To improve understanding by creating a safe environment for learning from mistakes

Our Story

Think of trying to get from an island to another island. There are four ferry rides on the way. After the fourth one you notice the island you’ve arrived to isn’t the right one. What do you do? You wouldn’t think you’re bad at riding ferries and never ride one again. You’d look back to understand where exactly you went wrong and try again.

It’s the same idea behind our math teaching method, Structured Derivations. By individual feedback it improves the way mathematical arguments are explained, so that it’s easier to see the structure of the argument and understand the reasoning involved.

It creates an environment where making mistakes is okay. Math shouldn’t be about failing or succeeding, but about understanding. Because when we learn to understand, we’re at the core of math: unraveling our ability to think critically and analytically, for ourselves.

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Pedagogy first

How we develop a pedagogy first product

List of issues
1. Experts

We are a team of mathematicians, teachers and researchers and cover a wide range of expertise from didactics, mathematics and computer science, to AI, data analysis and user interactions.

4. Classroom Development

Our tools are developed in close collaboration with our pilot classes and teacher network to ensure that the tools are what the teachers and students need in their daily lessons.

2. Research

Our tools are based on over 20 years of research on learning and reasoning in mathematics as well as research on formalizing mathematics for computational systems. Through the years, seven universities around the world have participated in the research collaborations.

5. Technology in the right places

Technology should support teachers so that they can focus on teaching. We seek to automatize all repetitive work and visualize issues teachers do not see due to time restrictions. Technology should also support students and give them confidence, irrespective of social status, gender and physical abilities.

3. Finnish Curriculum

Our books follow the Finnish Curriculum in Mathematics and they are written by Finnish, Estonian and Swedish teachers. Both Finland and Estonia are year after year the top performing countries in mathematics education.

6. Third Party Validation

All our textbooks are peer reviewed by experts in the area of mathematics education.

Our Textbook Authors

Saara Mäkinen, B.Sc. in Mathematics, M.Sc in Educational Sciences

Kim Gustafsson, M.Sc. in Physics

Stefan Asikainen, M.Sc in Mathematics

Marie Linden-Slotte, M.Sc. in Mathematics, Minor in Physics & Pedagogy

Matti Hutri, B.Sc. in Mathematics

Antti Lempinen, M.Lic.in Engineering Physics and Mathematics

Joonatan Jalonen, M.Sc. in Mathematics

Ralph-Johan Back, Professor of Computer Science


Mia Peltomäki, M.Sc. in Mathematics, Pedagogy

Tom Rydell, M.Sc. in Mathematics


Meet Our Leadership Team


We are a strong team of educators, mathematicians and programmers. We are highly experienced in handling large scale development projects and pilots. We listen and learn from our customers, so give us a call or send us a note, and we will get right on it.






Financial Officer


Head of Research


Back-end Developer




Marketing and Sales

Company Board

Ralph-Johan Back, Chairman

Aarne Sipilä

Board of Advisors

Pia Hardy, Stockholm, Sweden

Anna Mikhailova, Los Angeles, U.S.A

Fredrik Rönnlund, Turku, Finland

Our Research Team

Research units involved:

Turku Centre for Computer Science (TUCS) is a joint research institute of University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. TUCS conducts basic and applied research in computer science and engineering.

The Learning and Reasoning laboratory is part of Turku Centre for Computer Science (TUCS), and has members from both Åbo Akademi and the University of Turku. The laboratory studies and develops new methods and tools for teaching mathematics and programming. The target group is junior high school students, high school students and introductory level university and polytechnic students. The research is concentrated on four topics: (a) teaching mathematics using structured derivations, (b) teaching formal methods in programming using invariant based programming, (c) developing tutoring systems for programming courses, and (d) teaching practical programming skills using Python.

In Co-operation with

Our Supporters

6Aika Intelligent Learning Environments

Business Finland

European Union, Central Baltic INTERREG IVA


Svenska Kulturfonden


The company Four Ferries was founded by researchers behind the eMath and ViRum projects, and the scientific work leading up to these projects. The eMath project 2011 - 2016 was funded by EU and the Swedish Cultural Foundation. The aim was to pilot the structured derivation approach to mathematics education in high schools, and build a digital platform for mathematics education in general. The Virum project 2014 - 2017 was also funded  by the Swedish Cultural Foundation. The aim of this project was to develop a digital platform for virtual education. The research in these projects was carried out at Abo Akademi University and University of Turku.

Four Ferries has an agreement with the two universities to commercialize the results of these research projects. The focus is on supporting computer based  teaching of mathematics. The aims have since then widened, so that we now provide a powerful learning platform for all topics in school education, in the form of the 4f Studio. At the same time,  support for mathematics education has also been considerably extended, in particular with the new improved tools for creating solutions to mathematical problems, checking the step-by-step correctness of these solutions, and the new eMath textbook series for high school mathematics.

Four Ferries main commercial activities started  in March 2017,  when the research projects had ended. The focus has been on turning the  prototypes developed in the research projects  into attractive commercial products. This has meant creating a wholly new online version of the original 4f Studio learning environment, a substantial extension and strengthening of the automatic checker, and continuous work on improving the user interface and ease of use. The company has been working in close cooperation with a number of  middle schools, high schools, and universities in Finland.  The pilots carried out with these have proved to be very fruitful, leading to a number of improvements in both functionality, robustness and user friendliness.