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Digital maths from Denmark to Norway

Alinea sells digital educational materials to TV 2 Skole Norway. Digital learning tools are the future.

Maths problems involving fractions, equations and percentages always resemble each other – whether you’re sweating over them in Oslo or Copenhagen. They may be posed in different languages, but the basic elements are the same whatever the country, which is why the new partnership between the Alinea educational publisher and TV 2 Norway regarding the sale of digital educational materials makes good sense. TV 2’s educational portal, TV 2 Skole, has bought content from Alinea’s mathematics system MaxiMat, a digital tool for teaching maths in primary and lower secondary schools. Alinea’s publishing director is thrilled about the deal with TV 2 Skole:

‘We’ve poured vast resources into digital learning tools in Denmark, which is at the international vanguard, partly thanks to the state support we’ve received, which has accelerated the development. We’ve worked full tilt at Alinea and are pleased that others can benefit from the value we’ve created, as well as that we can earn money from it,’ says Alinea’s managing director, Cliff Hansen, about the partnership.

Norwegian TV 2 Skole is both a publisher and a news channel that produces weekly news programmes for children, youth, adults, asylum seekers and refugees. It also produces customised learning tools.

‘We develop new maths learning tools ourselves. These are so-called adaptive learning tools where the content the pupils receive matches the answers they give. But the project lacks the funds to produce a complete set of resources including assignments and activities. So we’re delighted that we could buy this content from MaxiMat,’ says Yngvar Nordberg, day-to-day manager at TV 2 Skole.

TV 2 Skole buys text, illustrations and animations for maths pupils in the oldest classes. The MaxiMat content is a good fit with TV 2 Skole’s projects and requirements, says Yngvar Nordberg:

‘It has to suit the pupils who have difficulties with maths and need a practical approach to the subjects. The way a maths problem is worded is what’s most important, not the number of problems,’ says Yngvar Nordberg.

Two-way partnership
TV 2 Skole already has several other digital learning tools in its portfolio, where Alinea equally found something of interest.

‘TV 2 Skole has also produced teaching materials with animations, primarily for use in religious instruction, which go well with our programme. So we’ve agreed to buy some of their material for teaching religion,’ says Cliff Hansen.

Yngvar Nordberg is also excited about this agreement:

‘We believe we can collaborate broadly with Alinea. The languages are very similar, as are the teaching methods, and I think the cultures can be mutually enriching,’ he says.

In the long term, Cliff Hansen hopes the collaboration with TV 2 Skole will expand further and that similar partnerships can be established with other publishers elsewhere in the world. A specific example is Alinea’s sale of maths content to a major Swedish publisher.  

Digital teaching is the future
Good digital learning tools give pupils a chance to solve problems in new ways that involve and engage them and thus enhance their learning. And digital learning tools are the future.

The competition for the Norwegian school market will escalate in the years after 2019, when primary and lower secondary schools are due to receive new teaching plans. TV 2 Skole aims to win a large slice of the digital market, and it will have to develop its portfolio rapidly to become a market player to be reckoned with. Developing high-quality educational material is time- and resource-intensive, so buying ready-produced content and simply translating it is an efficient approach.     

‘The news and publishing cultures couple well in the education field, and Egmont has some unique factors that give it a competitive edge in the school market,’ says Yngvar Nordberg.

In Denmark Alinea is streamlining all its digital content in portals that give teachers and pupils alike easy, user-friendly access to digital units with a uniform expression. Alinea aims to cover all subjects taught in primary and lower secondary schools in a single portal by January 2018. The international progress made by Denmark and Alinea is in large part due to the Danish state’s investment of DKK 500 million in the area over a four-year period.

‘In Denmark the total market for learning materials in primary and lower secondary schools is around DKK 300-350 million. About DKK 200 million annually goes towards digital learning tools. That’s a crazy amount of money. This has been a catalyst for the Danish market, because every producer wants to have products on the shelves,’ says Cliff Hansen.

Alinea has felt the effects of this market acceleration. Over the past 18 months, the publishing company’s digital arm has brought about 20 new employees on board.

Facts about TV 2 Skole
TV 2 Skole produces news programmes for the following target groups: primary and lower secondary schools, youth schools, further education and adult education. TV 2 Skole also broadcasts Norwegian news in six minority languages.
All broadcasts have a related set of assignments and various activities, and TV 2 Skole has updated teaching plans in maths; Norwegian; social studies; Christianity, religion, life perspectives and ethics (KRLE); and natural science.
Before the summer holiday TV 2 Skole was granted funding via the state budget for a new initiative to boost Norwegian language instruction by providing news to recent refugee arrivals, asylum seekers and immigrants with short residence permits.

Facts about Alinea
Alinea is Denmark’s leading and largest educational publisher for primary schools. Since 1996 Alinea has produced printed and digital teaching materials to help teachers create a good learning environment. Alinea is part of the Lindhardt og Ringhof publishing house and employs more than 100 staff.