Nordic EdTech News #83: 2023-02-20
Your Weeks 6 - 7 update from the Nordic and Baltic EdTech ecosystem
Nordic EdTech News is the best way to keep up with the EdTech ecosystem across 8 Nordic and Baltic countries. I curate it from company updates and a wide variety of international sources. It’s a passion project of mine - the rest of my time is spent advising / consulting the companies who lead the future of learning. If you’d like to find out more, drop me an email.
Hello and welcome to today’s Nordic EdTech News.
The debate about digital technology in schools has been long-running across the Nordic countries. But I sense that we’re seeing a notable recent uptick in arguments against their use, particularly from government ministers.
This began last December when Swedish Education Minister, Lotta Edholm, stated that the government wanted schoolchildren's life "to be filled with reading and knowledge - not screen time." Mattias Tesfaye, Denmark’s Minister for Children and Education, seems to agree suggesting last month that screens should only be used in schools if they could be “scientifically justified.“
Two Danish researchers are now proposing that folkeskolen’s digitization has gone too far and that Denmark should follow Sweden’s lead in prioritising textbooks in schools (Link). Similar noises are also emerging from Norway where former digitization minister, Nikolai Astrup, recently suggested that: “There is no reason for the mobile phone to be used in class or during school hours.”
As this Norwegian post notes: “Only footballers have more pundits on the sidelines than teachers.” So it’s instructive to see educators and experts in both Denmark (Link) and Norway (Link) passionately argue the case for using digital teaching resources.
Clearly the impact of government policy on national teaching resources market is far-reaching and is rightly emphasised in the latest research from Sweden’s Läromedelsförfattarna. Their study also highlights the importance of having a market that offers both print and digital resources from which teachers can select what works best for their schools / students.
This echoes Swedish Edtest’s new research, which found that teachers usually recommend the resources they want to purchase to the principal or buy them using departmental budgets. Interestingly, one in five principals thought that their own digital competency was not good enough.
It’s been a quiet two weeks for major funding rounds, apart from a NOK 45 million Series A round for Norway’s House of Math (Link). The business details that 1.7 million users are now on the new platform and that a paid subscription model will launch later this year. Founder, Vibeke Fængsrud, commented that the “investment round will provide further runway to accelerate our global growth and expansion.”
If you didn’t read the last NEN, then you will have missed the 2023 Nordic EdTech funding report we produced in an exclusive collaboration with Brighteye Ventures.
The link to download the full report follows below. TL; DR: $140 million was raised in 2022 across 41 deals; average deal size was $3.4M; EdTechs in Denmark again raised the most funding in 2022 ($57million) but most deals were concluded by EdTechs in Sweden (11 deals).
Whilst we’re on funding reports, Dealroom’s new report looking at VC investments into Nordic startups and scaleups is also recommended. It is particularly interesting to note that 35% of VC funding in the Nordics in 2022 went to impact startups. Change Ventures’ 2022 Baltic Startup Funding Report is, as always, well worth reading.
And if you’re looking for some more light reading during sportlov, then here’s two other interesting articles to enjoy: Andreessen Horowitz’s Five Predictions for the Future of Learning in the Age of AI and Reach Capital’s Building an AI Edtech Startup? Here Are Important Lessons to Keep in Mind.
If you’ve got a story that you’d like me to include in a future issue of this newsletter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, tag me on Twitter or LinkedIn or use #nordicedtech / #balticedtech. Sharing this email with your network is also always much appreciated!
Best regards, Jonathan
News from Denmark
Aula still doesn’t meet GDPR standards - AWS is under pressure to come up with a solution. (Link)
Labster will be incorporated into 5 STEM courses on Sophia, the online and on-demand learning platform. (Link)
Learningbank launched a new AI Learning Helper - a personal content creator (and more) powered by ChatGPT technology. (Link)
Shape Robotics called an EGM for 1 March to agree to the addition of “DKK 25-38 million to the company” to explore “a number of attractive projects and strategic opportunities.” (Link)
TopTutors raised DKK 2.5 million to scale their online tutoring platform in Denmark and beyond. (Link)
News from Estonia
How ALPA Kids help global families to stay connected to their roots. (Link)
Praktikal signed a deal with the Tallinn Board of Education to support physics teaching in schools. (Link)
News from Finland
Important post from Jussi Kajala, CEO of 3DBear, about the role of AR and VR in helping students with special needs. (Link)
How the Helsinki EdTech Testbed offers schools access to impressive learning experiences and the latest technologies. (Link)
HundrED, with support from the Jacobs Foundation, will be launching the Implementation Centre for Education Innovation in Switzerland. (Link)
Jenni Vartiainen, Co-founder of Kide Science, argues the case for research in EdTech. (Link)
Sanoma Pro invited over 200 children to enjoy songs and stories at the Helsinki Music Centre. The live broadcast was viewed by nearly 40,000 students in schools across Finland. (Link)
News from Iceland
Atlas Primer confirms that 10,000 audio learning resources have been created using the platform. (Link)
Orðalykill, a digital Icelandic reading and language learning resource, from Mussila will soon be available for children / schools for free. (Link)
News from Latvia
Codelex launches a new programming curriculum offering 9 to 18 months of in-depth training under the guidance of expert mentors. (Link)
News from Lithuania
Great to see that the NŠA (National Education Agency) EdTech Centre will be at BETT with a number of Lithuanian EdTechs. (Link)
Lithuania’s first national IT challenge is underway as students compete in a variety of programming skills. (Link)
News from Norway
Apprendly will use Epic's Unreal Engine to make e-learning games and has raised NOK 6 million to fund their development. (Link)
Attensi has created the world's first 'underwriter simulator' for insurance giant Hiscox to help tackle skills gaps in risk management and insurance. (Link)
Andreas Wisløff Samuelsen quits as CEO at Conexus. No news yet on his replacement. (Link)
IKT-Norge and partners have launched a new joint initiative "STEM for fremtiden" to get more young people to study science and technology. (Link)
Kahoot! confirms “double-digit viral growth across all business segments” in Q4 2022. (Link)
KS and Bergen municipality are carrying out a national assessment of privacy consequences for Google's products and services in schools. (Link)
Children are increasingly using “fluent YouTube” and “amazing English” instead of Norwegian. (Link)
News from Sweden
“The Future of Digital Assessment in Higher Education: Are we assessing what we value or valuing what we can assess?” - 21 Feb, 17:00 – 18:30 CET
Örnsköldsvik municipality signs a deal with Allbry to prioritise student health. (Link)
Dugga opens a new public crowdfunding campaign via Crowdcube. (Link)
Congratulations to Patrik Eide, who took over as the new CEO of Eventful on 1st January 2023. (Link)
Landskrona uses Lexplore to measure 4,000 students' reading ability with AI. (Link)
Sana heads to the US with “350 million (SEK) in the coffers.” (Link)
Skolverket issues new instructions to teachers for assessment in response to ChatGPT and other AI tools. (Link)
Good to see EdTech companies well represented in Sting’s new cohort of startups. (Link)
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