Putting educators @ the  of edtech

ed-invent.com was inspired by the involvement of Richard Taylor of MediaTaylor, and Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR), in Startup Weekend Education London 2013. This 54-hour event saw teams create several outstanding ideas, but it also highlighted a disconnect between educators and their role in how edtech products and services are developed.

Mark Dawe, OCR’s Chief Executive, explains. ‘Education is about more than just exams, and improving education for teachers and learners is at the heart of what we are trying to do. As a not-for-profit organisation, we want to support schools and educators as they explore new ways of working, encouraging them to be active not passive consumers of educational technology. This complements our campaign to help schools engage with computing, to understand how to make computers work for them, not just use IT programs designed by others.’

So what are we going to do?

1. Run a series of  free workshops to inform, challenge and inspire educators about their role in the world of edtech. These can be delivered in three formats:

  • 1-day program
  • Part-time (afternoons or evenings) program
  • Virtual ed-invent  (the format will vary slightly).

During any version, after the initial introduction, educators are challenged to develop their own ideas for edtech products that they think are needed. These can be from the mundane to the massive but must be rooted in their real experiences and aspirations. Participants then form into teams (real or virtual), around an idea and develop this into an presentation that describes their edtech product or service. Teams then pitch these ideas to the judges, who will choose a winner – either on the day or for virtual entrants at the end of November and December 2013 and January 2014.

2. From these, 30 people will be invited to participate in the residential weekend final being held at The Belfry in Cambridge over the weekend of March 28-30 2014. Participants will spend two days working on their ideas supported by a team of edtech entrepreneurs and OCR staff. On Sunday afternoon teams will pitch their ideas in an attempt to win various prizes, including:

  • 1st place will recieve £3k, on-going mentoring and encouragement to apply to edtech incubators like Imagine K12, or Wayra
  • 2nd place will receive £1k
  • Internships -  the opportunity to undertake internships at tech companies inc.Touch Press and Night Zookeeper
  • Tech prizes – there will also be several small tech prizes (we are leaning towards a couple of iPad minis).

One of the key differences between an incubator and ed-invent.com, is that we aren’t seeking any interest or ownership of the ideas generated by participants. What they do afterwards is entirely up to them. They could try to build their idea into a business as a team or within their school/institution, they may want to partner with an existing edtech company to develop their concept, or they may just choose to use what they saw at ed-invent within their classroom.

We will have achieved our goals if participants leave ed-invent thinking differently about their role in edtech.