Two ecosystems in exchange: UK-Austria EdTech Exchange
A quarter of all European EdTechs are British. This makes the UK the largest EdTech hotspot in Europe. So it makes sense for an up-and-coming Austrian EdTech network to join forces with the British. This is what happened on March 12, 2021 at the UK-Austria EdTech Exchange: “Realising the Potential of Technology in Education”, where Austrian and British players on the EdTech market came together for a network meeting.
In his welcome address, British Ambassador Leigh Turner emphasized the importance of EdTech in the economy: “In 2020, the British EdTech market grew by 72 percent, currently estimated at 3.5 billion pounds. EdTech can help address the challenges schools and universities face now in the Covid crisis and will continue to face in the future.”
Three main components of the U.K.’s EdTech strategy
Vipul Bhargava of the U.K. Department of International Trade went into more detail about the U.K.’s EdTech strategy. “Three components are at the forefront: students, teachers and school leadders and the EdTech industry.” Among other things, this involves providing students with flexible and easily accessible solutions for lifelong learning. EdTech applications can relieve teachers of administrative work, for example, so that they can concentrate fully on teaching and on their students. Industry is supported with funding, test environments and networking groups, among other things. The basis for the EdTech strategy is the expansion of digital infrastructure. This point came into focus during the Covid crisis.
The Austrian 8-point plan for digital education.
“In all our measures, we want to focus on the learning success of the students,” says Iris Rauskala from the Austrian Ministry of Education, explaining the 8-point plan for digital teaching. As in the UK, a central point is the expansion of the school IT infrastructure and the provision of digital devices for students and teachers, which has become all the more important in the Corona crisis. Communication and administration channels are to be simplified and standardized in the schools, among other things with the use of the “Portal Digital School”. Training courses are to prepare the teaching staff for digital teaching.
Personalized, playful and immersive
In a commercial panel, British and Austrian EdTech providers presented their applications. Gamification, personalized learning and immersive learning is the focus of all providers. “For children to be motivated and stimulated, analog textbooks are no longer enough. Digital solutions for immersive learning are needed,” Arkadi Jeghiazaryan, founder of the Viennese startup Areeka, is convinced.
As in the UK, the EdTech market in Austria has received a major boost from the Covid crisis. There are currently about a hundred EdTech companies in Austria. They have been supported by EdTech Austria since November. “We want to establish a vibrant ecosystem that benefits from a strong network and test environments, among other things,” explains Hannes Aichmayr, project manager of EdTech Austria. “The UK-Austria EdTech Exchange was a good start for this, where both sides could benefit from the expertise of the other.”
The online event was hosted by the British Embassy in Vienna, the British Department of Trade and Industry, EdTech Austria and Advantage Austria, the foreign trade organization of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. Sophie Bailey, founder of the EdTech Podcast, moderated the event.
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