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Nordic EdTech News #90: 2023-06-05
Your Weeks 21-22 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 thanks for reading today’s Nordic EdTech News. It has been another hectic fortnight across the ecosystem - I’ll try and summarise everything that’s happened!
Let’s start in Norway, where a parental group that’s arguing against screen time in schools has now gained over 18,000 Facebook members and whose prominent leaders met the Minister of Education, Tonje Brenna, to put forward their case. According to the Norwegian media, Brenna told them that: “The digitization that has happened around our children, it has been ... for lack of a better expression, a little unconscious in recent years.” Unsurprisingly, her comments have met with a furious reaction from teachers (Link, Link) who have passionately argued in defence of their work and the importance of digital classrooms (Link, Link).
As in Sweden, this is becoming (has become?) a increasingly polarised debate. One that Neil Selwyn, a Professor at Australia’s Monash University, argues is being driven “in the hope of short-term political gains.” Selwyn is clear that the emphasis should instead be “on allowing Swedish teachers and students to share best practices.” A view reiterated by Professor Natalia Kucirkova from the University of Stavanger and Professor Italo Masiello from Linnaeus University, who propose that cross-sectoral (and international) collaboration possibilities would be a more effective and productive route forwards.
I’m pleased therefore to see an Aftenposten article acknowledge that: “The school needs both a screen and a book.” This is exactly the approach being taken in Lithuania. Schools have been given EUR 8.5 million in additional funding to buy textbooks to support the introduction of a new curriculum (Link). Plans have also been announced to “offer schools dozens of new digital teaching aids, which will be free and freely available.” The involvement of EdTech businesses and “professional content specialists” to deliver these tools is also being encouraged.
There are two other significant Nordic EdTech stories to update subscribers on. Just after pressing send on NEN #89, Eduflow, a Danish learning platform, announced that it had been acquired by UK EdTech unicorn, Multiverse (Link). Terms of the deal have not been announced, but both parties are highlighting how the deal offers “greater levels of personalization to apprentices, ensuring the skills that they learn are relevant and delivered more effectively.”
Secondly, Sweden’s Sana confirmed that it had raised an additional $28m from NEA and Workday Ventures, bringing their Series B round up to $62m (Link). This follows less than six months after the business raised $34m from Menlo Ventures.
The announcement was timed to coincide with the launch of Sana AI. This innovation is powered by “state-of-the-art LLMs…(and) helps every employee work smarter, learn faster, and achieve more than they ever thought possible.” As Breakit reported, the assistant unveiled some new statistics at its launch. If they’re real / true, Sana’s AAR is growing exponentially: up from $6.9 million in Jan ‘23 to $10.4 million just four months later.
If you’re raising at the moment or are looking for further insights into the Nordic funding market, do check out this update from Inventure. It’s absolutely packed with invaluable insights on “the new normal” and what that means for fundraising entrepreneurs in the Nordics and Baltics.
Finally, do consider the Edventures Global Business Acceleration Fellowship if you are looking to build or scale your presence in Asia. The Fellowship is looking for growth stage Nordic EdTech ventures offering proven solutions, especially those leveraging AI, data analytics and XR. Apply by 30 June - full details here.
As always, if you’ve got a story that you’d like me to include in a future issue of this newsletter, please email email@example.com, tag me on Twitter or LinkedIn or use #nordicedtech / #balticedtech.
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News from Denmark
Tickets now available for Digital Læringsdag, 6th September.
Great to see dedicated EdTech inserts in the national press. Read it in full here.
80% of Danish schools already have a mobile phone policy. (Link)
News from Estonia
News from Finland
Finland’s best learning solution will be named in a ceremony today (5th June). See the shortlist and details here.
Education Finland led an EdTech delegation to Indonesia, meeting with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology and other providers. (Link)
News from Iceland
Business Iceland has set up a new dedicated portal for the Icelandic ecosystem with Dealroom. 22 EdTech businesses are identified within it. (Link)
News from Latvia
News from Lithuania
News from Norway
Students nationwide suffer as the digital exam solution fails. (Link)
NOK 230 million has been allocated for a new student admissions system. (Link)
Testing showed that Norwegian pupils wrote better English using feedback from the partially AI-based EAT (Essay Assessment Technology) software. (Link - $$)
News from Sweden
Gleerups confirm the launch of Exploro, which will give Y4-9 students and teachers access to all subjects via a single licence. It has been developed with Lindhardt og Ringhof Uddannelse, the leading Danish education publisher. (Link)
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