Cambridge (UK), June 2013 - Leading UK exam board OCR is launching a new initiative to help teachers design and create innovative educational technology for use in the classroom. A series of regional events starting this September, followed by intensive residential technology "pre-incubator" camps will, for the first time, give teachers the chance to develop new educational technology for themselves to help improve teaching and learning and potentially make money for their schools.
In partnership with Invent-ed.com, a company run by education entrepreneur Richard Taylor of MediaTaylor Ltd, OCR will run a programme of events from September 2013 to help schools and teachers understand and benefit from the dynamic world of educational technology (edtech). Along the way, teachers will be supported and challenged by experts from the world of technology.
Until now, there have been very few programmes that work directly with a range of schools to identify edtech ideas and support their development into successful businesses. OCR wants to encourage teachers to tap into their own valuable skills and hard-won expertise in the classroom to identify gaps in the edtech market, and, according to Mark Dawe, OCR Chief Executive, "to be active, not passive consumers of edtech".
Following the successful example of the Startup Weekend Education London event in January, OCR’s initiative kicks off this autumn with ten events around the UK to help teachers to understand the major edtech trends and begin to develop their own ideas. Following the ten regional events, there will be two "edtech pre-incubator camps" held at Cambridge University, where the best ideas identified by teachers at the regional events will be challenged by a panel of edtech entrepreneurs, educationalists, and OCR staff.
OCR’s Mark Dawe said, "Education is about more than just exams, and improving education for teachers and learners is at the heart of what we are trying to do. As a not-for-profit organisation, we want to support schools in identifying new ways of working. Encouraging them to be active rather than passive consumers of educational technology is just this. It also complements our campaign to help schools engage with computing, to help young people understand how to make computers work, not just use IT programmes designed by others."
Richard Taylor said, "The UK has been a leader in technology for decades. We are on the third computer revolution in schools now, and this is a great time for teachers to be encouraged to think differently about edtech, especially with ideas they think could help improve learning in their classrooms and potentially translate into income for their schools in the future. An outstanding example of what can be achieved is TTS Online, an early edtech product developed by Thomas Telford School. I think their success is an example that could potentially be replicated by more schools around the country".