The first of several rounds of funding for projects aimed at increasing the use of IT in Danish schools has just ended, giving 19 projects a total of $1.132.751 in funding. In total, the Danish government has allocated $5.66 million in funding, which is to be handed out to projects throughout 2015 and 2016.
The projects that received funding were chosen by a jury consisting of people from the industry, the educational sector, and the research sector, and the interest in the first round of funding was more than overwhelming, with the jury receiving 85 applications within the deadline.
A wide variety of projects applied for the funding, but equal for all of them is that the funding they seek fall within the category of either idea development or market development / research for projects that can help increase the use of IT in schools.
“The Ministry of Education’s funding scheme for innovative digital learning materials is an important step to get more digital learning materials into Danish schools – and from there on onto the international market.”, Sofie Filt Læntver, development and project lead for SOLID at Interactive Denmark tells Nordic Game Bits.
The use of digital learning materials in Danish schools is a hot topic these days, with another project, Skolen i Spil, also recently receiving $600.000 from the Egmont foundation to research game-based pedagogy.
And according to Sofie Filt Læntver, the increased focus on digital learning materials is a natural next step for both the games industry and the educational system. A step that is brought to life by an industry full of creative game developers.
“The future for innovative digital learning materials, where playfulness and games-based learning is central in supporting a new learning culture in danish schools, looks bright. Especially when you combine Denmark’s didactical practice with the existing creative game developers.”.
Interactive Denmark, the industry organization that Læntver works for, has been actively collaborating with several political stakeholders throughout 2014, working towards bringing more funding to the area of digital learning materials. Part of this included setting 8 objectives for innovative digital learning materials together with a group of small Danish game developers and stakeholders.
The very first objective was to bring more production funding to the area so that more products could become available for school teachers. Something that this first round of funding has successfully helped on the way.
The full list of projects that received funding can be found here (the list is only available in Danish), and includes a description of each project and the company working on the project.
For future applicants or developers who are interested in developing interactive solutions for schools, Læntver also has a couple of suggestions that are worth considering before starting the project.
“Think local – and think International from the start! As for any other product, developers of digital learning materials must think of the customer. In this case, teachers, children and perhaps parents. Furthermore, you must have knowledge about the specific didactical practice and school curriculum for the target group. On top of that, you need to think international from the start if you want a sustainable business. It is very difficult to make a sustainable business with a product only targeting the Danish school system, but internationally the market potential is growing.”