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Nesta and DfE provide funds for edtech projects


Mark Say Managing Editor

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A group of projects using technology to reduce teachers’ workloads have received up to £100,000 each from innovation charity Nesta.

It has announced the awards from the EdTech Innovation Fund – run with the Department for Education (DfE) – to help start-ups and colleges develop products and establish an evidence base for their use.

The financial support will cover up to 18 months and be accompanied by non-financial backing from Nesta relevant to the individual needs of the projects, ranging from evaluation techniques to business development.

Of the 13 projects, seven won the maximum of £100,000:

  • Boston College for First Pass, an online service for teachers to post open ended questions to students.

  • Firefly Learning for its Firefly tool to allow parents to access information on their child’s progress.

  • Hegarty Maths, an online formative assessment platform for mathematics.

  • MangHigh, a KS1-4 maths platform with gamified questions and quizzes.

  • Pobble, an online platform supporting the teaching of writing in English classes.

  • Seneca Learning, a homework and revision platform.

  • Studybugs, a communications platform to engage with parents.

Two projects won awards marginally below the maximum: Enabling Enterprise CIC’s Skills Builder, a hub with a suite of resources for the development of employability skills; and Engagement in Education’s freeflowinfo, a parental engagement platform to encourage positive attitudes towards learning.

Smaller awards went to: Educake, a formative assessment platform; No More Marking, an online platform enabling schools to use comparative judgement to assess students’ written work; October Resolutions’ TimeTabler software; and Texthelp’s WriQ for automated marking of student writing.

Joysy John (pictured), Nesta’s director of education, said: “To be truly transformational, education technology needs to achieve tangible impact for teachers and students, be informed by robust evidence and be easy to implement.

“Nesta will work with grantees to develop their ideas and share learnings across the sector so that technology can better meet the changing, and challenging, needs of the education system. We believe these products have huge potential to free up teacher time so they can spend it doing what they do best, inspiring students.”

The fund was announced in June and is part of the DfE’s education technology strategy.

Image from Nesta


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