Chris Skidmore, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, met members of the EDUCATE team and several of its participants during a two-hour visit to the programme’s UCL Knowledge Lab offices last week.
The Minister was welcomed by Professor Rose Luckin, EDUCATE’s Director and Dr Celia Calucott, UCL’s Vice Provost for Enterprise, before watching a presentation about the programme and hearing about its work in enhancing the development of EdTech for teaching and learning.
The visit came as the Department for Education is preparing to launch a £10 million EdTech strategy for schools in the Spring.
Mr Skidmore was introduced to 20 EDUCATE participants, companies from various cohorts of the programme, offering a diversity of EdTech products and services. Among them was Spencer Yates, head of marketing at Tassomai. He said: “The Minister was interested in our product, and the fact three schools in his constituency are using it. At one of these schools the proportion of standards passes at GCSEs in science has risen as a result.”
Jonnie Jenkins, from Interactive Scientific, said: “We showed Mr Skidmore how we can help learners from non-traditional backgrounds to access learning when they might not previously have been exposed to similar scientific concepts.”
During his visit, Mr Skidmore presented EdWards, the EDUCATE programme’s own quality mark, to two companies – Interactive Scientific and Virti – who were unable to attend its recent ceremony during the Bett Show 2019.
Professor Luckin said: “It was a pleasure to show to the Minister the way in which the EDUCATE programme develops a research and evidence mindset and skill-set within the educational technology entrepreneurs who join us. This enables them to build evidence-informed products and services.
“It is extremely heartening to see the government currently taking such a keen interest in EdTech. Both the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, are showing an understanding of its importance in the teaching and learning process.
“The timing of the minister’s visit was perfect, because it allowed us to tell him about our newly launched EDUCATE for schools programme which helps educators to select and use technology to meet the particular educational needs of their learners.
“The UK is a world leader in EdTech and it is in all our interests to ensure this continues.”