Building a vibrant community
By Eilif Trondsen: Curator of the WLS 2016 Entrepreneurship Workshop
We hope to have strong Nordic EdTech representation at WLS2016 in Kristiansand, so we can continue the Nordic EdTech Network (http://net.futurelearninglab.org/) dialog and exploration of Nordic Edtech issues face-to-face (F2F) with anyone who is either part of the Nordic EdTech ecosystem, or interested in these types of issues and developments.
As you will see when you visit our project website, the project—funded by Nordic Innovation (http://www.nordicinnovation.org/)—is a continuation and expansion of our Nordic Edupreneuring project from 2012/2013. That project found lots of interesting things happening on the Nordic EdTech scene, but also found everyone to be very keen on connecting with others EdTech colleagues in other Nordic countries, so they could share experiences and discuss various issues, trends and challenges ahead.
Very briefly, this is some of what we are planning for the project:
- Profiling the existing Nordic EdTech landscape. For this, we need details on the players in each of the Nordic countries. We are just now launching this work, but we are happy to share some of the data we currently have—http://net.futurelearninglab.org/nordic-edtech-companies-work-in-progress/—so you can see what we have and (hopefully) let us know what corrections/deletions/additions we need to make. We look forward to hearing from you.
- Examining Nordic Industry Dynamics. This kind of analysis will, of course, require much more data and information about the Nordic EdTech companies, so we can not only understand their evolution so far, but also start exploring what may lie ahead.
- Provide EdTech Insights. We will do this in many ways, including via our blog, our podcasts (with interviews of prominent EdTech entrepreneurs from the Nordics and Silicon Valley, as well as other EdTech ecosystem players, such as insightful analysts). We will also have webinars with the same kind of players, and these webinars will give attendees a chance to interact with the speakers.
- Encouraging and Enabling Nordic EdTech Interaction. Some of this will happen via our website, but we will also hopefully also have a number of (physical) F2F events, including at upcoming conferences in the Nordics, including WLS2016, of course.
- Use Our Project to Create a Sustainable Nordic EdTech Community. Although our project lasts only through the year, we are confident that one or more of a number of highly qualified organizations—including, of course, the Future Learning Lab—will be able to take over leadership and guidance of the network at the conclusion of our project.
We look greatly forward to the year ahead and the work we will be involved in and the many insights we will hopefully generate as our data and understanding of the Nordic EdTech industry improves. And it will be interesting to look back and compare this year’s findings to what we learned in the Nordic Edupreneuring project. Just briefly, here are some of the conclusions from that project, which I presented at the Future Learning Lab conference in 2013 at University of Agder (UiA) in 2013:
- Almost 60% or the companies that participated in our survey characterized themselves as focusing on game-based learning, followed by mobile learning and online learning tools
- Most companies targeted multiple market segments—including K12, HE, Kindergarten, corporate and public sector—but such multi-sector targeting is usually highly problematic
- Similarly, most companies also targeted countries in Europe, North America and Asia—another VERY challenging strategy (that risks running out of funds very rapidly)
While the project team is very knowledgeable about EdTech and the Nordic region, the project analysis and insights we generate during the year will be very much stronger if we gain strong participation from all of you, many of whom are on the front lines of the Nordic EdTech industry–nationally, regionally and globally. Hearing about your experiences and having others pitch in and comment on what you experience, see and hear will help grow the collective strength of the Nordic EdTech community as well as the strength of individual players. We look forward to hearing from you and interacting with you in various ways in 2016 and beyond.