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Nordic EdTech News #91: 2023-06-19
Your Weeks 23-24 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. Welcome to the +40 new subscribers who have signed up in the last 2 weeks - your support is much appreciated!
Today’s newsletter is hitting inboxes slightly later than usual, so that I can update subscribers on news that Brighteye Ventures, the European EdTech VC. has successfully completed the final close of its second fund at €100 million (Link).
That’s double the size of their first fund and bolsters “Brighteye’s commitment to investing in promising early-stage Edtech companies at Seed and Series A stages across Europe.” New investors in the second fund include the European Investment Fund (EIF), Jacobs Foundation, Partners in Equity as well as family offices from around the world. Congratulations to everyone at Brighteye - it’s great news for European EdTech and a real vote of confidence in the regional ecosystem.
As is this week’s other big news story, which relates to UNIwise, the Danish EdTech company that helps universities “deliver secure, accessible and efficient digital assessments and exams” (Link). Monterro, a leading Swedish B2B growth investor has acquired a majority stake in the business, enabling UNIwise “to accelerate the product development of its cloud-based platform, WISEflow, and further accelerate international growth.”
Børsen reported that the deal was for a three-digit million sum but no specific details have been disclosed. Their story also reveals that UNIwise’s owners received more than 30 offers to buy the business.
Whilst we’re in Denmark, Mattias Tesfaye, Minister for Children and Education, has reiterated his desire to change legislation so that children aged 0 to 6 use screens as little as possible while they are in day care. Opposition party, SF, are now advocating for a ban on screens and phones in folkeskolen - unless local school boards choose to allow them.
Meanwhile in Norway, the expert group for digital learning analysis has completed its work. They propose that NOK 130 million should be set aside annually as a grant scheme for innovation, research and development in AI and its use in education (Link).
IKT-Norge welcomed the move, commenting: “Like the expert committee, IKT-Norge believes that it is the government's responsibility to contribute to the establishment of a market with fertile ground for both large and small suppliers that ensure innovation and diversity of educational content that has been developed for Norwegian schools.”
Separately, Minister of Education, Tonje Brenna, has clarified her recent comments on the digitisation of Norwegian schools, suggesting that: “It is the politicians who have been digitally unconscious, not the teachers” (Link). More importantly, she emphasises the importance of expanding the “teachers’ toolbox” and argues that: “We need that to find a good balance between digital and analogue.”
However that approach is, unfortunately, currently absent in Sweden. A new, joint article from Lotta Edholm, Minister of Education and Parisa Liljestrand, Minister of Culture makes their intention clear: “Now we are slowing down digitization in schools and investing in textbooks.”
In response, Robert Walldén, a teacher educator at Malmö University, argues that this either-or position is “fruitless” (and that “Both physical books and digital texts (are) necessary in school.” This echoes recent feedback from Norwegian teachers: “If the question is tablet or pen, then the answer is yes, thank you, both.”
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, applications for the next cohort of the Female Edtech Fellowship, run by the European Edtech Alliance, are now open. The closing date is 6th July 2023.
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.
Sharing this email with your network is also always very welcome!
Glad Midsommar! Jonathan
News from Denmark
50 out of 98 municipalities are making savings in schools this year. (Link)
News from Estonia
News from Finland
You’ll find all of the updates from the ceremony to crown Finland’s best learning solutions here.
News from Iceland
News from Latvia
Team “SkolaGuru" won the "HackCodeX" international programming event with a tool that helps parents choose the best school for their child. (Link)
News from Lithuania
EdTech Week Lithuania will take place between 16 and 9 October. (Link)
News from Norway
Strong growth in online education for vocational students, but only half complete their courses. (Link)
1 in 5 Norwegian students use ChatGPT for schoolwork. (Link)
More than 200,000 students across Norway, Sweden and Germany solved 65 million exercises as part of Kikora’s Math Marathon 2023 (Link). They’ve also announced plans to launch a new test tool in Autumn 2023 (Link).
News from Sweden
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