EdSurge On Air Extra: The Next Big Thing in Finnish Education?

EdSurge On Air Extra: The Next Big Thing in Finnish Education?

Finland has not been the most "digital" of education systems. But that may be changing, suggests John Martin, chief executive of Sanoma Learning, which lays claim to being continental Europe's biggest pure-play education company. 

Martin stopped by the EdSurge offices recently to chat about digital learning, Finland and, yes, Sanoma's recent coup: Top marks for its edtech program, Bingel, which was recently named Educational Learning Resources Award at the London Book Fair and is used by 75% of primary students in Belgium. 

Sanoma, which has annual revenue of 300 million Euros ($335 million), is also on top of one of the emerging trends in Finnish education, "phenomenon-based learning," which is emerging as Finland introduces a new National Curriculum Framework in August 2016. Instead of teaching lessons through individual subjects such as math or language arts, phenomenon-based learning focuses on theme--say global warming--and then pulls together resources from a variety of subjects to support student learning and exploration. 

At the top of Sanoma's priority list: teachers. "Teachers are the killer app," Martin declares. He describes how Sanoma relies on a network of "reference schools" as it develops new products. 

And Bingel? Martin has plans to roll it out internationally--but not where you might expect. Here are all the details.

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