The Nordic EdTech Scene: Part 2 — The Danish EdTech story
After giving an overview of Nordic’s EdTech scene in my earlier story: what makes EdTech in the Nordics click. Now I want to share with you Denmark’s story on its role in developing its EdTech sector.
The EdTech scene in Denmark is experiencing a rise in interest in the scope of learning technologies. Educational institutes, investors as well as the public sector all want to become a part of this boom.This is paving the way for innovative EdTech companies to blossom across the country.
According to Morten Amstrup, founder, EdTech Denmark, there are over 70 EdTech startups currently in Denmark, and 500 million DKK has been invested in educational technology companies in 2017 alone. Given the size of this humble nation, it’s a worthy feat.
Government playing a key role
The Danish minister of education, Merete Riisager has a vision of a high tech future in education. She believes that students must learn to be ‘creative makers’, and not just ‘users of technology’.
As a first step to achieve this, it’s now mandatory in all public schools to have courses in deep technological comprehension. Also, a major push is being made to make programming a mandatory subject, with more than 50 schools currently running test projects.
EdTech Denmark — connecting key players in Ed & Tech
EdTech Denmark was founded by Morten Amstrup. It all started in 2016 when Morten co-hosted the first ever Nordic EdTech Conference. The conference was a huge success, and it was clear that there was great interest in EdTech from all sides.
However, it was also clear that a joint EdTech community was needed. Morten learned from talking to 70 different educational institutions, that there was very little knowledge sharing regarding the usage and effect of different EdTech solutions.
This meant that a lot of educational institutions were missing out on new innovation, and it meant that institutions were using a lot of resources and energy on testing and validating the same EdTech tools and technologies.
Today we have faster adaptation of new EdTech tools, which is a big win for both schools and new innovative EdTech companies. We still believe that we can close the gap further, and even quickly come to the stage where close co-creation between EdTech companies and educational institutions becomes the norm for new EdTech solutions!
EdTech Denmark Role
The role is to bridge the gap between teachers, students, parents, leaders, politicians, investors, and researchers who are interested in improving learning through the use of technology.
- Fostering cross-fertilizing collaboration between different sectors and institutions, through events, projects, newsletters and online networks.
- Identifying the latest research and the most relevant local and global news to the EdTech Denmark members
If you’re interested in EdTech then reach out to Morten Amstrup at EdTech Denmark.
Challenges EdTech companies face in Denmark
- Slow adaptation process: The Average lead time i.e. from identifying a new potential educational institution, and until the deal is signed, is 18 months in Denmark. This means that a lot of new EdTech companies simply go belly up because they run out of cash before they have a steady income.
- EdTech being misunderstood: There are too many different Danish terms for EdTech, which makes it hard to navigate in the field for everyone. Very few educators have ever heard of the term “EdTech”. So the term itself needs to be consolidated and brought to the forefront within the educational sphere. Also, the EdTech sector needs to be better defined as a separate field.
- Tenders and lock-in periods: All LMS systems have to be put to public tender every three or five years, which means that all parties use a lot of resources on facilitating this. Not to mention that once a new system is chosen, then the actual adaptation and internal education of the new systems begins.
Opportunities for local and international EdTech companies in Denmark
- High adaptation level of EdTech: Most educational institutions in Denmark use EdTech solutions in their daily activities. Some more than others of course, but generally speaking very few are discouraged.
- Willingness to purchase: Relatively large amounts of funds for acquiring new EdTech solutions in many schools is a fact.
- Availability of funding: There is a relatively large amount of funds available for EdTech companies in Denmark. There is a lot of “free money” available through a government scheme, a lot of angel investors and some early stage VC firms.
The future of EdTech Denmark is bright, and there are many promising collaboration opportunities with other Nordic countries. For instance, through the Nordic EdTech Alliance.
With already high standards of education in Denmark and impressive levels of technological adaptation and innovation, its potential is quite astonishing.
Yet, there is still some way to go until the EdTech scene in Denmark will have a truly coherent and fully flourishing national EdTech ecosystem. But it looks like it’s only going one way from here, and that’s forward!
Enjoyed reading? We’ll soon be back to tell you the story of another Nordic nation as an EdTech superpower. Any guesses? ;)
Do you have a story to tell? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to share it on our blog!