Tallinn University staff on a Collaborative Journey in Austria

In February 2024, Mart Laanpere, a Professor of Mathematics and Computing Education, and Aija Sakova, Manager of Business Cooperation and Knowledge Transfer at Tallinn University, boarded on an enriching secondment to Linz, Austria to immerse themselves in the dynamic world of educational technology alongside their partners at MatheArena, an innovative EdTech company. Joined by project partners Slavko Rakic and Miroslav Stefanovic from University of Novi Sad, Serbia and Filiz Mumcu from Johannes Kepler University (Austria), they explored the joys and challenges of building and expanding an educational start-up beyond its German-speaking origins.

MatheArena, with its team of ten, embraces a noble mission: to alleviate the frustrations often associated with learning mathematics. Founded by former educators Eva-Maria and Gerald Infanger, the company’s focus on adaptive learning solutions truly resonates with Mart Laanpere, whose expertise spans both mathematical pedagogy and educational IT development. As Mart shared his wealth of experience with MatheArena’s flourishing team, he gained invaluable first-hand insights into the inner workings of the company and its start-up ecosystem.

Aija’s endeavors led her to engage with The Department of Research Service and Knowledge Transfer (JKU), further expanding the scope of their collaborative efforts. Mart and Aija ventured into the broader educational landscape, forging connections with industry peers, academic institutions, and governmental bodies. Their interactions ranged from discussions with fellow EdTech start-ups to strategic consultations on the possible integration of digital STEAM labs in Estonian schools.

Mart Laanpere’s engagement didn’t stop at mentoring; he actively participated in MatheArena’s software development, content creation, and communication activities. This hands-on approach not only enriched his understanding of modern educational practices but also laid the groundwork for potential collaborations. One such collaboration involves exploring the localisation of MatheArena’s app for the Estonian educational market—an endeavour driven by the absence of similar services tailored to Estonian teachers and students.

The EdTech Talents team brainstormed ideas for a research paper, exploring instructional design methodologies informed by cognitive load theory. The journey showcases the transformative power of collaboration and the vast possibilities that arise when diverse talents converge toward a common goal. As they return home, armed with newfound knowledge and insights, Mart Laanpere and Aija Sakova carry with them the seeds of innovation to their educational community.