CENTURY Tech news

CENTURY Tech, which was one of the first cohort members on the EDUCATE’ programme, was one of 30 winning submissions – and the only on from the UK – in Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

More than 1,150 applicants from 11 countries took part in the event, presenting live pitches aimed at solving some of the world’s leading challenges to a panel of high-powered judges. This year, applicants were asked to solve one of the following global problems: coastal communities; frontlines of health; teachers and educators; and work of the future.

The finals were held in New York City on September 23, as a prelude to UN General Assembly week.

CENTURY, which was among only eight education companies to feature in the final line-up, is a learning platform that aims to reduce teacher workload while improving learner outcomes, with the use of data analytics and cognitive neuroscience.

Priya said: “During the two-day event, MIT Solve helped CENTURY Tech to meet new partners to collaborate with, from Ministers of Education wishing to deploy advanced technology in their schools, to investors and channel partners in harder to reach communities. We look forward to working with MIT Solve to establish more relationships in the sector and be an active member of the community. “

Solve’s Executive Director, Alex Amouyel, said: “Solve Challenge Finals is a unique opportunity to showcase the most promising tech-based solutions to global challenges.

“We had incredible diversity of solutions—non-profits, for-profits, academic projects, all ages, and over 110 countries were represented. The judges had the difficult task of choosing the most promising ones.”

As a Solver, CENTURY will have the opportunity to meet and build partnerships with other entrepreneurs to help accelerate their solutions. More than $650,000 of funding is available for selected Solver teams to advance their work.

Call for ambassadors and business mentors

Cooperation and mutual support are part and parcel of being part of the EDUCATE community. Together, we strive to give EdTech entrepreneurs and start-ups the best possible advice and guidance as they design and develop their products and services.

As EDUCATE’s profile grows within the education and technology communities, we find ourselves increasingly being asked to participate in events and activities representing the sector, and to highlight our own work.

But we need your help.

If you have been through the EDUCATE programme, please consider being an ambassador. This might involve attending conferences, exhibitions and shows where you can promote your company while being a cohort representative, or just mentioning us in an address or presentation you make to a relevant audience.

Perhaps you have experience of business and industry and could spare the time to mentor our cohorts as they progress through the programme. You will need to have business experience and expertise, be able to advise and support your cohort member, review their business strategy and help them to grow their network of contacts.

The role involves a modest time requirement of an average of two hours per calendar month, and you should be able to commit four hours per beneficiary during a three-month cohort cycle. It is anticipated that the business mentor would provide 2-4 instances of contact support and engagement, depending on the needs of the company.

If you would like further information about either or both roles, or are willing and able to get involved, please contact us.

Getting to know….Zara Ransley, co-founder and COO of MyPocketSkill

MyPocketSkill is technology platform and a youth policy and evidence consultancy business. Its aim is to connect young people, aged 13-19 with paid and voluntary opportunities that use their skills and enable them to earn pocket money. MyPocketSkill were part of cohort 3 on the EDUCATE programme and recipients of a ‘Evidence-Aware’ EdWards, presented at the London Festival of Learning, in June 2018.

What gets you up in the morning?
I have no curtains in my bedroom so generally it is the sunrise. Getting things out of the way early in the morning really works for me and that includes a bit of exercise, cup of green tea, emails and getting kids sorted.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I love what I do so work is integrated into day to day. Otherwise, I exercise & read and listen to Classic FM.

Wimbledon or Wembley?
Wimbledon

No-one told you it was a formal event and you turn up in jeans. What do you do?
Pretend like I planned it.

With hindsight, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? 
Do what you love doing, if you don’t love it, stop straight away (which is what I very much do).

Where will you be in 10 years’ time?
Oh, my goodness, somewhere nice and warm and not too far away from my kids and Matthew (my cofounder) (because we will still be doing MyPocketSkill!).

Finding (and understanding) related existing research for an EdTech.

Dr Alison Clark-Wilson

Everyone loves the phrase ‘evidence-informed’ EdTech – politicians, school leaders, EdTech founders, learners, investors etc. – but if we unpick this phrase, we’re left asking ‘what is the nature of the evidence?’ and ‘who (or what) is it informing?’

Alongside this, the wide range of research evidence that might relate to an EdTech makes it a particularly complex space to navigate. For example, a language learning online communications platform for primary-age children would demand a very different evidence base to that offering a virtual reality learning environment for trainee doctors.

Put simply, there will be two forms of research evidence that might be useful.

The first form is the research that relates to the content domain of the EdTech, such as early second language acquisition, medicine, citizenship, etc.  Very often the language of academic research is more nuanced than everyday language and so a database of academic keywords, such as the internationally recognised ERIC database, can be a useful place to start.

Beyond the content domain, it might be useful to think about the type of EdTech, the technical aspects of its design and the nature of a user’s activities. Thinking about these aspects will also reveal keywords that might be useful later.

Armed with a set of relevant keywords, you are ready to begin your search.

Nearly everyone starts with Google – which really is the modern-day equivalent of looking for a needle in a haystack! A Google Scholar search, which limits the search to academic and publishers’ websites, is a better starting point.

Depending on the intended learners for your EdTech, there are some websites that offer search tools for a particular education sector.

The US-based Digital Promise Research Map is a good starting point for school-facing EdTech, whereas Open Knowledge Maps is better for post-school or vocational EdTech.

Either way, you should find some useful background research. If you hit any publishers’ paywalls, try searching for the authors on ResearchGate (the academics’ social network) or through their affiliation – and don’t be afraid to contact them directly. Most authors retain the rights to the ‘pre-print copy’ of their research paper and are more than happy to send it to you if you ask.

The second form of research evidence is that which is founded on data from your own product or service. Designing and conducting EdTech research does take some thought and significant time – as all of the companies on the EDUCATE programme have found out – but there will be no better evidence than that of a robust study, whether it is a small case study with a few early adopters, or a large-scale experimental study of a stable product involving thousands of participants.