning and Diversity in Learning.

Do Not Miss the Early Bird Discount!

Register now to take an advantage of the Early Bird price of EUR 390. The price includes the keynote days, school accommodation, meals (breakfast, lunches, dinner and evening snacks). Thursday night conference dinner tickets can be purchased separately. The Early Bird discount is valid until 31st January, 2016.


Keynote Speaker Bios

Sugata Mitra

TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra is at the forefront of a new approach to education which challenges how we teach today’s children in a technological age. He is Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, UK and previously a Visiting Professor at MIT in the US.

Sugata is currently working on the School in the Cloud, which is the culmination of over a decade of research and observations from all over the world. The School in the Cloud is learning at the edge of chaos – a community, place and experience to discover and explore children’s learning as a self-organising system.

From his earliest experiments while working at NIIT in Delhi with the Hole in the Wall project, through to setting up SOLEs (self organised learning environments), Sugata discovered that children’s innate sense of learning is magnified when they are given the freedom to explore the internet in small groups. Children in these environments, regardless of who they are or what language they speak, can competently search for answers to ‘big questions’, drawing rational, logical conclusions from their research. These are questions far ahead of what is expected of them in their school curriculum.

In 1999 Sugata and his colleagues at NIIT made a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in Delhi, installed an internet-connected PC, and left to see what happened. Almost immediately, children from the slum began playing with the computer and in the process taught each other how to use it and get online. This experiment, which inspired the book ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ that went on to become the Oscar winning film of 2009, was replicated in other parts of India, both urban and rural, with similar results.It challenged some of the key assumptions of formal education, demonstrating that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity could result in learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. However, his research has shown that it’s not simply a case of taking teachers out of the equation: children in remote areas often perform poorly at school because they do not have access to good teaching.


Kirsti Lonka


Kirsti Lonka is Professor of Educational Psychology at University of Helsinki, Finland (2005-). She is a founding member of the Teachers’ Academy of University of Helsinki since 2013 and also the first President (2013-2014). She is the Director of Research Group of Educational Psychology and also the Principal Investigator of the Project “Mind the Gap – between digital natives and educational practices” (Funded by the Mind Program of Academy of Finland (2013-2106), wiredminds.fi Previous project was  PI of WP4 Task 1.1. (Learning Environments) in RYM Indoor Environment project (2011-2015).

Professor Lonka is active in Twitter and Instagram (@kirstilonka) and also in Facebook and LinkedIn.


Pasi Sahlberg

Pasi Sahlberg is a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, MA, USA. Professor Sahlberg is a Finnish educator and scholar. He worked as a teacher, teacher educator, and policy adviser in Finland and was actively engaged in planning and implementing education reforms in Finland in the 1990s. He has served the World Bank in Washington, D.C. (2003-2007), the European Commission (2007-2009) and the OECD as an external expert advising foreign governments in more than 50 countries around the world. His research interests include international education policies, educational change, teacher education, and classroom teaching and learning. He is board member of several educational organizations, including the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education (IASCE), and the Centre on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB). He is also editorial board member of Journal of Educational Change, European Journal of Educational Evaluation and Research, and Educational Policy Studies Journal.

Sahlberg speaks around the world about educational improvement, enhancing equity and excellence in education systems, internationalization of education, and the future of schooling. He has addressed the national Parliaments in England, Scotland, New Zealand, Latvia, Sweden, and spoke at the European Parliament in Brussels. His award-winning book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland (Teachers College Press, 2011) is a bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages. He has held several senior management positions in Finland, most recently Director General of CIMO (National Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation) at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Oulu, Finland. He received the 2012 Education Award in Finland and the 2013 Grawemeyer Award in the United States, and the First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland in 2013.


To view the complete list of the keynote speakers, please click on the link below.


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To view the IDEC 2016 presentation video, click on the link below


See You at IDEC 2016!

www.idec2016.org – facebook.com/idec2016