Nordic EdTech News #8 : 2019-12-09

Your Week 48 & 49 update from the Nordic & Baltic EdTech ecosystems

Raising educational standards and improving learning outcomes is obviously one of the key goals for most businesses working in education and EdTech. So the announcement of the 2018 PISA results last week unsurprisingly generated much interest and reaction. Most importantly, it’s great to see all eight Nordic and Baltic countries in Level 3 or at the top of Level 2 across all subjects. (Link)

Rather than devoting this whole newsletter to PISA reaction, I’ve included links to key articles I thought most interesting (here, here and here) as well as providing some specific links to national results below.

Such is the volume of news (see below!) that I’ve also decided to squeeze in one more Nordic EdTech News before Christmas. That will come out next Monday and includes an exclusive interview with Charles Madon, Partner EMEA, at Lego Ventures. Don’t miss it!

Regional news

  • Finland and Sweden feature in Top 10 of world’s most innovative economies. (Link)

  • Impact StartUp Sweden launch new accelerator programme with a coordinated Nordic effort in Denmark, Finland and Norway. (Swe, Eng)

  • Japanese investors favour Finland and Estonia. (Link)

  • Sanoma (FIN) has acquired itslearning (NOR) from private equity firm EQT Partners. Initial details here, but certainly a deal we’ll be watching!

  • Sifted highlight Europe’s leading EdTech startups, including Kahoot! (Link)

  • 2019 Regional Winners of Nordic Startup Awards announced. (Link)

Global trends

  • Report from the influential Brookings Institution on how EdTech can help leapfrog progress in education. (Link)

  • China tops the 2018 global PISA rankings (Link), yet flaws persist. (Link)

  • Duolingo raises $30 million, giving it a $1.5 billion valuation. (Link)

  • Instructure is set to be acquired by Thoma Bravo. (Link) Detailed analysis on the deal via PhilOnEdTech here.

  • Fascinating look at how Texas Instruments took over US maths classes. (Link)

  • US report suggests teachers believe EdTech hasn’t yet reached its full potential. (Link)

  • Valuable insights for EdTech businesses looking to expand into Asia (Link), China (Link) and Indian markets. (Link)

News from Denmark

  • Good overview of Denmark’s PISA results here and here.

  • The Chair of Danish School Students gives a compelling perspective on young people’s views on, and use of, technology and regulation via Skoleliv. (Den, Eng)

  • Whilst the Minister of Education and Research visits schools to talk to young people who feel increasingly under pressure and lonely. (Den, Eng)

  • Eduflow have had a busy November launching four new product features. (Link)

  • KUBO enjoy a visit to the Middle East (Link) and receive DKK 15 million capital injection. (Danish)

  • Labster launch ‘What's next for EdTech?’ whitepaper (Link) and present at HolonIQ’s excellent Global Summit series. (Link)

  • LEGO Education increase their interest in STEAM learning. (Link)

  • Changes at Lix as Camilla Hessellund Lastein steps down. (Den, Eng)

  • Primary school classes program apps for IT company Milestone Systems as part of the Coding Class initiative. (Den, Eng)

  • The Novo Nordisk Foundation support the IT University (Eng) and Aalborg University (Eng) to support local school students.

  • The PhD Council receive grant for 28.6 million kroner for 12 new research projects into teacher education and primary schools. (Den, Eng)

  • Shape Robotics announce they’re now official Workbench partners and release supporting lesson plans and activities. (Link)

News from Estonia

  • Lots of coverage on Estonia’s exceptional PISA 2018 results including the national government here; highlighting the role of digital technology and e-curriculum (here) and the international reaction here and here.

  • Positive outputs already from new Computer Science curriculum (Est, Eng) and the best have been identified by an expert panel. (Est, Eng)

  • DreamApply announce agreement with leading Mexican University (Universidad Anáhuac de Cancún) (Link) and power Study in Estonia's student application system. (Link)

  • This Wednesday, the European Centre for Policy Studies and the Grow with Google programme launch their ‘European Readiness for Digital Lifelong Learning’ report in Estonia. (Est, Eng)

  • 13 school teams completed the HITSA Digital Accelerator / DigiKiirendi programme. (Est, Eng)

  • Look forward to seeing the outputs from the 2019 Global Education Industry Summit, which is held this week in Tallinn. (Link)

  • Two key factors identified behind the booming Estonian tech ecosystem. (Link)

News from Finland

  • Overview of Finland’s PISA results here and here.

  • CEESA Conference (Central & Eastern European Schools Association) takes place in Helsinki next March. Find out more here.

  • Eduten make strides in Belgium (Link), secure first school in Indonesia (Link) and launch latest Finland Math teacher guide here.

  • Elias Robot plan UK move (Link) and attend Digital Education Day in Germany. (Link)

  • FiBAN launch excellent summary of the Finnish startup landscape. (Link)

  • How Finnish schools teach coding by combining it with visual arts (Fin, Eng) or through games of chess! (Link)

  • Funzi are selected to join the Facebook Accelerator London programme (Link) and look into EdTech’s past, present and future. (Link)

  • Grib win big at the Nordic Startup Awards! Congrats! (Link)

  • HundrED put the spotlight on financial literacy (Link) and digital wellbeing. (Link)

  • Kide Science land a new agreement in Bangkok (Link) and announce first partnership in Vietnam. (Link)

  • Mehackit’s ongoing blog series powerfully argues the case for project-based learning. (Link)

  • Panda Training win the Sanako EdTech Hackathon. (Link)

  • School Day report on encouraging improvements in student wellbeing. (Link)

  • ThingLink and ClassVR have teamed up to bring more VR experiences and digital storytelling skills to classrooms. (Link)

  • The Vietnam - Finland International School (VFIS) are looking for teachers and are hosting a briefing event in January. Find out more here.

News from Iceland

  • Significant announcements from the Icelandic Minister for Innovation and Industries. This includes the launch of Kría, the new Icelandic Venture Initiative, and the creation of a think tank to discuss Icelandic innovation and entrepreneurship. Kiddi and Northstack have all you need to know here.

  • Kara Connect’s CEO Thorbjorg Helga is appointed to the above think tank and argues the case for disrupting silos at Swedish Gov Tech Day.

  • ICYMI - Check out Ingvi Hrannar’s latest Menntavarp podcast here.

  • Specific national PISA analysis (in Icelandic) here and in English here.

News from Latvia

  • Companies are invited to apply for the Demola program and to benefit from the help of students from Riga Technical University’s (RTU) Design Factory. (Latvian)

  • #Neklusē programme developed to help schools and students handle the rise in mobbing. (Lat, Eng).

  • Edurio have also developed specific resources and surveys for schools to address the above. (Lat, Eng)

  • Great to see Uzdevumi.lv announcing closer co-operation with schools around the development of digital curriculum resources. (Lat, Eng)

News from Lithuania

  • Lots happening at BitDegree as detailed in their November update. (Link)

  • Vilnius-based Qoorio raises €2 million to launch its knowledge-sharing app in the UK. (Link)

  • Register now for Startup Lithuania’s 2019 ‘Wrap up of the Year’ event. (Link)

News from Norway

  • Hege Tollerud, CEO of the Oslo EdTech Cluster presented Norwegian and Nordic EdTech at the Norway Tech Day in Brazil. (Link)

  • Hubro Education attract new investment and plan to scale. (Nor, Eng)

  • Eilert Hanoa becomes CEO at Kahoot! (Nor, Eng) and their learn-to-read app, Poio, wins Best Learning Game at the Learning Technologies Awards.

  • Great to see young people in Oslo coding and working with 3D printers as their parents do the Xmas shopping! (Link)

  • Ludenso host Norway’s largest AR art exhibition at Midtstuen high school. (Link)

  • The Norwegian Government allocates NOK 5 million to 36 municipalities to help citizens improve their digital literacy skills. (Nor, Eng)

  • Interesting profile of SnapMentor as they aim for rapid growth. (Nor, Eng)

  • Tekna respond positively to the new school curriculum (Nor, Eng) and call for support to help young people develop a love for and skills in STEM. (Nor, Eng)

News from Sweden

  • Overviews of Sweden’s PISA performance here and here.

  • Interesting to see Bonnier Education take the lead in publishing guidelines about their use of data. (Swe, Eng)

  • Compelling case study showing how Haldor and Microsoft work together to help students in Älvdalen achieve their learning objectives. (Swe, Eng)

  • Must read report from IFAU about the impact of ICT on educational outcomes. (English)

  • Kognity pitch in London at the Educate Demo Day (Link) and receive their Evidence Applied EdWard. (Link)

  • Two reports published recently on the Stockholm startup ecosystem. (Link, Link)

  • ‘Spaningen’ newsletter from RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) provides a great summary of the ‘Standarder för datadrivna processer i skolan’ report (Link)

  • Useful and highly practical insights for anyone working in EdTech from the Swedish Edtech Industry’s Johanna Karlén at Internetdagarna. (Swedish)

  • Swedish Government announce special investigation into the quality of teaching materials in Swedish schools and what the state's role should be in producing them. (Swe, Eng)

  • How Ugglo is helping school libraries be a catalyst for reading promotion activities. (Swe)

Thanks for reading and see you again next week!

Best regards, Jonathan

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