Last month, et.lakes celebrated its official Kick-off event. The big event happened in one of our main partners premises, the Kitee Evangelical Folk High School. The et.lakes team, guests, some of our partners and friends got to Kitee on Sunday to enjoy a relaxing messdeck in the installations. Before that, several groups started to get together to discuss new ideas and projects. One of the most important things for et.lakes being worked in Kitee was an European proposal that wants to change the role of the university and companies in preparing new students and researchers in the fields of educational technology. The proposal has now been submitted and we eagerly wait for the result. We have titled it Real Life Innovations for Educational Challenges, or REALEDU. The title reflects how the project will bring researchers and entrepreneurs to interact with communities in real life scenarios, and co-create the future educational solutions.
However, that work was not the reason of our visit to Kiite. We had a full day of interesting talks and great discussions at the Kick-Off. First of all, we presented the plan ahead for et.lakes, including the coming Joensuu Entrepreneurship Society event at this year's SciFest. As you can see from the document we have a busy schedule for the next years. The roadmap presented was similar to the one presented at the [Expert Panel] in Helsinki, and included the three main goals for et.lakes in the next 5 years: to have commercial edtech products in the market, North Karelia as a hub for edtech, and an international presence of the et.lakes brand.
Next, we got to the real life action. Antti Vikman gave us a quick message on the path to success (tip: it is not straight), and later presented/pitched/demoed the iPad app his organization, Kausama Education is working on (and looking for funding). One possibility that was presented in the Kick-Off was the Open Education Challenge, which is contest set up to incubate and mentor the 10 most promising educational technologies start-ups. Montse Delgado, from the organization, presented via Skype the main ideas behind the competition and answered the questions from the audience. One month later the challenge has been quite successful with 611 companies taking part in the contest. Only 2 from Finland, but at least one of them is our partner Ubium.
From Jyväskylä we got Melissa Plath that presented another possibility for funding. This time from the European Union and in the form of research grants for big projects. UniPID, through the project FinnCEAL is coordinating the efforts to get the Finnish voice heard in the call preparations and in the quality of the Finnish proposals. Her presentation is available and full of information and resources.
Finally, we got another hint of the real life when Mikko Rajala, of Confidante and Chief Consultant at QPR, talked about his times at Nokia and its example for future companies: what rises fast can fall faster!
Watch this space for future et.lakes' activities and follow us in twitter for all kinds of relevant information: funding opportunities, events in Finland and abroad, and, of course, the activities of our partners. Next we will write on the upcoming Oppi Festival and the et.lakes expedition.