Monthly Archives: October 2015

And the #oiw2015 #edtechdagen Winner is… WeWantToKnow


Band jamming on #edtechdagen main stage

I had the honor to join the jury of an edtech startup pitching event held during the Oslo Innovation Week 2015. Edtech – The Norwegian Classroom had several interesting companies presenting their offerings.

The pitching event itself had thirteen companies giving three minute talks. The range was broad, both in the sense of products and the companies themselves. Even though we call all of them startups, some have been around for a while and have millions of users, whereas others are very new. This made the jury work not so easy.

Nevertheless, we had to pick one winner, who as a prize gets to pitch at Oslo Innovation Week’s 100 pitches during Norwegian Investment Forum later during the week. Unlike this edtech pitch, that will be a more general event having startups from other industry domains, too. So finally, the winner is…

WeWantToKnow, an educational games provider. Congratulations! I have written about their crazy cool Dragonbox game already before, during another startup competition.

As for the rest of the cool companies who presented, check:

Asio, a developer of educational games.

Avantador, who brings technology of all kinds to schools.

Clarify, provider of language learning tools.

Conexus, a learning analytics company.

Creaza, a company providing 21st century skills -related tools.

Edtech Foundry

Edtech Foundry (who also participated Pitching Night couple of weeks ago in Helsinki), a student engagement enabler.

Inspera, an assessment company.

Kikora, an enabler of adaptive learning.

Lærerportalen, a portal for teachers to reach and share learning materials.

mYoutime, a skill development tool for employees.


Edify, a student-teacher community builder.

Kahoot!, classroom quiz tool.

Big up for all of the above!


Half a billion reasons to love bingel

John Martin, the CEO of Sanoma Learning, outlines the current status of Bingel. We are indeed just now rolling it out in Finland, starting this school year with 3rd grade mathematics and mother tongue & literature. Fall 2016 onwards, as Finland has the curriculum reform, we’ll introduce more grade levels and new subjects to Bingel. Super excited about this! Here’s me presenting Bingel last Friday in a learning games event in Helsinki:

John Richard Martin

Bingel-infographicBingel, a gamified learning platform, has become a runaway success. Since its launch by Van In in Flanders in 2011, pupils have completed more than 500 million exercises (that’s a lot, especially if you know how big Flanders is) and to mark this milestone they have created an infographic to open up some of the data around the impact of the platform.

Engagement is everything

What I really like about bingel is that pupils are motivated to use it: as with most endeavours, high motivation brings you further. 282,000 pupils at 79% of primary schools in Flanders use it. 9/10 pupls say they enjoy it whilst 9/10 teachers recommend it. Storification and gamification have made bingel attractive for pupils to use: 385 m of the 500 m exercises completed have been done at home. Now homework is fun! Interestingly, boys have done slightly more exercises than girls and I

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Kids Getting Their Primary Education on a Sailing Boat

This week we at Sanoma Pro* had the pleasure of having Tuomo Meretniemi presenting his upcoming Sail For Good project. In a nutshell: he is going to pack his family of wife and three children to a sailboat for six(!) years to go around the world. Take a look at this “teaser”:

If you are still reading this after the watching the video (and not gone sailing), allow me to outline some details about the expedition. I am of course most interested in the educational aspects, but first some numbers:

  • 6 years, 75 months: the trip will last from June 2016 until fall 2022
  • 6, 4, and 2: Tuomo’s children’s ages at the moment (so 12, 10, and 8 when they return)
  • 57′: the length of their boat in feet
  • ∞: how cool the project is
  • 75: the number of countries they plan to visit

Here the 75 countries are plotted on a route plan:

Sail For Good route

Tuomo outlining the Sail For Good route. Photo credits: Minna Tuorila.

Basically: they’ll start off from Turkey, cross the Mediterranean, then cross the Atlantic from Africa to Brazil, go around South America (but not around Cape Horn, there are some more Northern alternative routes), go West from Valparaiso to cross the Southern Pacific to Australia, then New Zealand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, South Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, up along the East Coast of the US, UK, and to the Baltic Sea and finally the market square in Helsinki. And many other countries in between. Phew!

They are going to take their time and spend weeks or even months in selected ports. During those visits the children can take part in local Finnish schools, when such are available. The educational plan is also to focus on the current surroundings. To quote Tuomo: “When in Rio de Janeiro, we are not going to concentrate so much on ancient Roman history”.

The children are going to build networks in the ports they visit, with local pupils and teachers. However, due to the nature of the expedition, the family has to move on. The formed communities will probably live on virtually as the anchors go up and the family sets sail for a new location. In addition, they intend to keep contact with schools in Finland throughout the trip.

Even though their boat is quite spacious, it is still a boat. So the family thinks carefully what to pack. The kids have to make choices on what toys to bring along. This also applies to educational materials. Family Meretniemi is going to pilot digital materials and tools in learning. I for one am very interested in following how the trip turns out. Should you be as well, here are some good places to start:

* Sanoma Pro is one partner in the Sail For Good project.