We asked Mika Kasanen, co-founder and CEO of School Day in Helsinki, why wellbeing is so important to make students learn.
Mika Kasanen co-founded School Day, a Finnish edtech startup focused on students’ wellbeing. We asked him to explain why wellbeing makes students learn. Signup on www.thisis.cbnet.com to join our community on Play & Learn.
CBN: How did you come up with the idea of School Day and what is your unique value proposition at the moment?
Finland is the known as one of the happiest countries in the world with a highly respected education system. That’s what we are globally known for now. Yet, until recently and despite the wonderful success stories of likes of Nokia, Remedy, Rovio and Supercell there were a very few notable Finnish EdTech companies. We want to fill that gap and make a positive impact on wellbeing and social-emotional learning for hundreds of millions of students and teachers around the world. Research shows that learning does not happen without wellbeing. Our unique value proposition is to help schools and educators to better understand how their students are feeling. We provide analytics and insights that deliver whole-school improvements in students’ wellbeing, SEL skills and learning outcomes.
CBN: Which are the main results you achieved, nationally in Finland and internationally? How Covid-19 influenced your growth path during the last year?
School Day has had notable success selling to education customers across Finland and now has over 20,000 active users. Covid-19 has exposed the role and importance of wellbeing in education and learning. Schools and educators are now seeking new ways to check and improve student wellbeing in remote and hybrid learning settings. What we have done together with our team and academic researchers is simplifying our service and content model to serve and add value in all various learning settings. Since the global pandemic began, we have had free teacher trial accounts from over 60 countries.
CBN: As an edtech solution, you’ve been trying to integrate yourself with the main digital marketplaces for education. What you think is the state of the art in this decisive sector of the industry?
I believe in EdTech it’s all about solving the question of distribution. In practice, what are the best and scalable channels to reach and serve a broad base of schools, districts and school chains. I strongly feel that the industry will see a lot of mergers and integrations with platforms, such as Microsoft, Google, and of course various Learning Management (LMS) and Student Information Systems (SIS). Having easy to use integrations will expose you to a completely new marketplace. For School Day, this has always been an essential part of our strategy and starting off with Microsoft and PowerSchool has been very exciting.
CBN: Managing an edtech startup, bridging business, pedagogy and technology, entail lots of creativity. What do you think is to keep this creativity flow alive while to company grows and transform itself?
Building any startup is a process that goes on daily, weekly and monthly. You learn by doing and in my opinion everything boils down to the question of continuous learning. I’m personally not a big fast of the common “Try fast – Fail Fast” and personally believe much more in “Try fast – Learn fast” mindset. This is key to stay creative and innovative. If you don’t have the right talent, systems and processes (or even some!) and ways of working in place, you don’t learn. I know mentioning processes and systems with startups might sound profane to many, but I’m a strong believer. Sounds naturally very easy, but amidst of the thick of all things in your daily work, such practices really help you stay focused and creative, as a team and as individuals.
Do you want to read more about School Day? Check schoolday.com. Are you passionate with Play & Learn and would like to join a thriving community of experts, investors and innovators with the Creative Business Network? Join us on thisis.cbnet.com.
Mika Kasanen has an extensive background in business consulting and education development. He is passionate about making a lasting impact on student and teacher wellbeing. He lives in Helsinki, Finland.