#246 – Innovation in early years
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What’s in this episode?
In this episode, I’m in conversation with:
- Nathalie Lesselin, Founder and CEO, Kokorolingua, from Switzerland
- Marie Mérouze, CEO Marbotic, from France
- Sari Hurme-Mehtälä, Founder CEO, Kide Science, from Finland
- Dominika Gyanyi , Head of Education, BookrKids, from Hungary
We talk about:
- The challenge and opportunity of technology in early years, and how to bring it back to hands-on learning
- The opportunity to leverage popular culture and storytelling in early years learning
- Developing an inherent love of learning without reliance on gamification
This is episode four from our new series with the Female Edtech Fellowship, a collaboration between the European Edtech Alliance and Supercharger Ventures to support the growth of the most promising female founders in Europe.
Nathalie Lesselin, Founder and CEO, Kokorolingua, from Switzerland
Passionate about international development and communication, Nathalie lived for 5 years in Japan, learning the language and communicating in Japanese daily. She proved her worth in large conglomerates (LVMH, Gucci), then demonstrated her ability to help with the transformation of a French start-up in the medical sector which became a national leader. Her strong points are to come up with new perspectives, synthesise best practices and surround herself with experts to deliver a complete and relevant vision. Mother of 2 boys, she is passionate about education and early language learning. Gold Medal Concours Lepine Paris 2018, Finalist at BETT AWARDS London 2019 and 2020, Best primary resource in Dubai 2020, top 14 EdTech founders to follow 2022.
Marie Mérouze, CEO Marbotic, from France
While parents and teachers expressed concern over the amount of screen-time children are allowed on devices, Marie asked the question — how can we transform the iPad into a tool for pre-school learning? Thus, she founded Marbotic in 2012, with the ambition of reconciling digital and tangible early learning toys. By combining old-school wooden toys and applications on a touch-sensitive tablet, the company enjoys an interesting position in some countries, such as the Netherlands, where 70% of first grade classes work with Marbotic’s products. Since the past two years Apple has been distributing Marbotic’s games in all its physical stores. Marie is the Chairwoman of Nouvelle-Aquitaine Amorçage — a unique indirect and non-dilutive equity financing tool to promote the development of innovative companies in the New Aquitaine region in Southern France. She herself received an honorary loan from them at her beginnings in 2014.
Sari Hurme-Mehtälä, Founder CEO, Kide Science, from Finland
Sari Hurme-Mehtälä, CEO & Co-founder of Kide Science, has 15 years of business experience globally and locally in media, retail, design, ICT & Education. She has worked in marketing and sales positions within large companies including Samsung but felt that she wants to do something more meaningful, especially with children, after becoming a mother of two little scientists. Kide Science founder Jenni Vartiainen began researching science education of 3-6-years-old children at the University of Helsinki in Finland. The empirical part of her study called for setting up a science club. Researcher Jenni Vartiainen, teacher Aino Kuronen and business person Sari Hurme-Mehtälä founded Kide Science due to the huge demand brought about by the popularity of this new innovative pedagogical model & engaging science lessons. Now Kide Science is growing globally with teachers, caregivers and partners. Kide Science started it’s commercial business in Finland from December 2017. Kide Science’s research-led pedagogy has helped them to win paying customers in 30 countries with 1000+ preschools. Kide Science team has also produced book series with Sanoma and a TV show on YLE, Finland’s national public service broadcaster. In 2022, Kide has partnered with DreamWorks Animation and its hit Netflix series Gabby’s Dollhouse to give young scientists cat-tastic themed lesson plans to encourage playful, engaging and inquiry-based learning.
Dominika Gyanyi, Head of Education, BookrKids, from Hungary
A tech-savy educator and child psychologist. She is managing the BOOKR Class educational team to put educational aspects into the work of all departments, and to ensure that all the content produced by BOOKR meets the highest possible educational quality standards, and displays cultural, gender, religion, ethnicity, and nationality sensitivity.
Sophie is the founder of the iTunes new and noteworthy, The Edtech Podcast. The mission of The Edtech Podcast is to improve the dialogue between ‘ed’ and ‘tech’ for better innovation, through storytelling. The podcast is downloaded from over 145 countries with the UK, US & Aus in the top 3. Sophie has spoken and moderated at a variety of events including SXSW EDU, Yidan Education Prize, ASU GSV Summit, and the Next Billion Edtech Summit. She is an industry mentor and advisor, a Reimagine Education, GESA Awards, Bett Awards and XPrize Adult Literacy judge, and previous Edtech50 and Edtech Digest winner.
Sophie is passionate about lifelong and everyday learning. If she’s not interviewing a University Vice-Chancellor, Edtech Investor, School Leader, or StartUp about education innovation, she’s engrossed in Teach Your Monster to Read or wrestling her lockdown baby. A keen cyclist, she has recently relocated to West Devon which she considers the English version of the Pyrenees. She is very lucky to work with a distributed team on The Edtech Podcast.
References from this week’s episode
- Edtech Next Summit, 24.-26 October in northwestern Germany
- Maritza Masiello of The Different Ways We Learn podcast
- EHL new student-designed campus
- Lego Foundation reports on early years
Thank you to this week’s sponsors
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