Meet the team behind My First Calendar, an interactive calendar assisting in language learning

Interview with Natasha Skult, CEO of My First Calendar, and Lassi Puolakka, Sales and Project Manager, of MiTale. This article series introduces the teams and their solutions from the Digital Education Accelerator 2023 edition.

Oskari Tamminen, Natasha Skult and Lassi Puolakka from MiTale

About My First Calendar

My First Calendar is a playful calendar app designed for children. It was originally made for speech therapy and based on its practices but can be used for wider purposes. Children can use the app to describe their daily lives while parents or educators can add tasks and “quests” for children to complete and follow their progress. The tool can be personalised to help children with different challenges, including learning about concepts of time or creating schedules and routines. The app can also help in learning how to read and write, and it is available in over twenty languages.

Meet Natasha and Lassi

Natasha is the CEO and Creative Director of MiTale. She is an active member of game developer communities and is an emeritus of the International Game Developer Association. She runs the W Love Games organisation that promotes diversity and inclusion in gaming. She’s also a researcher & lecturer at the University of Turku, Finland.

Lassi works as a Sales Agent and Project Manager at MiTale. Lassi has worked with serious games (games designed not only to entertain)and gamification for the past six years, and he has designed solutions for diverse users and use cases.

Who is your team?

  • The MiTale team working on My First Calendar is:
  • Natasha Skult – Founder, CEO, creative wheel of the company
  • Oskari Tamminen – COO, Sales & HR
  • Lassi Puolakka – Sales and project manager, gamification designer
  • Aapo Peltola – Lead Developer
  • Ira Sarsila – 2D artist

“We do everything together; it’s important that everybody in the team can feel ownership of the solution. We also have several consultants working with us on our digital solution.” – Natasha Skult, CEO and Creative Director of MiTale

What are the biggest challenges in digital education?

Digitalisation in education progresses at a different pace globally, and for some regions it takes a lot longer while some others are years ahead. Therefore, education is not equal for all learners globally. Besides, there are different restrictions in different countries, which makes it challenging to bring in change. Attitudes also vary a lot towards gamifying education; when people find out that your digital education solution is a game, some of them are not interested in learning more about it unless it is a so-called “serious” learning game.

How does your solution aim at fixing the challenges?

Using apps to digitalise education is easy and accessible since they can be used in smart devices that most people have. My First Calendar is an app that enables parents and professionals such as kindergarten nurses, teachers and speech therapists to track children’s progress and it can be personalised according to each child’s needs. Our solution combines elements from serious and commercial games and brings in the best aspects and ideas from both.

How can the accelerator programme support you?

In Finland, educators are open minded and eager to test different solutions or work with experts, but this is not necessarily the case everywhere. We would need to learn what to change when entering different markets, how to localise the solution, and how to market to schools and educational systems. We would also need advice on how to scale up our solution in the Edtech area.

What are the next steps for your team?

We are now planning our international My First Calendar target group testing. We tentatively have two very interesting testing partners who could give feedback on how My First Calendar can be better or reach new audiences. Aside from that, we are preparing onboarding and marketing materials as well as presenting the app to potential customers.

Source: European Commission | European Education Area (