This issue of Nordic Studies in Education addresses three educational challenges and problems which are distinct to a modern society and which affect all the Nordic countries to a greater or lesser extent. Firstly, there are pedagogical challenges associated with the digital area, where teachers and other practitioners are working towards better utilization of digital means in order to increase students’ learning. Secondly, there are challenges which are important for the learning environment: more specifically, exclusion and bullying. Unfortunately these things happen and teachers have to deal with them the best possible way. Thirdly, we find challenges that the curriculum in general seems to overlook, namely the fact that learning also occurs outside school.

This latter point is further elaborated on by Jaana Poikolainen and Kati Honkanen in the article “Urban Residential Areas as Children’s Learning Places and Spaces.” Here, it is claimed, based on an empirical study, that places outside the school (formal places), such as shopping centers and parks (informal places), can function as places for learning. The authors also claim that such informal, learning places should be utilized to a greater extent, and not least become part of curricula.

The next topic for this issue, exclusion and bullying, is elaborated on in two independent articles. The first article is written by Lina Lago and Helene Elvstrand, with the title, “Usually I have no-one to play with”: peer rejection in leisure-time centres. The authors argue that exclusion among children is a major challenge in leisure-time centers (LTCs). Exclusions can often occur without educators noticing it. Therefore, the authors encourage educators to be more aware of exclusions so as to prevent them from occurring. In the worst case, the exclusion can lead to bullying, which leads us to the next article, “Is self-regulation a relevant aspect of intervention competence for teachers in bullying situations?” by Saskia M. Fischer and Ludwig Bilz who, in an original manner, investigate whether self-regulation as a teacher characteristic can play an important role in preventing bullying. Even though the authors could not find any evidence of this, the question is still very important for further research.

Self-regulation is also a theme which is investigated by Petter Kongsgården and Rune Krumsvik in the article “Teachers’ didactical choices in technology-dense learning environments – a case study of self-regulated learning among students in upper secondary school.” However, this time, self-regulation is connected to students, technology and learning. The study shows that teachers’ didactic choices, rather than the technology itself, are crucial for increasing learning among students in upper secondary school. Both learning and technology are also topics in the article “Online Learning: “In Between” University Studies and Professional Work” by Ditte Kolbaek and Ulrika Lundh Snis. The research question which is being investigated is: How do students learn from experiences in two contexts – a master’s course at a university and their organizations of employment – by attending a blended learning course?