Estonia offers its digital education solutions for free to support other countries

Estonia announced it is willing to share all its digital education tools to support other countries’ education systems during the coronavirus crisis. 

The initiative is supported by Startup Estonia and co-organised with the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, the Estonian Union of Educational Technologists, the Good Deed Education Fund, Innove (an education competence centre), the Information Technology Foundation for Education and Education Nation.

As of 16 March, all school buildings in Estonia are closed and teaching and learning have been moved entirely online. 

“During the COVID-19 outbreak, digital schooling is the only option,” Mart Laidmets, the secretary general of the Estonian ministry of education and research, said in a statement. “In Estonia, we make ICT work for education, we have a number of solutions that fully support distance learning. We are ready to share Estonia’s best practices and solutions with the countries in need. After all, providing education is essential for a sustainable society,” he added.

A set of tools

Due to Estonia’s general adoption of digital technologies, its education sector has a set of tools that support remote learning. The tools are typically co-created between schools, universities and companies.

“A number of tools is prepared for international usage and the companies developing those tools have also kindly agreed to support other countries in need,” Märt Aro, a cofounder of the European EdTech Alliance, said. “The aim of this initiative is to support distance learning and work in the education sector during this time of crisis. The aim of these solutions is to increase the social aspect of distance learning and do their best to motivate learners.”

Currently, companies like 99math.com, Lingvist.com, Clanbeat.com, Speakly.me, ALPA Kids, and DreamApply.com have joined the initiative to offer their solutions for free. A complete list of internationally accessible solutions which have joined this initiative, is available here and will be updated over time.

Examples of solutions

  • M​ath platform 99math.com has developed a special version to bring learners together virtually is making it free to use and will organise daily webinars for teachers.
  • European-leading online student admission solution DreamApply.com is launching a rapidly deployable (2-3 days) digital admission and remote work system for higher education institutions with free usage this spring and summer.
  • Language-learning application Lingvist.com is opening up its platform to schools for free until the end of the school year throughout the enforced home schooling that has come as a result of the turbulent times caused by the coronavirus.
  • Virtual teachers’ room Clanbeat.com is offering its services for free until the end of the school year and will organise webinars to help schools engender strong virtual communities among their school staff.
  • Tutor.id connects tutors and students in all subjects – school-related or soft skills. To help fight COVID-19, Tutor.id has waived all its fees until the end of the school year.
  • Childcare software Eliis is offering free subscription and online training until the end of summer for all kindergartens who wish to start using ELIIS.
  • Innovative language-learning application Speakly.me is opening its web and mobile applications up to schools for free until the end of the school year.
  • eKool, a school management system, is offering a free subscription for new schools until the end of the school year.
  • ALPA Kids, an early education learning platform, is also offering its content for free. They are also happy to do localisation for any country with a suitable partner.

For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.

Cover: Schoolchildren using computers at an Estonian school. Photo by Aivo Kallas.

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