In a new piece on the Nesta blog, Geoff Mulgan proposes a new Edtech strategy to help the UK make the most of new educational technology. Mulgan frames the Edtech issue for the UK government as one of both opportunity, with the country home to many important players in the space, and equity, since an absence of public policies will likely lead to only more affluent families gaining access to new tools.
Mulgan shares six specific suggestions on what is needed for the UK to capitalize on the Edtech policy opportunity:
*1. The first need is for systematic funding for R&D directed to emerging fields – analytics, adaptive learning, flipped classrooms, next generation MOOCs – through Innovate UK or another route (as EDUCATE is doing with an AI themed cohort).
- The second need is to mobilise groups of schools to provide a test-bed for startups with promising ideas.
- There’s a need to bring together evidence about efficacy – ideally as a kind of kitemark (Pearson are doing this with many of their products using our standards of evidence model), so that UK firms can differentiate from others by being able to point to evidence of impact (using evidence from the testbeds).
- More needs to be done to help mobilise groups of schools to bulk purchase – through platforms that can greatly simplify buying of products with evidence of impact on learning behind them.
- We need showcases – a small number of demonstrator projects to act as inspiration – and making this a higher priority for UKTI (who are already doing some good work around the world with UK edtech firms, but often confirming how little traction they are achieving back in the UK market).
- There’s a need for a clear point of leadership in national government (probably straddling BEIS and DfE) and light coordination with the major centres of edtech (eg London, Manchester, Bristol Brighton etc.).*