Keynote Speech Title: Recent developments in Finnish schools. How to promote creativity, motivation and engagement?

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”. Professor Lonka is a popular keynote speaker around the world. She has published numerous refereed articles, conference papers, text books and popular writings. Kirsti Lonka has been a visiting professor in several countries. Starting from June 1, 2016, she is an Extraordinary Professor, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa.


Keynote Speech Title: The Blended Classroom

Coles Wilkinson is Commercial Director of International Schools Unit at itslearning. He is a passionate thought leader in online-educational technologies.  Mr. Wilkinson is in his 7th year delivering enterprise eLearning solutions to thousands of students and teachers around the globe. Mr. Wilkinson holds a BS in Communications from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia & an MBA from The Mason School of Business at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.


Keynote Speech Title: An analysis of the latest Pisa results and how Finland and its educators will use this.

Jouni Välijärvi is Director of the Finnish Institute for Educational Research and a Professor of educational research and development at the University of Jyväskylä. He represents Finland in the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement and is the National Project Manager of the OECD Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in Finland. Prof. Välijärvi he has headed a series of national research projects on curriculum, school assessment, teacher education and wellbeing of students, served in national and international expert groups for OECD and EU and published widely in his field. He has served as an expert and keynote speaker in international conferences in many different countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan and Russia.


Keynote Speech Title: Towards transversal competences. How to promote 21st century learning and working skills with playful learning?

Heli Ruokamo is a Professor of education, specialty media education, at University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland. She is a Vice Dean of the Faculty of Education and a director of the Centre for Media Pedagogy. Professor Ruokamo has 15 years of experience in research and development of pedagogical models for network-based education and educational use of ICT’s. Her research has focused on mobile and meaningful learning, playful, game-based, VR, and simulation-based learning environments. She has published approx. 100 scientific publications with referee practice, more than 2/3 of them are international.


Keynote Speech Title: The concept of gaming and how to infuse them into education.

Santeri Koivisto is CEO of TeacherGaming LLC, the company created MinecraftEdu and one of the first real breakthroughs in games in education with 15,000 schools using it in 40+ countries. He’s also a teacher by background and a game enthusiast. After recent acquisition by Microsoft Santeri is currently working on new projects including completely new games and learning analytics to help teacher use games in their classrooms.



Opening LIFE 2017 Speech Title: Key points to understand the Finnish perspective of education.

Kristiina Volmari works as Counsellor of Education and Head of Statistics and International Affairs at the Finnish National Board of Education. She has also worked as a teacher for 20 years at most levels of education and in vocational teacher education.

Kristiina's  areas of special interest and expertise are comparative international education data, teachers and trainers in vocational education and training and leadership. She has a thorough knowledge and understanding of European and global education and training issues having worked closely with European networks and working groups as well as participating in OECD studies and data collection.


Riikka Lindroos is the President of Finnish Association of Principals. Association’s task is to promote its membership’s professional development, to participate in developing the principals’ working and pay conditions and the drafting and realization of national and international educational policy. Lindroos has been a principal last 18 years and she has a wide knowledge of pedagogical issues and teaching.