Senior representatives from the EDUCATE programme met with Damian Hinds, the newly-appointed Secretary of State for Education earlier this month, to discuss the importance and future of EdTech to the UK’s education system.
Professor Rose Luckin, the programme Director was accompanied by Dr Alison Clark-Wilson, EDUCATE’s Principal Research Leader, and Caroline Wright, the Director General of Besa, one of EDUCATE’s main partners.
The meeting offered an opportunity for the EDUCATE team to inform Mr Hinds how EDUCATE is supporting start-ups and EdTech companies to use and generate better research to prove the efficacy of their products.
Professor Luckin said: “We had a very constructive meeting with Mr Hinds and welcomed the opportunity to tell him about the important work we’re doing at EDUCATE, in particular in ensuring that EdTech products and services are underpinned by robust and effective research. This is vital if their products are to be fit for purpose and useful to teachers and students.
“Mr Hinds was interested to learn that this is where EDUCATE is unique from other EdTech start-up projects. The element of research and evidence is absolutely at the centre of everything we do.
“The Secretary of State was also particularly surprised to hear that even highly qualified EdTech entrepreneurs and their teams may not be fully equipped to conduct robust educational research about their products. This is where we come in, to help and guide them through this process.”
Much of the discussion during the meeting focussed on financial support for the UK EdTech sector to market their products and how they can raise funds from overseas investors. Mr Hinds was interested to find out more about how the UK EdTech sector as a whole informs schools and teachers about their products and services.
Dr Clark-Wilson added: “We felt it was important that the Secretary of State considers that, when it comes to the next review of the national curriculum and its assessment, it will be extremely important that this takes account of the changing EdTech landscape for all subjects, and not just Computing and ICT.
“We have a duty to prepare all students for their futures in an increasingly digital world. There is emerging evidence that the UK is being left behind in this respect.”