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Nordic EdTech News #88: 2023-05-08
Your Weeks 17 - 18 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.
Good morning and thanks for reading today’s Nordic EdTech News.
This newsletter has frequently highlighted the impact (real and imagined) of generative AI tools on students and teachers. But over the last week we’ve had a clear indication of their impact on EdTech businesses. Chegg’s signal that ChatGPT’s rising popularity was pressuring its subscriber growth triggered a 40% drop in the value of its shares. Other leading education businesses including Duolingo, Pearson and Wiley also saw significant falls.
In the Nordics, Chegg’s news overshadowed Kahoot!’s strong Q1 2023 numbers (revenue = $40.5 million, up 18% yoy and adjusted EBITDA = $10.0 million, up 75% yoy). Notably Eilert Hanoa, Kahoot’s CEO, used the announcement to commit to developing “new AI-based features to optimize efficiency of content creation and ease-of-use.”
In other Q1 results, Sanoma Learning announced that sales had increased to EUR 76 million (2022: 69) in what they described as “a structurally small first quarter.” Revenues from operations in Finland also grew to EUR 6.9 million (2022:6.6).
The impact of AI is unsurprisingly identified as a leading trend by members of the Swedish Edtech Industry. Their latest annual report was recently published and gives a detailed overview of the sector and its challenges / opportunities. Although optimism remains high, members highlight a worsening financial outlook due to inflation and economic / political uncertainty.
In Norway, Tonje Brenna, Minister of Education, followed up the new schools digitisation strategy (see NEN #87) by confirming an additional investment of NOK 150 million in teaching resources and to support the implementation of new curriculum updates in grunnskolen. The vast majority of this sum (NOK 115 million) is “for a one-year earmarked grant for the purchase of printed teaching materials.” This move clearly reinforces the government’s commitment to printed books and to encouraging schools to implement more digital breaks.
If you’re looking for further reading on Norway’s new digitalisation strategy, I’d recommend these two expert responses from IKT-Norge (Link) and Natalia Kucirkova of WiKIT AS / the University of Stavanger (Link).
In an important intervention in this debate, researchers from the Connected Classrooms Nordic (CCN) project, remind us to focus on what’s really important: “It is not simply a question of whether to use screens or use printed books in schoolwork, as it sometimes can sound like in the public debate. We need to develop our thinking about how different technologies interplay in new media ecologies, and what that means in relation to students’ diverse needs.”
One piece of acquisition news to report this week. Sweden’s ILT Education has bought Educateit, who offer a wide range of testing services in English, maths, science and Swedish (Link). These tests ensure that new arrivals are able to join further education and training programmes at the right level, helping them to succeed and progress. It’s ILT’s third acquisition in less than 2 years.
I‘m delighted to be speaking at Learning Conference this September in Stockholm. It’s an exciting, new event focused on corporate learning - tickets available now.
And finally, it’s great to see 3 Nordic companies (Imagi – Sweden, Kahoot! – Norway and Kide – Finland) included in Tech.eu’s round up of the “10 European edtech companies that are reimagining how we learn.”
As always, 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.
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News from Denmark
News from Estonia
Estonia’s state exams will be gradually digitised, with plans announced to make them entirely electronic by 2027. (Link)
News from Finland
An open letter has been published calling on Finland’s new government to explore a “New Strategy of Digital Mindfulness in Education and to Halt the Over-digitalization of Childhood.”
News from Iceland
News from Latvia
News from Lithuania
News from Norway
Applications for university tech courses from women are up by 20% as interest from men levels off. (Link)
Norwegian parents agree that it is important for their child to learn coding, but 8 out of 10 don’t know what to do about it. (Link)
News from Sweden
Swedish Edtech Industry have published an updated Edtechkartan. It’s a market map of the sector across corporate learning, higher ed and K-12. All EdTech companies operating in Sweden can add their details.
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