The European EdTech Network – A Q&A with Milena Janowska

April 10, 2021

Milena Janowska is the Project Coordinator of the European EdTech Network

The European EdTech Network – A Q&A with Milena Janowska

Please can you let us know about your work and the European EdTech Network (EETN)?

The European EdTech Network (EETN) is a project funded by the European Commission. It is a strategic partnership between four excellent universities, actively supporting EdTech ecosystem through their research, case studies, new methodologies and supporting entrepreneurs in their journey at all stages. The four partners are University College London in the UK, Oulu University of Applied Science in Finland, KU Leuven in Belgium and IE University in Spain, where I work. IE, being the leading university, is responsible for project coordination and my role is to manage it and make sure that we will meet all the objectives that we assigned ourselves three years ago. The European EdTech Network is not only about the four partners though. At the moment, we have nine more Members, from all across Europe, sharing their expertise and very often joining forces in new projects. We organize closed events involving teaching staff, students and invited experts, networking meetings and knowledge-exchange sessions, during which we work together and learn from each other, believing that it makes much more sense to work together and ask for support, instead of losing time on trying to figure out something that our colleagues might have solved some time ago. This speeds up the process and allows for more evidence-based and quality educational technology in Europe.

What have been the greatest achievements of the European EdTech Network so far?

Two years ago, nobody heard of the European EdTech Network. We officially launched in London, during London EdTech Week 2019 and right now, we are known as a platform that brings together various relevant players in the field, supporting entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers and other professionals to boost their projects through international collaboration and knowledge exchange. What’s unique about EETN is that it is the only network of this kind, in Higher Education in Europe, bringing together not only experienced professionals but also young innovators and students from all across Europe. Some of our students, after joining our events, started working in international teams on new ideas and built relevant connections that they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

EETN Team

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the European EdTech sector?

We still have plenty to do when it comes to innovative education in Europe. My worry is that technology develops much faster than pedagogy and, for me, the biggest challenge for the European EdTech sector is that we will focus too much on Tech rather than Ed and forget that innovating for the sake of innovation itself shouldn’t be the main objective. Technology can solve many problems, but it’s important to really understand what the problem is and back up these fantastic technological solutions with evidence that supports education.

What three pieces of advice would you share with a start-up aiming to enter the European EdTech market?

Be humble and learn continuously. After all this time, working with different European countries, I am more convinced than ever, that talking about one European EdTech market is very difficult. Each country is very different, has different rules, polices and education is a field that has a very strong connection to each individual culture. You can’t apply the same strategy when entering the K-12 market in the UK, Italy and Poland. Each country will have different priorities and it’s very important to understand these priorities first, before trying to sell another amazing piece of technology. Learning continuously about your clients, but also your end-users and the real needs of each educational system and understating intercultural and international differences is extremely important for those who would like to scale up on the European level.