657-admin - 02.04.18

Oslo! Sweet edtech haven

A royal boost

Did you know that students who write their notes on paper actually learn more compared to their fellow students who take more complete notes on laptops? This is one thing the British Royal Couple Prince William & Kate Middleton learned on a high-profile visit to Oslo earlier this year, as they spoke to the founders of reMarkable, a paper-like sketching tablet. According to the company, their tablet was chosen “to demonstrate the technology and our evolved writing experience, and to discuss the future of paper with the monarchies”.  The Remarkable has been selling like hotcakes and has rounded 50,000 sold units.

Other edtech companies invited to demonstrate their technology to the royals included:

  • Norwegian Chess World Champion Magnus Carlsen showed his popular chess training app
  • No Isolation showcased their robot, created to reduce loneliness of sick children
  • MotiTech showcased their product which aids people suffering from dementia

Smash hit Kahoot looks for revenue

The poster-child of Oslo EdTech is undoubtedly Kahoot, the smash hit app that allows teachers to create online tests for their students. Co-founder Johan Brand told the Guardian the app’s success is down to its ability to create an inclusive classroom: “All of a sudden being expressive and loud is seen as positive,” he said, adding that the technology brings students together, rather than isolating them.

Despite having a reported 50 million monthly users, the company is now looking to the corporate market to raise its revenues. The corporate training solution named Kahoot Plus will allow companies to create private, branded quizzes, from which trainers can track progress data.

“Corporate training spend has grown to over $70 billion in 2016 in the United States alone and Kahoot already had corporate customers including at 25 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. Now they will be better served and monetized,” according to TechCrunch.

Less tradition, more innovation

Brand is one of the board members of the Oslo EdTech Cluster, a business network established to support development, commercialization and export of Norwegian educational technologies. They work closely with IKT-Norge, the interest group for Norway’s ICT industry, which has put the development of better learning through digital tools on top of the agenda for many years.

IKT-Norge’s Managing Director Heidi Austlid is vocal about importance of accelerating the process. “The school is based too much on tradition, and too little on innovation. Teachers don’t feel confident with digital tools. There is nothing wrong with the use of traditional schoolbooks, but we need to expand the teachers´ knowledge of educational technology when choosing different digital tools”.

Putting the game into business education

Another member of Oslo EdTech specializing in making education fun is Hubro Education. Following the success of their Business Simulation game, the company has launched a marketing-focused simulation, which they tested with 249 students at Oslo University College.

Co-founder Emil Johan Oliver said the test was a major confidence boost: “After the five-hour test, the students passed their judgement: an overwhelming 92.6% voted that the college should continue using the simulation in the marketing management course.”

Break your digital addiction – go digital

While Kahoot and Hubro encourage the use of digital tools, another Oslo EdTech startup has an entirely different focus. The Hold app helps university students to break their smartphone addition, by rewarding them for ignoring their mobile phones with money saving offers from major brands including Coca Cola, Microsoft, and Scandinavian Airlines.

The Education Technology blog reported that Hold has over 120,000 users across Scandinavia and “is poised to revolutionize how school, college, and university students combat ‘brain drain’. Schools and colleges whose students didn’t use mobile phones during school time reported a 62% increase in productivity amongst their pupils, according to Ohio University research.”

The company has set its sights beyond Scandinavia, with a recent launch at more than 170 universities all across the UK, where they’ve received strong media interest. Positive reinforcement and encouragement are far more effective at changing behaviour than being told what to do, Hold’s co-founder Maths Mathisen told the Independent. “With the Hold app’s marketplace, we want to reward users for not using their phone, rather than punish them.”