Combining the traditional and the modern in teaching has always seemed natural to Anne Tikkanen. This holds true in teaching students different skills as well as in using the latest teaching technology. Studying literature and participating in educational technology master’s programmes has provided her with solid skills in both.

Anne Tikkanen comes from Lapinlahti. After finishing art school, she dreamed of studying arts and literature at the University of Jyväskylä. She had considered Jyväskylä an attractive town ever since she was in lower secondary school. Her dream became reality when she started literature studies in 2006.

“I’m a university romantic. Seminaarinmäki and Jyväskylä have truly earned their title of the Athens of Finland. It was so great to get to study at the Seminaarinmäki campus!”

It was during her studies that Tikkanen realized teaching is what she wants to do with her future. She loved the group work sessions and she was also active in the Opus student organization. “I really enjoyed studying education,” Tikkanen says.

After finishing her studies, Tikkanen found a job as a Finnish teacher. Her teaching practice in a teacher training school inspired her to use modern educational technology, but her first job did not exactly embrace the digital age – the most modern devices in the school were blackboards and overhead projectors. Soon enough, however, Tikkanen got her hands on a document camera.

“From day one, I’ve wanted to mix both old and new elements in my teaching. I think it’s important that pupils learn to write by hand, but I also consider it important that they learn how to use new technology to, for example, write documents.”

As her interest in IT increased, Anne applied for the master’s programme in educational technology, where she started her studies as an adult student. “During a basic programming course I also considered other career paths, like programming,” Anne says. “Teaching, however, is the most important thing for me.

“At the time, I was expecting my first child, so I returned to university as a young mother. I was warmly welcomed and studying seemed very natural to me. Sometimes the teacher held my baby on her lap so I could do my assignments. And sometimes I sat with the baby in the student organization canteen together with new students.”

Tikkanen began teaching in Gradia in 2014. Full-time work slowed her studies down. Today, Anne works as a project manager in the project Oikeus osata, which aims to develop tools for supporting both the basic and advanced study skills of upper secondary level students. Her duties also include teaching online pedagogy to other teachers.

“I’m able to apply the content from both of my JYU master’s programmes in my present work.”

Tikkanen enjoys her work in online pedagogy, which is all the more significant now because of Covid-19. She is also able to develop new ways of completing different parts of a degree, which is very motivating as well as challenging. You learn something new all the time.

“In online teaching, you simply must reject the 19th century concept of a teacher. The role of a teacher is changing into a learning supervisor.”

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