One of the most interesting projects that I have developed over the last few years was ed-invent. Initially a JV with Cambridge Assessment I decided to closed it down in late 2015.
The idea behind ed-invent was to try and change the discourse about and role of educators in edtech. My fundamental frustration was that so much edtech was imagined, developed and sold with very little involvement of real educators. And by educators I means everyone involved in the delivery of education, from classroom teachers through to teaching support staff, managers and administrators, supply teachers and even staff from areas like catering, grounds staff and facilities administration.
So what worked and what went wrong?
My measure the success were the amazing ideas that our participants came up with. One of the best from very early on from a teacher whose school was formed by the merger of a predominantly white school with another that was mainly Asian. The school has serious behaviour challenges and they used an edtech product to address the problems but really this was about recording incidents of poor behaviour in the school’s MIS system for when OFSTED did an inspection. The worst behaviour took place at the same time in the same place reach week; on Friday at lunchtime in the school canteen chip queue. Chips were only served on Friday as the school was trying to meet another government target, this one being promoting healthy eating. The idea from the teacher who came to this first ed-invent in Birmingham, was to refocus the school’s use of its edtech reporting software to also record good behaviour and that this coudl generate a real tangible reward for students – a place in a priority line in the Friday chip queue. It was a really innovative idea to try and address what was a real and quite complex problem. Would it have worked? I don’t know, but it was exactly the sort of innovative problem-based thinking that ed-invent was designed to elicit.
What went wrong? The delivery model of getting teachers out of schools was too expensive and complex to make it a sustainable. Equally as there is no such thing as truly ‘accredited’ professional development (PD) so it was hard to get schools to commit to send teachers to a new program, even one that was a JV with the assessment arm of Cambridge University.
So on balance ed-invent was 50:50 success and failure. Ideally I would have liked to steer it into another organisation who could take it forward, but so far I haven’t found anyone who is prepared to commit the time and resources to do this. So for now the IP of ed-invent still vests with MediaTaylor and hopefully we may find someone to resurrect it (or a version of it). If not I will always be proud of what our participants achieved and am happy to recognise that most of the shortcomings were mine and mine alone.
However, you can still watch some of the videos of edtech entrepreneurs on YouTube and if anyone wants any of the case studies or other material please get in contact.