University of Oulu

Finding fun : characteristics of non-formal technology education in Oulu

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Author: Pienimäki, Maija1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.8 MB)
Pages: 75
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Pienimäki, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-12-16
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Kinnula, Marianne
Iivari, Netta
Reviewer: Kinnula, Marianne
Iivari, Netta
Ventä-Olkkonen, Leena


Education is not a singular, straight line from kindergarten to a diploma anymore for everyone. It is important to know and acknowledge the different types of out-of-school learning experiences young people can embark on in the quest for mastering a trade or just to have a good time. In this exploratory study into the world of non-formal technology education in the area of Oulu, Finland two different instances of varying levels of non-formality were investigated and how participants find fun in these situations since it is apparent that if something is non-mandatory to attend to, there should be some type of enjoyment found in the process. Tiedekoulu and Koodikärpät-kerho are clubs geared towards children and teens that have interest in playing with, making and programming technology. The observations with field notes were done in five different types of programming clubs and three different robotics ones with interviews that were conducted with 10 participants (ages 8–17), 6 parents and 6 instructors from these clubs. From the previous literature the practices and qualities of non-formal education could be defined, what fun is and how it manifests in children while they attend pedagogical situations. From this framework, the results of the analysis suggest that there are three main ways children and teenagers have fun in non-formal education: fun from the tasks they are doing, social fun by sharing with other attendants and pedagogical fun with instructors. Some attributes of the observed clubs were categorized as well along the lines of formal/non-formal/informal and the practices of the clubs were explored. Besides these findings, the limitations and implications for future research were also looked at.

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Copyright information: © Maija Pienimäki, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.