We look forward to using this project blog to post a variety of things that the project team wants to share about interesting, new developments and issues, especially on the Nordic EdTech front, but also from other parts of the world–especially from Silicon Valley where I am located (and where a LOT of things are happening, around technology and entrepreneurship in general, but also around EdTech specifically). But we will also post curated contributions from others in our Nordic EdTech Network. We will minimized editing and also try to be quick in our curating, so that content quickly gets into the blog.
In this first post, I will avoid writing a long post (a bad habit I have, I guess) but instead just make a few brief comments:
- Nordic EdTech Discovery. One of the fun parts of this project is to discover new people, programs, companies and activities relating to Nordic EdTech. For example, I was recently very happy to discover what Blair Stevenson and his colleagues are doing around EdTech at Oulu University of Applied Sciences. They have a rapidly expanding pre-incubator program called Oamk LABs that merges two labs, including one focusing on the global education technology industry. Blair tells me that these labs are “ taught in English and are full-time, 5 month educational programs. The ultimate goal is to create new start-ups that have a beta product and want to find seed funding and further clients, and expand to become a viable business. Usually after 10 months in our program (two successive LABs), new start-ups have been formed and are often ready to join accelerator programs.” We hope to take a deeper dive into all of this in the future and share it with the Nordic EdTech community, as I suspect Blair’s activities are a well-kept secret in most of the Nordic EdTech community, even though they no doubt have a lot of interesting stories to share.
- Oslo EdTech Cluster. Perhaps this cluster has gained more visibility across the Nordic EdTech community because of growing press coverage, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I found an article–entitled “As oil market sags, Norway drills new ground with education tech”–in USA Today, a major daily in the United States (although not quite on par with Wall Street Journal or the New York Times in terms of stature, of course). And since I just had a Skype call this morning with Ingrid Somdal-Amodt Vinje, Business Developer at Oslo EdTech Cluster, I was very pleased to see her quoted in the article saying they are now planning a “kind of dating service for app developers and researchers, ” so that developers can get researchers to help with making sure EdTech products work as well as possible and indeed end up improving learning.
- Adaptive Learning Gaining Traction. Adaptive or personalized learning has long been an elusive goal, but now companies like Knewton seems to be gaining market traction. A colleague and I had the pleasure of talking to the Alexander Even Henriksen, Digital Director, Gyldendal Education in Norway about their collaboration with Knewton, and Norwegian students will soon be using the products that Alexander and his colleagues are designing. A number of other Nordic publishers have also entered into contracts with Knewton, so perhaps the Nordic region will become a major testbed for adaptive learning products. I hope our project will discover a number of Nordic EdTech startups that may also be targeting this hot area.
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