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Fact Finding Mission EdTech 2019

2. April 2019

Gamification, Game-Based-Learning, Virtual & Augmented Reality Fact Finding Mission to Finland and Denmark. Virtual Learning Places and the Digital Augmentation of Learning

Technical development is progressing rapidly, also in the area of education. A densely packed agenda awaited the 18 experts from Austria, who used the Fact Finding Mission EdTech in Finland and Denmark from March 11th to 13th, organized in cooperation with our sister office in Helsinki, to gain a deeper insight into the know-how of the Nordic EdTech scene and to connect with local stakeholders and actors. In real life, but also in a virtual and playful manner, they got to know the Nordic EdTech scenes, they were able to search for molecules in LABSTER's Virtual Laboratory, complete a Lego Serious Play training session, learn how to use a nanoparticle safety spray at the Danish Company Virsabi or learn more about Helsinki's history through augmented reality.

Denmark is known as a traditional pioneer in digitization, so it is not surprising that the integration of digital solutions at Danish schools and universities is also at a very high level. An exciting item on the agenda was therefore the visit to the University of Roskilde and its Center for Virtual Learning Technologies . It is the first European university to use Virtual Reality in their science education courses. With the support of the Danish Ministry of Science and Higher Education of EUR 2.7 million, they launched a new project to develop virtual learning technologies and to show ways and means of applying these new technologies in education and teaching. The technology originates from the Danish company Labster , which wants to improve science education, research and the alignment with labor market requirements and scientific and engineering core competencies, using 3D simulations, game-based learning techniques and real-life scenarios in virtual reality. As the first international delegation, the participants had the chance to get a life demo of the VR experience and to discuss and exchange views on the project and possible research collaborations with Søren Larsen, head of the Center for Virtual Learning Technologies, and Prajakt Pande, Post-doc, Department of People and Technology, who provided the group with an exciting lecture on the theoretical assumptions and theories, underlying the use of virtual reality in education.

The first day in Copenhagen was fully packed and started with an introduction by Mathias Lund Schjøtz, Co-Founder EdTech Denmark, to the Danish EdTech landscape and its representative association EdTech Denmark , who provides a network for professionals from all sectors involved or interested in educational technology within Denmark. The Austrian delegation was mainly impressed by the close collaboration and connection between the different actors as well as the unified attempt of all stakeholders to drive the Danish EdTech agenda forward, not least by providing a demand for solutions on a national level. The morning session consisted of expert presentations on the topic of Gamification, Play based Learning and Effective Workplace Learning with input from practical experience and research. Rajiv Vaid Basaiawmoit, Head of SciTech Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Aarhus , gave an introduction to gamification from a scientific and practical view. Leif Sørensen, CEO and Founder of Actee , surprised the audience with a hands on demonstration of their take on effective workplace learning through simulation games for change management and leadership development. Esben Trier, COO at CanopyLab , talked about personalized and adaptive learning experiences and what role artificial intelligence (AI) will play in the future, while Helle Rootzén, Professor in Learning Technology and Digitalization and Head of learnT - Centre for Digital Learning Technology, Technical University of Denmark , spoke about developing efficient and engaging learning technologies and her experience from implementing technology in practice. In the subsequent panel discussion, the diverse background of the speakers led to a stimulating debate, that engaged the delegation and continued well into the lunch break. By putting Lego bricks into the hands of the participants, the afternoon session with Kåre Bach Kristiansen provided a contrast to the digital future of gamification. The aim was to give the participants an introduction into LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP), an innovative problem solving, communication, creativity and prototyping method, and challenge them with hands-on exercises and reflection sessions on the Fact Finding Mission and their impressions and experiences.

In addition, the participants were able to gain further inspiration during their visit to Virsabi , who works with VR technology across multiple applications, from remote assist to onboarding to education and training. The company advises companies on the use of VR, AR and MR and develops technical concepts and applications for clients, also in the field of HR in connection with recruitment, onboarding, training, education, corporate culture, etc. While Berit Verndrup shared her technical expertise and experience about using VR in Education and Learning, CEO Michael Harboe emphasized the creation of immersion and presence through the correct application of VR technology and was proud to showcase a plethora of demo products and prototypes. This playground gave the participants the opportunity to experience and try various applications, demonstrating the possibilities, but also the limitations of VR and AR.  

The first day concluded with a visit to Aalborg University - Campus Copenhagen and their Center for Applied Game Research (CEAGAR), the Research Center for Creative and Immersive Learning Environments (RECREATE) as well as the SMILE LAB (Samsung Media Innovation lab for Education), where Henrik Schønau Fog, Lars Reng and Lisa Gjedde talked, among other things, about “technology fascination” and how it can be used to get students excited for STEM learning.

In summary, the fact finding mission provided a balanced theoretical and practical input, combined with insights into the Danish market. Furthermore, the trip gave the Austrian participants also a room to engage in discussions and conversations among each other and to discuss their impressions and experiences with one another. At the same time, it was interesting to see how the different actors, from public authorities, to educational institutions and tech companies work together to create future EdTech solutions, but also to create a local market for EdTech products, that supports this development.

Last modified
2. April 2019