Eerika Virranmäki


Doctoral Researcher


I work as a Doctoral Researcher at the Geography Research Unit of the University of Oulu. In my doctoral research I examine educational change of the geography education in the Finnish upper secondary schools in the context of digitalisation of the Finnish Matriculation Examination and wider society. I´m focused on the change of the assessment, and teachers’ conceptions about geographical knowledge, it´s significance in society and how it´s related to powerful disciplinary knowledge. I examine teachers’ beliefs, teaching methods and assessment in the teachers’ point of view.

My research interests include also geography and biology didactics on all school levels, especially teaching with GIS and phenomenon-based teaching and learning.

My doctoral research has been partly funded by LUMA Oulu.

Research interests

  • Geography education
  • Educational change
  • Geographical knowledge
  • Powerful disciplinary knowledge
  • Educational assessment
  • Teachers' conceptions
  • Digital education
  • Bloom's renewed taxonomy

Responsible for the following courses

  • Electrical matriculation examination in Geography (5 ECTS credits). University level course designed for the teacher students of geography.
  • Development towards Geography subject teacher expertise (5 ECTS credits). University level course designed for the teacher students of geography.


Work as a teacher trainer

  • LibreOffice and Paikkatietoikkuna in teaching geography -teacher training session, eLukio: BI, GE, TT teachers' day, Oulu, March 2019
  • Abitti-software in the digital matriculation examination in biology -teacher training session, Oulu, January 2019 (together with Jarkko Himanka and Kirsi Valta-Hulkkonen)
  • Geography and phenomenon-based teaching and learning -teacher training session, Kokkola, May 2017
  • Make geography live with geomedia -teacher training session, Oulu, February 2017 (together with Hanne Mäenpää and Kirsi Valta-Hulkkonen)
  • Geomedia in teaching of geography and biology -teacher training session, Kuusamo, January 2017
  • Paikkatietoikkuna and spatial data analysis in geography - teacher training session, Oulu, November 2015 (together with Kirsi Valta-Hulkkonen)
  • LibreOffice and Paikkatietoikkuna in teaching geography -teacher training session, Oulu, May 2015 (together with Jarkko Himanka and Kirsi Valta-Hulkkonen)

Professional and community activities

  • Member of the Geographical Society of Northern Finland directorate year 2015 onwards
  • Treasurer of the local (Oulu) Biology and Geography Teachers’ s Association of Finland (BMOL Oulun piiri ry) 2015 onwards

Research groups

  • Geography Research Unit

Selected publications

  • Virranmäki, Eerika; Valta-Hulkkonen, Kirsi; Rusanen, Jarmo (2019) Powerful knowledge and the significance of teaching geography for in-service upper secondary teachers - a case study from Northern Finland. - International research in geographical and environmental education 28 (2), 103-117
  • Pellikka, Anne; Valta-Hulkkonen, Kirsi; Virranmäki, Eerika (2015) Keskustelua koulu- ja yliopistomaantieteen yhteistyön kehittämisen tarpeista. - Terra: maantieteellinen aikakauskirja 127 (1), 33-36
  • Virranmäki, Eerika; Mäenpää, Hanne; Rusanen, Raimo (2016) QGIS geomedian työvälineenä. - Natura (4), 14-15

Thesis supervisions

Supervision of Master's thesis
  • Jonna Piri (2019)

    Tiina Tolvanen (2019)

    Tulina Karhu (2018)

    Annika Nivakoski (2017)

    Hanne Mäenpää (2017)

    Katariina Karikytö (2017)

    Auli Heikkilä (2016)

    Anna Hemmilä (2016)

    Pia Ronkainen (2015)