E-stonia’ – world leader in education technology

| March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

The tiny Baltic state of Estonia – the birthplace of Skype and the most connected country in the world, offering 4G connectivity to even its most rural citizens – is emerging as an example for other nations when it comes to prioritising and implementing e-education.

The former USSR satellite state plans to offer its population 100 Mb/second connectivity five years ahead of the European Union (EU) in 2015. The government has also declared internet access a basic right, alongside access to water and electricity. Estonia’s rapid advances in technology can be attributed to political decisions made before and after independence, says the nation’s president, Toomas-Hendrik Ilves.

“Being a ward of the Soviet Union made it possible for us to train a competent generation of engineers and mathematicians.” After independence, the Tiger Leap Foundation was created to equip the 550 schools in Estonia with computers and internet connectivity and to train teachers intensively – tasks completed successfully in only a couple of years. Today, computer programming, or coding, is the bedrock of every school’s syllabus. Estonia’s e-success could not have occurred without the input of the private sector and, says Ilves, the story of Skype continues to inspire new generations of ‘web entrepreneurs’.

Three-dimensional printing enterprise, Grabcad, is the latest international sensation to hail from Estonia. It’s one of 150 tech start-up companies based in the capital city, Tallinn. These start-ups provide Estonia with 15% of its GDP. Others include Frostnova, a computer game for pre-schoolers based on Estonian folklore, and eKool, which directs all school-related information straight to families’ homes.

The Estonian education ministry has advice for other nations: first, consider your end goals, then train your teachers, then install technologies aligned to your curricular strategies and teacher skills, and evaluate on an ongoing basis. Officials also advise that schools teach children how to do quality web research, and how be consistently aware of internet dangers and ethics. 

Category: Autumn 2014, e-Education

About the Author ()

News posts added for Independent Education by Global Latitude DMA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *