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On 24 April 2014 the Board of Directors of DIGILE approved EduTech as a new Business Ecosystem Programme and the first company groups for the business pilots have been formed. In the meeting education solutions were also highlighted as a focus area of ICT Alliance for year 2014. So far the EduTech Ecosystem has attracted around 20 companies at the Finnish side and there is growing interest in China and in joining EduTech, so we expect the number to reach 30 by end of 2014. The business pilots help to form relevant “clusters” around particular customer cases e.g. kindergartens, primary schools, high schools, universities, and vocational and professional education, where specific areas include transportation, senior care, and environmental issues.
The partners who have indicated interest in being involved in EduTech business pilots either as facilitators, customer or development partners in China include Beijing Normal University, East China Normal University, Wuhan AllKids Co., Ltd, CNIT – China Information Technology, Inc., BesTV and Shanghai Guofuguangqi Cloud Computing in China.
The first wave business pilot involves two pilot projects. DibiSchool is a pilot leader in the first EduTech Ecosystem launched in April 2014 and coordinated by DIGILE. DibiSchool partners with eOasis and Solution Space to serve the first pilot customer of TBD in China. As described by the company: “DibiSchool develops educational games for children for learning English with the lovable characters of the Dibidogs. The Dibidogs is an animation series with over 50 million viewers all around the world. In China, there are 14 channels showing the animation. Together with the pilot partners’ eOasis and Solutions Space, DibiSchool is creating new innovative services for Chinese kindergartens.”
The other pilot is in professional education in the transport area, more specifically for training airport personnel. This is a prime example of the training needs in a rapidly growing industry in China, where Finland has a good reputation. “Airport College International is dedicated to achieving optimum results for their clients operating in airline, airport handling and freight forwarding business. It provides a complete on-line training service for aviation and logistics industries. It takes part in pilot with partner of Context Learning and Neoxen.” The full range of web-based training programmes in safety, security and service topics comply with the regulations of international and national legislations and those established by governing bodies, such as the ICAO and IATA.
To complement the EduTech ecosystem that involves companies as partners, ICT Alliance has been preparing to launch an international EduTech Research Forum for involving universities and other relevant research actors, who are in charge of curriculum development, and guidelines. There are also discussions for setting up (joint) Cloud service in China ongoing to support joint R&D&I and pilots. In Finland the FORGE Service Lab is also now open as a relevant option for helping the development of “Education-as-a-Service” offerings.