Putting educators @ the ♥ of edtech
The background to ed-invent.com was Richard Taylor of MediaTaylor’s involvement in the international edtech scene over two decades. However the real imputus for ed-invent came from his involvement in organising Startup Weekend Education London 2013 which highlighted a funadmental disconnect between educators and their role in how edtech products and services are developed.
So with the support of Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR), ed-invent was born.
ed-invent isn’t a ‘solution’ or a ‘fix’ for any specific educational issue. Instead it’s trying to fill what we think is an important missing piece (the voice of educators) in the wider edtech ecosystem. ed-invent isn’t an incubator because we don’t seek any interest or ownership of the ideas generated by participants. What educators do afterwards is entirely up to them – a tiny number (maybe 1%) may try to build their idea into a business either by themselves, with colleagues or an existing edtech company; however the majority will use what they learned at ed-invent back in their schools and classrooms.
So what have we achieved?
In 2013 we ran a series of 1-day events in venues in Birmingham, Manchester, London and Brighton. We had over 250 participants from whom we selected 15 to attend the finals in Cambridge in March 2014 where first prize (£3,000) was won by Derek Croghan from Cottesmore St Mary’s Catholic Primary School for Striver a fitness tracking program and second prize (£1,000) was won by Martyn Coleman of King George V College for Deep6 his ‘cold-storage’ data concept.
We also created an online version called Virtual ed-invent so that educators who couldn’t get to the physical events could still participate. The way this works is that participants register online, downlaod a PDF and then use some of our case studies and video to develop an idea which they then pitch as a document of video (two finalists came from this route).
In 2014 the delivery model wil most be via Virtual ed-invent . We will still run physical events (either 1-day or 2x 0.5 days) but only where a school or college does the recruitment of attendees and provides a venue. This choice was made based on our experiences in running the initial program and on feedback from particprants. The first of these (an INSET day) was held in May at Thomas’s Kensington. ed-invent alumni, area also starting to run events which we support with the first having been organised by Dan Axson and Rachel Jones and run in July at St John’s in Brighton.
Virtual ed-invent will will award £100 cash prizes (from Sept. to Dec. 2014 initially), but only where the ideas submitted by participants are judges by Richard to be really outstanding. If in any month this is not awarded then the prize pool will roll over to a maximum of £400 in Dec. If no great idea has been idntified by, then the £400 will be donated to a charity (to be decided by a Twitter poll via @ed_invent).
From Sept. we will be looking to organise some events with schools and our alumni, but these will probably not be held until early 2015 (all events will be listed on the Where & When page as soon as they are confirmed). We plan to hold some sort of finals program by June or July and so watch this space.
How long will ed-invent run?
We don’t have a fixed timeframe. Initially we planned (and budgeted) only to hold the first series of events and finals. For now we will keep things going as long as we think there is a need and there’s demand from educators.
No matter how long our history we will have achieved our basic goal, if participants leave ed-invent thinking differently about edtech and their role in it.