Edtech 50 Awards Yearbook 2021/22

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Yearbook 2021/22

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The people, products and organisations shaping education technology across the UK

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Don’t take our word for it – our schools are our best advert

Chris Dyson

Jill Wright

Parklands Primary School Leeds

Whitefield Primary School Liverpool

Robin Warren

Phil Hedger

Headteacher

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Executive Headteacher

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Blossom Federation Hackney

LEO Academy Trust Sutton

Join our community LGfL - the not for profit charity advancing education through the effective use of technology

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:contents Welcome 04

Our work in the sector

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Products 24

Ones to note

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Organisations 36

Ones to note

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Celebration. Ambition. Inspiration.

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The Edtech 50 is a celebration of the people, products and organisations shaping the use of education technology across the UK. The Edtech 50, since 2018, has celebrated the Edtech promise, sharing great practice with a trusted and independent view. During the education lockdowns we moved a system on-line, when needed, but faced barriers in terms of an out-dated web infrastructure, lack of devices, inconsistent broadband and capabilities. It was a time of tragedy; but a triumph of everyday heroes. Our criteria for our judging panel across the Edtech 50 were; contribution to the sector, effectiveness and impactful whole organisation approaches. This is a dynamic and changing sector and this is reflected in the open nature of public nomination. Our judges and supporters want to thank all those that kept the learning day going for millions of families across the UK.

Educators 10

It is an education landscape of hope, generosity and professionalism.

Chris Leach, In memoriam 50 Acknowledgements Sector 16 Students 20 Ones to note

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This year’s Edtech 50 is full of optimism for the future. The Edtech 50 reflects and represents the generosity of educators, schools, colleges, universities, councils, companies and individuals who continue to go above and beyond in supporting each other. Thank you to our sponsor and partner, LGfL, the judges and all those who nominated.

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Design: IDCC Limited, mj@idccdesign.com Cover Photo: Mere Green Primary School / The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership

The Education Foundation and Edtech UK work with national and global partners. The Foundation’s events, summit’s, advocacy and thought leadership support change, innovation and reform across education. Founded in 2011 the organisation’s work is supported by partners, sponsors and project funding. Many thanks to our Edtech 50 Yearbook 21-22 partners, LGfL and media partners, TES magazine.

LGfL – The National Grid for Learning is a not-for-profit charity whose mission is the advancement of education, inspired by Schools and Multi Academy Trusts. We aggregate our technical, safeguarding and curriculum services for the benefit of our national community.

© Education Foundation November 2021 www.EdtechUK.org @EdnFoundation

@EdtechukHQ www.edtechuk.org

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Looking forward

welcome Welcome to the Edtech 50 Awards Yearbook that celebrates the people, products and organisations that are shaping the growth and understanding of education technology across the UK. The Edtech 50 is a landmark publication – it inspires and is used as a reference point by policy makers, government and educators. It reflects a growing awareness that we need to be ambitious about the role digital learning can play.

snarky commentators; directed to divide, rather than celebrate the profession. During the education lockdowns we also moved a system on-line, when needed, but faced barriers in terms of an out- dated web infrastructure, lack of devices, inconsistent broadband and capabilities.

We all learned that you cannot ignore digital infrastructure, digital poverty and the role technology plays in supporting education professionals and learners.

Edtech supports effective teaching and learners to consolidate knowledge, practice their learning and explore new worlds.

We are also learning that assistive technology can benefit everybody.

Edtech; Ignored for too long.

Education did the best, with what it had available.

Edtech as a tool for school and college improvement had been ignored for too long.

That in it’self was an everyday triumph.

Covid taught us all so much about what is important across our communities and public services. Schools stayed open, teachers used new tools for teaching – adopted by many literally overnight. We had never seen such spend, investment or adoption of education technology across our education estate. We need to reflect whether all this investment was timely, understood and an investment for the long or short term? The House of Lords and the Public Accounts Committee have asked some hard questions of policy development, focus and co-ordination of England’s DfE in relation to Edtech. All governments needed to move at speed, with sensitivity and a clarity of focus and communication. Education leaders and teachers deserved praise not 4

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This year’s Edtech 50 is full of optimism for the future and reflects the generosity of educators, schools, colleges, universities, councils, companies and individuals who went above and beyond in supporting each other. There are obviously different approaches to digital learning across the United Kingdom. It really is time for England to celebrate what it does well; but also learn more about proper national collaboration, open access education resources platforms and digital pedagogy from the developing work of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our education nations will grow and thrive if we all understand the need for the inclusion of digital learning in initial teacher training, national professional qualifications and the urgent need for inspectorates

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to have deep reserves of expertise that can support educators with their own professional digital journeys.

new skills, the joy of making and learning in new ways verges on the bizarre.

Too often, Edtech has been conflated with real worry over social media use and the wider changing nature of childhoods. We need to prioritise safety and security – and need up to date systems.

And we share the stories of education leaders, teachers and Edtech business leaders who contribute so much to this vibrant, vital and growing sector for UK plc.

Technology with purpose. We understand that people who use Edtech can also love books. It is about using technology to support or enhance tasks. Using technology to encourage teacher collaboration; lessen workload and encourage family involvement and support for learners.

There are growing Edtech clusters across the UK, employing many, offering opportunities to a new diverse and inclusive workforce, attracting investment to create jobs and growth. It was a time of tragedy; but a triumph of everyday heroes. Our judges and supporters want to thank the everyday heroes that kept the learning day going for millions of families across the UK. We hope we have reflected this Edtech landscape of hope, generosity and sheer professionalism.

A binary world view may provide solace; but it undermines the real value of blended learning and the increasingly hybrid world we all may experience. The Further Education Sector.

The Edtech 50, since 2018, has celebrated the Edtech promise sharing great practice with a trusted and independent view.

Pioneering colleges in the Further Education sector can teach us much already about ‘catch up’ and so-called recovery. Our Colleges already lead work around the changing nature of the workplace with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. High level skills can be practised using technology, without humans being put at risk. Edtech supports mastery, joy of making and learning.

Ty Goddard Chair, Edtech 50 judging panel www.Edtechuk.org An earlier version of this article appeared in the launch edition of Edtech UK’s Community Magazine available to subscribe for free.

Ignoring the positive role that digital can play for our education institutions makes no economic sense in this day and age. Ignoring digital skills in our schools, in any meaningful way, is neglectful of the future. But to ignore digital learning for consolidating knowledge, practice of www.edtechuk.org

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People

Chloë Hynes ESOL and digital trainer, Wakelet ambassador. A judge comments: ‘great to hear how an Adult Education and ESOL teacher has been inspiring others to develop digital skills as part of lifelong learning.’ @ChloeFibonacci

Coran Jones From NQT to MS Master Trainer during lockdowns. Coran, teacher of ICT/Comp Sci @ Risca, South Wales, was an NQT when the coronavirus lockdown hit. She completed her first year under challenging circumstances. During that period, she became a competent and confident teacher of IT and CS, taking on the additional role of being a Minecraft Global Mentor in RISCA’s school-based regional training centre. Coran has ‘gone above and beyond, offering after school clubs, taking on extra responsibilities and supporting me (Edtech 50 judge, Bekki Bawler), in our department.’ She is now a MIEE and Microsoft Master Trainer, an Adobe Creative Educator and Minecraft Global Mentor – in addition to her day-to-day class responsibilities. All this and only in her second year of teaching! @RCCS_MissCJones

Daren White Developer of MyEdtechbuddy.co.uk which began as a Google Innovator Project to help teachers with technology. In the words of our judging panel ‘Daren’s Edtech innovation project has had a global impact, helping hundreds of people worldwide to make the most of digital technology in education.’ And ‘all whilst working full time in a school.’

Jacob Woolcock Head of Computing & Digital Learning at Penpol School, Cornwall. An Apple Distinguished Educator who has created iPad #QuickLessons and iOS #QuickTips videos on YouTube (with over I.2 million views). Our judges note that: ‘Jacob has inspired teachers to use digital technology in interesting and creative ways – helping to make learning fun and engaging for students.’

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ducators James Fraser Computing Specialist at Elsley Primary School, Wembley, who stepped up during lockdowns to help pupils, parents and his colleagues optimise their use of Edtech. This included creating animations, using green screens and programming robots; as well as supporting other schools in London. Our judges were unanimous that James is clearly deserving of an education award.

Mike Ward In the words of one of our judges ‘the nominations show that Mike has been instrumental in developing and implementing his schools’ remote learning strategy as Group IT Director (Head of IT) – of the Dean Trust. He did all of this whilst also putting significant effort into his charity work (supporting people with social disabilities connect with the world of work).

Sammy White Educational consultant, and teacher: Google Educator, Trainer, Innovator and Coach (first female Google for Education Certified Coach in Europe). Our judging panel agreed with the submissions revealing that Sammy is a ‘well-respected Edtech champion and role model, approaching training and CPD in education technology with warmth and passion.’ @WhatTheTrigMath

Simon Luxford-Moore Another Edtech 50 recognition for this Head of eLearning’s support to the ESMS (Erksine Stewart’s Melville Schools, Edinburgh) community in developing the way classrooms embrace technology and innovation. One of our judges comments: ‘it is clear that Simon is highly valued – from his willingness to share his knowledge through to inspiring approaches to incorporating technology in teaching and learning.’ @MrLux4DMoore

Stephen Reid Play Matters and Minecraft Education Edition advocate for the importance of play as a part of learning. Our judges acknowledge the power of learning through play and that ‘harnessing the educational potential of Minecraft is what Stephen does best.’ @StephenReidEdu www.Edtechuk.org www.edtechuk.org

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People

educator Laura Dickinson

North Tyneside Learning Trust’s eLearning Lead Practitioner. eLearning is all about enrichment and enhancing the curriculum. As the North Tyneside Learning Trust’s eLearning Lead Practitioner, Laura has supported the trust’s partner schools (45 in total) since lockdown began. She has worked closely with them to help identify their remote learning needs, find appropriate solutions, and support children, staff and parents with home learning. Her work has included ‘How to’ videos for parents and staff, (who have also benefitted from her CPD training; using Google Classroom). And for those parents not already in the school system, using a 360 camera, she produced ‘Welcome Brochures’ to allow parents and their children to view the school from the comfort and safety of their own home. She displayed similar commitment and expertise in the transition from remote to blended learning. @eLearning_Laura

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Vikki Liogier National Head of Edtech & Digital Skills EDUCATION & TRAINING FOUNDATION

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“Digital is powerful, it is an enabler: it promotes accessibility, personalisation and inclusion. With blended and hybrid learning, deliveries can be far more flexible, will we be able to finally win the attendance challenge? The first barrier to remove is equitable access to connectivity, mobile devices and the digital skills that we need to live, work and study in a

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21st century global society. It is not a battle we can win in silos, if anything the pandemic crisis demonstrated that we need to work together. On a larger scale and for the UK to remain a global leader, it is for the government to draw a national policy area of access and connectivity and support education providers to accelerate their digital learning strategies and remodel both digital and physical infrastructure.”


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Alistair Hamill Learning // Collaborating // Geography As a teacher, photographer and podcaster, the only corona recently that might just have defeated Alistair could have been taking photos of the non-contagious lunar one, but, as his website clearly shows, this elusive phenomenon is beautifully captured. On planet earth, Alistair makes full use of ArcGIS and Google Earth to bring his pupils to the virtual real world. And he also made a number of great instructional videos on how to use Google Classroom; which were widely used by teachers in Northern Ireland. But during lockdown there was another innovative offer. If you’re teaching Rivers to Y11 pupils, why not go to the river in the town where you live. Cue the concept of live streaming from a ‘live stream.’ Or in Alistair’s own words: ‘What else is a ‘working from home geography teacher’ to do but an outside broadcast live stream lesson? @Icgeography

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Tracy Mutter Falkirk High School, Apple certified, MIEE MasterTrainer. Hugely appreciated by colleagues as she rose to the lockdown challenges by supporting and promoting online teaching. In addition, to her normal timetable, she worked tirelessly providing CPD; often after school, at night and at weekends. @FHSComputing

Justin Earle Learning and Technology Advisor, Team Leader, Solent University. Overseeing the university’s learning technologies during a time of rapid change; with well-being meetings plus constant support on technical and pedagogical queries. In the words of one submission: ‘a shining beacon of support for all technical enquiries at the University.’ @EarleTEFL

James Giarraputo Team Leader Digital Innovation, Skills & Transformation, South Thames Colleges Group. Instrumental in driving digital innovation across the Group. One of his many initiatives is the South Thames Colleges Group Teaching, Learning and Assessment videos – available to teachers on YouTube.

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James Kieft Worth a look. James is Group Learning and Development Manager at Activate Learning with over twenty years’ experience in teaching across Further and Higher Education. He’s quite simply passionate about teaching and learning and how technology can be used to enhance it. As well has his own website, presence on YouTube (with nearly 1,800 subscribers for his 313 ‘how to’ videos), there is also his blog: ‘James thinks it’s worth a look.’ His 2,600+ followers on Twitter clearly think he’s worth a look for his expertise, focus and generosity. And so did this year’s Edtech 50 nominators and panel of judges.

educator Jameskieft.com @james_kieft

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Martin Hamilton Futurist at MartinH.Net

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“During the pandemic it became very clear who the real “essential workers” are – staffing our intensive care unit’s and COVID wards, delivering food and supplies, and keeping our children safe whilst minimising disruption to their education.

Across the world our schools, colleges and universities worked miracles to move online almost overnight and support learners in this most

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uncertain of times. Whilst we can and should celebrate the penny finally dropping about how Edtech can enhance teaching and learning, it is so sad that it had to happen this way. Let us all take a moment to remember those that we and our learners have lost to this terrible disease, as we look forward to a brighter future.”


Cecila O’Hagan Stranmillis University College, Belfast for her courses to teachers on remote learning during the pandemic. Cecila leads on widening participation and the Master of Teaching (Mteach) course.

Mr Minchin Primary teacher and inspirational vlogger – posting daily video activities during lockdown. @Mr_Minchin

Laura Peden MIE Expert and all things STEM (#LittleMissStem). A great fan of Sway; sharing tips and insights with teachers across Fife local authority. @180pdn

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Farida Denmeri International educator, entrepreneur and founder & CEO of Learning Connected, which provides transformational education, training and employment programmes.

Toni Scullion Previously a Judges’ Edtech 50 commendation. Once again, the founder of dressCode, is applauded for her mission to get more girls into computing science. She does ‘so much for the computing science community’ in Scotland. @Scullion

Gary Spracklen Headteacher at The Prince of Wales School, Dorset and was a member of UK government’s E.T.A.G. @Nelkcarps

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Lee Jepson Founder of L.E.A.D. IT Services at the age of 18 and now it’s CEO. In addition to his company’s technical expertise and guidance provided during the lockdowns, a wide range of stakeholders in Derby have vouched for his generosity in helping to source free equipment to address the needs of many children and families with few digital assets.

:sect Matthew Applegate Founder and CEO of Creative Computing Club; supporting the young people of Suffolk to learn and engage with tech. He provides both online support and premises where the club members can learn and use all the latest equipment. A previous Edtech 50 winner, the judges noted once again the large number of nominations which reflect ‘his inspirational and invaluable work for teachers and schools, home learners and young people with additional needs.’

Matthew Peet Head Teacher, Mowmacre Hill Primary School, part of the Discovery Schools Trust, in Leicester. Mathew’s focus is on ensuring that all pupils benefit from digital tools in an area where the community faces many barriers to learning associated with deprivation. In the words of one of our judges ‘his drive for a fully inclusive curriculum is commendable and will improve the digital opportunities for all of his students.’

@leadictservices

Mark McCourt Inspirational online Maths support through the company he founded: La Salle Education. Our judging panel simply felt that all the nominations received make a ‘compelling case for the positive impact of Mark’s long term commitment to supporting teachers’ professional development and helping all learners to develop their maths skills.’ @LaSalleEd

Peter Horner IT Manager, Google Certified Innovator at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College and YouTube video tutorials creator. Seen in submissions as innovative with a real focus on teaching and learning, (‘rare for someone in an IT support role’). One of our judges echoed this sentiment: ‘IT Managers are often the unsung heroes of Edtech in schools and colleges, Peter sounds like he is truly supportive of staff and works to enhance teaching and learning.’ @peterghorner

Priya Lakhani OBE Founder CEO of CENTURY Tech, and cited here for ‘consistently pushing the boundaries and expectations of the appropriate use of AI in education.’ One of the judges very much endorsed this view and expressed ‘such respect for what Priya has managed to achieve...flying the flag for women.’ @priyalakhani

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tor Natalie Richards Founder and CEO of EduKit: support for pupil mental health via an app. Our role is to help schools detect issues before they escalate… Nathalie, social entrepreneur, public speaker/blogger and panelist, is the co-founder and CEO of EduKit, which aims to help primary and secondary schools take an impact and data-focused approach to understanding and improving student well-being. Schools use the EduKit Pulse app to understand changing student mental health and well-being needs, provide students with instant, relevant support and view reports on issues and progress. The app provides a ‘safe space’; includes a mood diary, well-being surveys and an optional ‘raise the alarm’ safeguarding feature. Nathalie is passionate about education, technology and creating a fairer and more equal society. @EduKitters

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Professor Bob Harrison, University of Wolverhampton

Judge’s Insight

It has been an enormous privilege once again to be a judge for the Edtech 50 Awards. Having spent over twenty years trying to persuade politicians, policy makers, Headteachers, Principals, teachers,lecturers and support staff of the value of education technology to engage learners

and extend and enhance teaching, learning and assessment a pandemic has accelerated the process and made my efforts look quaint. Nevertheless as the Edtech 50 award winners demonstrate enormous progress has been made but there is more work to be done.

@bobharrisonedu www.Edtechuk.org

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People

Natalia Kucirkova Originator and driving force behind the UKLA Digital Book Award. Passionate about social justice, women’s leadership and embedded research impact. Professor Kucirkova researches children’s educational technology and translates the research findings into practice through a number of projects; including children’s app design, e-book development and online platforms. She is the originator and driving force behind the UKLA Digital Book Award, which aims to reward apps, e-books and other digital interactive products that use sounds, visuals, and interaction in innovative ways to make a child’s experience of the story richer and more meaningful. Judge, Martin Hamilton, notes that the many nominations for Natalia ‘showed that her approach to researching technology in education from a practice-based perspective is very well regarded, and forms an effective counterpoint to the common perception that education and Edtech researchers can be quite detached from the classroom and everyday teaching practice.’ @NKucirkova

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Jonathan Butler Assistant Principal, Wilberforce Sixth Form College, Hull

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Many institutions still do not see the true value of Edtech for students, as a result decisions being made are often mis-informed and biased by individual subjective preferences rather then on objective evidence.

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We need to be a country that sees digital poverty as a serious issue that needs to be eradicated. We need to develop clear Edtech policies based around creativity and collaboration that allows education and industry to cooperate in a diverse education landscape that is driven by need and not cost.


William Brown As Digital Officer, Inverclyde local authority, William was cited for his tireless rolling out of technology and video, using ClickView. Thousands of students (with 100% take up of schools in the area) benefitted from his drive to make technology work for everyone during the lockdowns. In particular, his focus on pedagogical thinking as well as digital know-how was much appreciated by stakeholders.

Abdul Chohan VP of Learning at Showbie Inc, Director ThinkSimple Ltd, Co-founder of Olive Tree Free School and Apple Distinguished Educator. A previous Edtech 50 winner who once again features as someone whose ‘outstanding contribution to the education sector,’ has helped so many educators in UK and around the world. @Abdulchohan

@WilliamLearning

Ian Vosser Recognised for his time as a Principal Teacher of Digital Learning and Enterprise at South Lanarkshire Council. According to the submissions, he played a key part in ensuring the professional development of many Google Certified Educators and Trainers. The effectiveness of his input is reflected in the number of Google Trainers in the area – apparently around 50% of the total in Scotland at the time of the submission.

Al Kingsley CEO of NetSupport. His development of the NetSupport offer to schools in a time of unprecedented and relentless disruption which attracts particular commendation. Al has recently written My Secret Edtech Diary. @AlKingsley_Edu

@MrVosser Katie Wells Edtech leader, Google Trainer and Innovator at Cothill Trust, Chandlings School, Oxford, who led in up-skilling children, parents, staff in all areas of tech. According to many submissions, Katie kept education going to a very high standard throughout the lockdown. @misskwells

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Charlotte Harling Head of Product, Community Brands UK

Judge’s Insight

Record numbers of mergers and acquisitions, as well as continued movement in the MIS market has dominated the way schools and trusts have interacted with back-office services in the last couple of years. Integration still tops my wish-list

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for the sector –there’s no place for stand-alone applications in 2022 and beyond.

I have really enjoyed being an Edtech 50 judge.

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:students Teo Smith Y10 student at Wildern School, Southampton – digital leader of Y10 focus group, whose achievements have included the creation of YouTube tutorials in technology for teachers and students. Or in the words of one of our judges: ‘showing all the 21st century digital skills we teachers try to encourage.’

Class Y5 & Y6 Crosthwaite C of E Primary School 2020/2021 – pupils as digital leaders. My 6 year old taught me more in one morning than I already knew! All pupils at Crosthwaite attend a school that provides a great technological infrastructure and a dedicated staff team. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Class Y5 & Y6 have, in particular, stepped up to the plate by demonstrating outstanding digital skills to support their parents and families with remote learning, using email, chat and video calling facilities. Parents especially have apparently learnt a lot from their children. Further examples of children taking a digital lead or playing a key role came in the projects, Three School Challenge and Project Spring 2021 – A New Hope, as well as their work with a cohort of trainee teachers. The project work included Crosthwaite children working collaboratively on presentations and related studies digitally across the participating schools; including one based in Kristiansand, Norway. The annual trainee scheme involves the school’s pupils in helping participants become more accomplished at using educational technology in their own teaching. Website

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People Martin Willis Head of eLearning, Edinburgh Academy, linking with Sphero and Spartans Community Football Academy in STEM setting.

Elnaz Sarraf Founder & CEO of ROYBI Robot: uses the best educational practices to teach children from the ages of 2-8 years old through fun and play.

Rhodri Smith Digital Integration Lead at Cubitt Town Junior School, London E4.

Ones to Note

David Mitchell Own website, Social Media training for Schools & Teachers, blogging projects.

Umaira Tariq First year Learning Technologist Apprenticeship: supporting staff with online learning and in-person flipped and blended approaches at BCoT. Outstanding.

Phil Herd Co-ordinated a tech strategy across the 19 school Transform Trust to ensure remote, then hybrid learning model throughout the COVID pandemic.

Henry Penfold Primary School Teacher, Digital Leader, Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow.

Moeen Jamula Director, Infrastructure Services, Connetix – technology and training support for teachers.

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Avantis ClassVR For the second year running, educators highlighted the power of Virtual and Augmented Reality for education. One teacher noted that in addition to all the educational benefit’s (including curriculum-linked activities and lesson plans) of using Avantis ClassVR, it enabled ‘simple social gatherings’ to take place on safe, virtual environments; away from the usual platforms. Our judges were impressed too by the benefit’s of such cutting-edge technology in a time of real-world lockdown. As Osi Ejiofor commented: ‘The immersive experience that has taken students around the world, into space and exploring internal organs has enabled virtual travel when physical travel was not possible.’ www.classvr.com

Black Blossoms Online – Black British Art I feel like I can now teach a more rounded curriculum. Black Blossoms was founded by Bolanle Tajudeen in 2015 and has been supporting and highlighting Black women artists through an interactive public programme. There were multiple submissions for the both the product and the founder. According to many, the online offering enabled the coming together of a lot of people online who might not have had the resources to meet in real life. A constant theme and cause for acclamation was that Black Blossoms ‘unapologetically do their part to decolonise art education within the art community; creating a safe space for exploration of art themes undiscussed in mainstream education.’ Many teachers (‘I benefited so much as a black art teacher’) felt empowered as a result of their engagement with Black Blossoms. Finally, in the words of one submission: ‘they have created a beautiful safe space within which I’ve felt not only accepted and respected but also heard and seen.’ www.black-blossoms.online

Screencastify you can just screen record the process. A Chrome extension that makes it easy to record, edit, and share videos of your computer screen. Teachers find it quick and easy to use; avoiding the need for long, complicated worksheets or emails – instead just screen recording the process. ‘A truly fantastic Edtech tool.’ One of our judges, Vikki Liogier, is also a fan: – ‘Love Screencastify! I have used it for several years and it makes my life as an educator so much easier by streamlining instructions via screen capture.’ www.screencastify.com Class DoJo A great way to stay in contact with parents and give rewards to pupils. ClassDojo is a school communication platform that teachers, students, and families can use every day to share what’s being learned in the classroom through photos, videos, and messages. Like many of the award winners in this category, it came into it’s own during the recent lockdowns by providing such a great way for teachers to stay in contact with parents. It certainly impressed our judges: a genuinely fantastic behaviour tool that encourages praise and positive environments. And one of them even noted that in a previous role, Class DoJo had proved ‘a great way to engage, motivate and reward 16+ learners! Despite it being designed for a younger audience…’ www.classdojo.com

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oducts From A to Z – Apple to Zoom We’ve noted this before in previous Edtech 50 surveys but no landscape survey of education technology in the UK would be complete without mentioning the products of Apple, Google and Microsoft. In the words of one submission, they provide ‘the engine room’ behind the education ecosystem; both with some of the hardware (iPad, Chromebooks) and much of the software. The newly branded Google for Education products feature prominently in many educators’ recommendations: ‘a fantastic mission control for the whole education system.’ The addition of breakout rooms, polls and Q&A, plus the ability to bring in Google Jamboard and Keep were cited as important and valuable additions over a challenging time for teachers and students. One of our Edtech 50 judges finds Google Classroom, for example, a ‘fantastic platform – staff can provide feedback instantly and easily add assignments, quizzes and other materials.’ Our judges and educators also drew attention to the value of technology coaches in supporting teachers’ use of Edtech via the Google Coach Certification. One teacher was impressed because although it’s a google product, ‘it’s not heavily Google focussed. More about helping and supporting teachers.’ We received even more nominations from educators for Microsoft Teams, the digital hub and communication platform developed by Microsoft. Two categories of observation stand out in these submissions: the ease of use of it’s wide range of features and how much these assisted educators in maintaining some sort of continuity of learning, remote and hybrid, throughout the lockdowns. In the words of one teacher in relation to the interactive whiteboard feature: it could facilitate ‘talking’ a student through a problem, interactively if needed, support small group work in breakout rooms and provide a ‘record’ of the working for students who need additional support. For others, Microsoft Teams was ‘priceless,’ enabling reach out to students and parents; providing a fantastic system to allow teaching to continue during lockdown. In addition, Microsoft’s social learning platform, FlipGrid also received explicit commendations. Finally, the cloud-based video conferencing service, Zoom, received a number of mentions. Comments included: Zoom – don’t think I need to elaborate – ‘the gift of 2021.’

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ClickView Something I will use for the rest of my teaching career. With numerous submissions and rated by our judges, this video learning resource platform received glowing tributes from a wide range of educational institutions. Many people observed that it came into it’s own as schools and colleges had to develop at pace their remote and then blended teaching and learning offer. They also pointed out that the company was generous in making a significant amount of it’s content free of charge. This was apparently done in an inclusive way that didn’t insist on longer tem sign-up – ‘pure philanthropy.’ Also referenced was continuous product development, such as enabling lecturers to embed formative assessments tools with interactive videos. Many teachers talked about the platform’s ‘fantastically modern’ content, such as ‘Next Stop Puberty,’ in a way that is appealing to pre-teenagers. In Scotland, West OS, powered by ClickView, is now the recorded element of the National e-Learning Offer in Scotland. Finally, no mention of ClickView can pass without citing the many plaudit’s for the ClickView team and Tammy Woods for her ‘personable and professional approach.’ Website

Complete Mathematics We want to improve mathematics education for all pupils. The many citations of Complete Mathematics covered the whole range of the platform’s offerings from it’s Digital Maths Tutor to CLASSROOM, CPD, COURSES, and COMMUNITY. The focus is on two areas of pupils’ lives – when they are in school when they are away from school. The full coverage of the maths curriculum was valued by many – with pedological notes, explicit identification around each learning objective, sharing of all aspects with students and the ‘outstanding online platform (CLASSROOM).’ As was it’s affordability. Another element to be mentioned in dispatches was that of CPD. One teacher put it very revealingly: ‘On demand, high quality professional development videos are available. For teaching maths at any level. I watch these daily for at least 5 minutes a day despite a busy schedule...’ www.completemaths.com

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Future Learn World class universities and industry experts. Future Learn, offers a wide range of free (and paid) online training courses, which a number of educators have cited as beneficial for their professional development. Everything is covered from online degree courses to micro-learning opportunities; upskilling specialist courses, programmes on leadership and Advanced AI. www.futurelearn.com

Mote A very welcome and useful addition to the educator’s repertoire. Mote is an Education Technology company with a mission to make feedback fast and friendly. It’s Chrome Extension helps users to provide voice note comments and feedback on documents and assignments. For many educators it has proved a game-changer during the pandemic lockdowns. ‘Mote was there right when we needed. I genuinely don’t know what we’d have done without Mote in terms of teacher workload!’ Combined with workload reduction, many submissions also acknowledged the power of audio feedback at a time of remote learning; and the capacity of the human voice to convey a lot more than the written word. From the student perspective, one sixth form college noted that feedback about Mote has been ‘overwhelmingly positive.’ Students liked that during lockdown they felt more connected to the college when receiving Mote feedback: ‘it was great to hear the teacher’s voice rather than just reading text on a screen.’ Our judges were also impressed, noting Mote’s integration with a lot of Google tools and the dashboard which allows staff to see who has interacted with their voice note. Website

Becki Bawler Lead Teacher for ICT 7 DCF at Risca Community Comprehensive School, Wales

Judge’s Insight

Despite a global pandemic and the UK resembling a sci-fi movie at points in the past year, this list and all those who were also nominated shows how the Edtech community did not rest on their Covid-induced blended learning laurels but instead kept pushing and improving the digital experience for students. This list shows a fraction of that determination and was so hard to judge.

www.edtechuk.org www.Edtechuk.org

Those winning recognition really do have much to be proud of as part of the education sector in the UK & I was proud (& just a little terrified) to be asked to help in the judging process.

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Kahoot Learning and fun. This game-based learning platform, used as educational technology in schools and other educational institutions, proved popular with educators and our judges alike. Most emphasise both the fun and learning elements. It apparently manages ‘to excite the children (and teachers) while subtly assessing what students have learnt, keep track of learning and make things exciting... during this difficult remote phase of learning.’ One of the judges rated it as a ‘fabulous TLA tool – it is engaging thanks to the application of gamification principles; as well as an effective formative assessment tool.’

Loom for Education For teachers at schools, universities, or educational institutions using video messaging. Seen by many educators as both vital for delivering remote learning during the lockdowns but also retaining it’s place as an essential tool for teachers and support staff as schools return to pre-covid arrangements. Loom lets you record screens (and anything on them) and then share it quickly and easily with students via a link or embedded code. Rated by both teachers and our panel of judges. www.loom.com/education

www.kahoot.com/company

Nearpod The concept is simple. Nearpod helps educators make any lesson interactive whether in the classroom or virtual. A teacher can create interactive presentations that contain Quizzes, Polls, Videos, Collaborate Boards. One group of colleges nominated Nearpod for it’s ability to allow teachers to know where each of their students are in their learning journey and, as appropriate, to adapt TLA in real time. Important to this group was the fact that it also allows teachers to use activities to focus on their students’ social and emotional well-being. Our judges were impressed too and one educator rated Nearpod an ‘inspirational Edtech product’ that can make every lesson interactive. www.nearpod.com

Quizziz On a mission to motivate every student. Quizizz is a gamified student engagement platform that offers multiple features to make a classroom fun, interactive and engaging. Teachers can conduct formative assessments, assign homework, and have other interactions with students (all grades) in a captivating way. Schools mentioned the ‘whole-class appeal’ of it’s integrated quiz provision. Also, shortlisted by our judging panel. www.quizizz.com

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Showbie A perfect paperless digital classroom. Lots of nominations and support for this Edtech product that makes creating and completing assignments, providing assessments and storing grades easy. In the words of one school, it’s the best product for both children and adults; the ‘easiest, most feature-tastic of all time.’ Also praised was the way it links with digital formative assessment products, like Socrative. For another educator it made ‘my online lessons much more streamlined and helped the young people access their lessons easily during lockdown.’ Positively noted by our judges too. www.showbie.com

Texthelp – Read and Write Helping students understand, engage and express themselves. A literacy support tool much valued by educators. As one teacher comments: Texthelp, ‘helped pupils to go above and beyond the expected skills of their age, with more than 80% of KS1 pupils at or above their assessment target for reading and writing.’ Our judge, Zaitoon Bukhari also rates this product highly. As she explains: ‘when it comes to addressing the accessibility needs of those students who would normally require additional help in the classroom – they are able to have that help at their fingertips. The functionality of the Read&Write tool bar allows for students to have work read out aloud. During the pandemic, a lot of students and schools became dependent on the use of Read&Write to provide the extra help on Chromebooks they needed at home.’ www.texthelp.com

Pobble Designed by and for teachers to help improve children’s writing ability. Educators found this product very impressive in providing a ‘brilliant platform to showcase wonderful writing.’ Teachers select ‘published authors,’ whose work will be shared with the school community and a global audience. As well as on the motivational force of this approach, schools also commented on the free support and good CPD. What also impressed one school was the awareness that not every family had internet access – so the Pobble team created ‘non-screen’ homework to give all children an education activity a day to focus their minds. In the words of this submission: ‘hats off to all the team, they produced outstanding #remotelearning for those with the luxury of technology at home BUT they also engaged children who did not have the technology with an alternative.’ www.my.pobble.com

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Little Bridge PurposefullySocial with Little Bridge. A previous winner, Little Bridge continues to gain endorsements from the global education community. It provides young learners (aged 6-12) with safe opportunities to learn and apply their new English skills with piers globally. More than one educator valued Little Bridge’s DigiPals feature where students practice what they’re learning within a unique, fully moderated community so that they build their language skills through global socialisation. www.littlebridge.com

Tapestry It kept everyone in touch even through lockdown... Tapestry is an easy-to-use and secure online learning journal, which records a child’s experiences, development and learning journey through their early years and primary education. Using photos, videos, and diary entries, a teacher, along with the child’s parents or carers, can ‘weave’ a story of the child and how they are growing and developing. This was another product that came into it’s own during the lockdowns, enabling ongoing contact with staff and parents, and with those children who were unable to attend the school setting. Primary schools told us they were able to send out videos, and activities with links to learning that parents and teachers could share: learning with each other through videos and comments. A particular mention must also go to the Tapestry team in general and to Ben Case, in particular. A former Reception teacher, and now Product Support Technician and Education Advisor, his patient, good humoured approach in supporting teachers was flagged up; and in the words of one of our judges helped significantly in making ‘the transition to online learning during the high pressure and stressful conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Website

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roducts DigiMaps/EDINA DIGITAL Developing and delivering. EDINA are specialists in developing and delivering digital products including large-scale online services, mobile apps and digital tools for education. One of their products, Digimap for Schools, is cited by one educator as being ‘inspirational and really great.’ It is designed to engage pupils and inspire them to be curious and fascinated about the world. One of it’s many features is that it can provide students and teachers with digital access to modern day and historic maps; as well as detailed aerial imagery. Our judges are impressed too – commenting that Edina is a service delivered ‘with great innovative and effective support’ by the University of Edinburgh. www.edina.ac.uk www.digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk

Padlet Make Something Beautful. Essentially an online bulletin that allows users to express their thoughts on a common topic and read what others have to say. Comments from educators highlight the fact that Padlet is so easy for everyone to use and that it encourages interaction and collaborations from/with students. One teacher is particularly struck by how ‘personalisable’ it is; citing the format of ‘anonymous comments, ability to respond but in a shared and collaborative way. Edtech 50 judge, Vikki Liogier is also a fan: ‘I love Padlets and have been a loyal supporter for years.’ www.padlet.com

Enhance Digital Teaching Platform Great modules. Accessible, relevant and constantly updated. The Education and Training Foundation’s Enhance Digital Teaching Platform is a user-centred, mobile first, platform for Edtech and Digital Skills development, featuring 100 bite-sized Edtech training modules based on the Digital Teaching Professional Framework. It hosts subsidised training offers to support teachers and trainers in using educational technology and developing their digital skills. In the words of one college: ‘the platform was incredibly well received when we introduced it and it has provided all staff with bite-sized opportunities to upskill and feel their achievements acknowledged by the college and their peers.’ In particular, a number of submissions draw attention to the sharing of reflections and online reviews from fellow teachers which help to create online communities of practice. In short, it is seen as an excellent site to develop the skills of teachers to be able to teach the Essential Digital Skills Qualifications.

Wakelet An easy way to curate, present and share content. An easy way to curate, present and share content. Once again, Wakelet’s visual content platform has attracted a lot of positive comments from this year’s Edtech 50 participants. Educators love both the flexibility and versatility of the platform and the fact that it’s easy for children to use. One college has been particularly struck by recent developments of Wakelet’s offer: ‘there have been major updates, great collaborations and involvement with the wider community. They respond to feedback and have launched student accounts and added gifs!’ Many people referred to the role of Misbah Gedal, Wakelet’s Head of Partnerships, in this context. Such customer focus, combined with the product’s other qualities, (including versatility and user-friendliness) are also recognised by our judges.

www.enhance.etfoundation.co.uk

www.learn.wakelet.com

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Products – Ones to Note Children’s University Online A bespoke digital platform to assist in encouraging, tracking and celebrating children’s learning beyond the classroom. Developing Digital A guide and toolkit – published by the Education Foundation & The Independent Schools Council Digital Stratergy Group ELT songs Tech start-up – learning through songs – ‘where words fail, music speaks.’

Ones to Note

Lyfta Immersive learning platform (inc. 360° spaces and soundscapes) where teachers can build or curate powerful, interactive and curriculum-aligned lessons.

Massolit Short video lectures in literature, history and the social sciences.

Emile Range of games-based learning resources; developed by teachers, academics and game developers.

Discord Server Created by five University of Southampton students – to bring over 1,300 students together during COVID-19 and lockdown. GEC App App for education (and businesses) to measure progress towards equality, diversity and inclusion.

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Academies Enterprise Trust World class virtual learning for students. Our judges were impressed by the Edtech work of this academy (which covers 57 schools) for both it’s internal and external impact. As well as the virtual learning for students, Trust educators really rated the Edtech support and training provided; illustrated by this comment from one teacher: they gave me ‘the opportunity to work towards my Google Certified Trainer Application; achieving the title of youngest Google Certified Trainer in the world!’ The InnovAETor program was also cited. The core team of lead InnovAETors, were able to provide ‘extensive synchronous and asynchronous training to trust staff throughout 2020/21.’ This training was made available to schools beyond the trust as part of the Edtech Demonstrator Programme. AET also provided ‘thousands of Chromebooks’ to students in need during the pandemic. www.sites.google.com/aetinet.org/academies-enterprise-trust/home @innovaetors

Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) Compassion, Responsibility, and Empathy (C.O.R.E Skills). Yet another commendation from Edtech 50 participants; both from within the college, outside the college and from our judging panel (‘fantastic work’). A recurring theme appears to be the constant drive to use technology to achieve the very best educational outcomes, – ‘for always thinking innovatively about the future of education especially in the FE sector.’ Part of the Edtech Demonstrator programme. BCoT was able to deliver 100% LIVE online synchronous lessons through lockdown. The digital team, headed up by Scott Hayden, supported it’s own staff; as well as 70 other schools and colleges.’

BLC Blended Learning Consortium 152 members, 75 subject areas, 2200 Resources. The Blended Learning Consortium has been developed by the Heart of Worcestershire College to promote blended learning specifically for the Further Education (FE) sector. They believe that the most effective way to create appropriate resources is through a co-development process where the costs and expertise are shared across the partnership. In this way they can support colleges to meet accredited guidelines and allow members to benefit from the creation and sharing of FE specific resources. As last year, our judging panel was in agreement that the Consortium plays a key role in the sharing of best practice within the ecology of the Edtech sector.

www.bcot.ac.uk @BCotD1g1tal

www.blc-fe.org

Andrew Dowell Head of Professional Status and Standards, Education and Training Foundation

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“It has been an honour to be part of the judging process again this year and have sight of the incredible work and innovation taking place in UK Education.”

all organisations should be applauded for their individual responses to the pandemic. However, what sets the shortlisted organisations apart is how they have also supported other organisations both regionally and nationally.

The judging of the vast number of nominations received has been incredibly difficult this year as

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anisations Bolton College Digital assistant. Previous Edtech 50 winner, Bolton College continues to develop and widen it’s scope for using artificial intelligence tools to support it’s students and teachers. Ada, it’s campus digital assistant will be the first AIED product that will be piloted and offered to other FE colleges in the UK Jisc’s National Centre for AI. This is unique because it’s the ‘first across the globe that promises to deliver a digital assistant to students and teachers at a national scale.’ The continued work on the formative assessment tool, FirstPass, cited in previous Edtech 50 surveys, promises well. In the words of Edtech 50 judge, Andrew Dowell: ‘the work Bolton College has completed with Digital Assistants is transformational in UK education and it continues to be improved. Their current ‘First Pass’ project could also have similar impact.

Edufuturists Podcasts – our bread and butter. Edufuturists host a podcast (over 300 episodes to date) with innovative educators from around the world. ‘Outspoken but always driven from the right place.’ Also, that hosts are ‘wonderfully entertaining.’ They’ve certainly impressed our judges: ‘Edufuturists offer Edtech insight, advice and guidance across Primary, Secondary and Further Education. The regular podcasts are engaging and the line-up of guests are fantastic.’ www.edufuturists.com @EduFuturists

www.boltoncollege.ac.uk

Farnborough College of Technology Remote teaching. There were a lot of submissions relating to how the college responded to the COVID related challenges and the way it stepped up to the need for emergency remote teaching. The manner in which the organisation reacted to the needs of students and staff to facilitate laptops, Wi-Fi, webcams etc. was seen by many as ‘incredible given the pressure and circumstance.’ The role of one individual in particular, Michael Cornwall, stands out; not least in the large number of recommendations received. What seemed to cut through with many educators was his ability to make even very ‘complicated high-tech things so easy to understand.’ In the eyes of many educators, he is a ‘brilliant communicator; with the patience of a saint.’ www.farn-ct.ac.uk

Heathfield Community College Pride. Ambition. Community. An Apple Distinguished School, Heathfield Community College is committed to delivering a curriculum that ‘allows for traditional methods of teaching and learning to take place with the support of new digital technologies.’ Their commitment to Apple devices and technology ‘really paid off during the unprecedented lockdown and closure of school premises. The School moved seamlessly to online learning with almost no notice and enabled students to continue to learn and enjoy the experience through a period of intense uncertainty.’ The role of Jonathon Marrows, Digital Lead, is referenced several times and in the words of one of our judges – ‘he has clearly shown great dedication and clear leadership to allow the transition to remote learning to be effective; whilst also gaining the accolade of Apple distinguished school.’ www.heathfieldcc.co.uk

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Hwb Learning and Teaching for Wales. Hwb is the digital platform for learning and teaching in Wales. It provides it’s users with access to a range of centrally-funded, bilingual, digital tools and resources. It is the Welsh Government’s strategic digital channel to support the delivery of the curriculum in Wales. Last year the Edtech 50 judges singled it out as being worthy of special mention. There is similar endorsement this time round. And in the opinion of one survey participant: ‘when lockdown started, we were already one step ahead. Hwb provides a space for learning with free access to so many amazing resources, checked and vetted, so that educators can safely use the tools with their classes; worry-free.’ www.hwb.gov.wales

St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Primary and Nursery School, Belfast Excellence, innovation and creativity. A Digital Schools award holder, whose excellence in the use of technology came to the fore in supporting other schools to embed technology in teaching and learning through free training courses. With the use of Seesaw for parental engagement, virtual tours and open days, the school demonstrated considerable creativity; coming up with innovative solutions to problems posed during the pandemic. www.stpaulsmica.com LEO Academy Trust Learning Excellence Opportunity. An Edtech Demonstrator School, which was well placed to switch to fully remote classrooms with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trust also spearheaded efforts to get all children a Chromebook and provide disadvantaged students with internet connectivity; free of charge. Our judges were impressed by their digital literacy, including in helping another school, not part of their Trust, for the duration of the pandemic. They apparently provided ‘incredible support in helping develop home learning provision’ and helped this school both in the short and longer term; technically and in delivering online teaching.’ www.leoacademytrust.co.uk

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Forth Valley College, Falkirk Making Learning Work. Microsoft Showcase School – excelling in the use of digital technology with staff across all it’s campuses. The Digital Learning Team support staff in their use of Office 365 and 21st Century learning. Seen as leading the way in online and remote learning in the Scottish College sector, Forth Valley College has seven members of staff announced as Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts for session 21/22.

Oak Academy Your go-to resource hub made by teachers, for teachers. Oak National Academy was created in April 2020 as a rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak. Teachers and colleagues from leading education organisations came together to support schools’ efforts to keep children learning. Since then, they’ve developed 40,000 resources with the support of 550 teachers. Shortlisted by our judges. In the words of one teacher: they produced brilliant ‘LIVE’ lessons during lockdown. The Academy ‘saved me hours of work and provided interesting well planned lessons. The student voice has been really positive and we continue to use it for students for homework.’

www.forthvalley.ac.uk

www.thenational.academy

Royal Hospital School Helping young people make the right choices at the right time. Previous Edtech 50 winner, the Royal Hospital School (RHS) continues to be at the forefront of Edtech practice, facilitating an outstanding response to the Covid-19 crisis. RHS delivered over 30,000 online lessons, assemblies and activities to pupils over the course of UK lockdowns. In one of those lockdown weeks, for example, 108 RHS teachers taught 750 pupils in 38 countries 28 subjects over 26 periods; via it’s remote learning capability. An apple training centre, the school put an effective hybrid teaching solution in place in time for the return to the classroom, that allowed pupils in and out of school to play a full part in lessons. It rose to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, using it’s Edtech knowhow to ensure that no child was left behind, with each of it’s pupils able to access a full timetable of inclusive online lessons. Website

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Grimsby Institute/TEC Partnership Digital innovation in the education sector. Our judges were very clear that the Grimsby Institute/TEC Partnership, Beacon award winner and Edtech Demonstrator, continues to drive innovation across the sector. In the words of one contributor: ‘the whole organisation approach and the culture is the difference and what sets them apart.’ Technology is the golden thread that underpins the work of every department. According to our Edtech 50 contributors, special mentions and specific recognition should go both to Debra Gray – Deputy CEO of TEC Partnership and Principal of Grimsby Institute (‘she not only knows the way, but she also goes the way and shows the way’) and also to Deb Millar, Group Director for Digital Learning Technology (‘The Ed Tech Sector is richer for having Deb Millar at it’s heart’). @gifhe www.grimsby.ac.uk

The Sheffield College Go Further with The Sheffield College. The Sheffield College is a further education college with over 15,000 enrolled learners and apprentices. The Edtech 50 submissions reveal the digital journey that the college has taken over recent years; inspired by the leadership of Steven Spence, Teaching and Learning Innovator. They also reveal the great efforts made during the pandemic to address inequalities associated with a lack of access to digital devices. The College’s Digital Development Programme saw hundreds of staff work through a layered programme, improving their skills and confidence in the use of education technology. For those without digital access, the College supported a regional initiative in creating educational books with tasks distributed to all of these students. In addition, it was subsequently at the ‘forefront of ensuring education for all through the Laptops for Kids campaign.’ Our judges noted how adroitly the Sheffield College had stepped up to provide learners and teachers with access to technology. www.sheffcol.ac.uk

NI Teachers Collaborate Helping join the dots...learning everything under the sun. Set up by Lisa Morrison to bring NI teachers together across all sectors (14,000 members) to collaborate by creating videos and tutorials on the best of e-learning and teacher tips; using Google Meets and YouTube. @NI_Teachers www.niteachers.org

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Westbourne School, Penarth The optimal employment of Edtech. What struck our judging panel was Westbourne School’s transformational journey during the pandemic. The school apparently moved from relatively little experience with Google Classroom and online teaching to 100% live lesson coverage over a single week. ‘We didn’t miss one single lesson.’ The school’s approach attracted positive comments for it’s measured and consistently used deployment of Edtech to extend and improve teaching practise during a time of unprecedented challenge. For one submission it exactly represents ‘the optimal deployment of Edtech.’ www.westbourneschool.com

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anisations Blend Ed Northern Ireland Teachers supporting teachers with purposeful Edtech use for workflow, teaching and learning. A group of Apple Distinguished Educators, Karen Irwin, Louise Kerr, Nicole O’Connor and Michael O’Kane established the BlendEd NI team in 2020. They were keen to encourage collaboration and support teachers in Northern Ireland. As a virtual Apple Regional Training Centre, they began during the early days of lockdown and school closures as a way of sharing ideas, resources and support with colleagues. Since then, they have held a series of ‘conversations’ covering topics such as ‘Returning to School’ and a ‘Focus on Early Years.’ Their most recent online conference ‘Amplify’, was a huge success with over 3,000 attendees. @BlendEd_NI Website

Osi Ejiofor Education Technology Consultant

Judge’s Insight

Having come out of one of the most unexpected events in recent years, I look across an education landscape that is full of mixed emotions. The overriding emotion being relief. Some relieved that they were ready for such circumstances and took the necessary steps to make the transitions, but most, I believe, are relieved from the pressure and stress of having to teach and support students remotely with limited tools. My hope is that those who have taken measures to improve infrastructure, home-school communication, remote interaction between students and teachers, digital pedagogy etc. www.edtechuk.org

will continue their momentum and help others around them that require the same. This Edtech 50 celebration of innovation in Edtech highlights the lighter side of tough times and should serve to encourage those schools who feel the later sense of relief mentioned above. There are many schools that require support and I am striving to do my part in supporting them one school at a time and I’m happy to stand side by side with those mentioned here as well as many others that are working towards this vision.

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The RGS Worcester Family of Schools Agile. The RGS Worcester Family of Schools (RGSW) consist of four independent schools in Worcestershire. As Covid-19 spread, the schools were able to ensure that learning continued for every pupil; by adopting agile re-thinking of their Digital Learning Programme. Over the first sixteen-week period of lockdown, over 18,000 remote lessons were delivered. Aware of the likelihood of a further lockdown RGSW quickly collated triangulated data from pupils, parents and staff to gauge the impact of their provision to make further improvements. A similar review following the second period of lockdown apparently confirmed that pupils’ learning loss had been mitigated by the ‘innovative and strategic Digital Learning Programme remap.’ Simultaneously, RGSW looked beyond it’s own immediate needs by supporting schools in the neighbourhood with their remote learning. It donated over 40 iPads to a local primary school to support pupils with remote learning; as well as providing relevant training. www.rgsw.org.uk

DigiLearn Sector initiative Sharing digital approaches, reflecting on practice and celebrating success. UCLAN’s DigiLearn initiative was developed to enable teaching staff to share innovative practice with each other and help improve the learning experience for students at the university. Submissions show how instrumental and inspirational, Chris Melia and the team, have been in moving UCLan’s Digilearn initiative from a faculty level to a University-wide level. One of our judges comments about Chris: as the nominations say “A fantastic champion, advocate and role model” who has clearly been successful at engaging with, and positively impacting, a wide range. www.digipath.uclan.ac.uk/digilearn

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Edtech Demonstrator Really knowing their craft. The Edtech Demonstrator began life as a Department for Education ( DfE), England, funded research project: LGfL and the Education Foundation were announced as winners of the tender in January 2020. The research project would test whether mentoring by schools and colleges could successfully support others to create digital strategies to support teaching and learning. A group of schools and colleges were successfully recruited as the project was paused as it became obvious that Covid 19 was spreading. At speed the Programme was re-designed as an emergency response to the pandemic and the urgent need to establish effective remote teaching and learning. Within days both LGfL and the Foundation had established a platform, recruited a staff team of regional leads and began creating on-line learning materials. The schools and colleges also established mechanisms and staff capability to support schools and colleges to guide others in effective digital learning practice. Not only were schools and colleges open, remotely; but were also supporting others to do the same. As one nomination said; “This has been life-changing for so many: collaborative, supportive and transformative.” The programme was expanded twice and now has up to fifty schools acting as key mentors with on-line and in person support. We received many nominations highlighting the speed and care that was taken in the programme management and response. Many schools, colleges and individual staff received plaudits and thanks for their work with a nomination praising demonstrator teams as ‘really knowing their craft.’ www.edtechdemo.ucst.uk


tions

St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, N Ireland Improving practice. The school has heavily invested in ICT and long been a leader in the use of digital to improve practice throughout Northern Ireland. Each teaching area is equipped with internet access, digital projection and interactive whiteboard facilities. There are over 500 networked PCs. Links have been established with Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Ulster to facilitate placements for students who are interested in pursuing a career in ICT. @stpaulsbbrook

Gaelscoil na Daróig Technology is the future...and a big part in children’s lives. Previously recognised in Edtech 50 awards, a highly innovative Irish Medium school with ICT. Their work has been showcased by CCEA and, during the pandemic, they used multiple tools to ensure that their immersive setting was as good online as it was offline. On return to school, many innovative solutions were found – with green screen being used to create class-based activities that could be shared with parents remotely. www.daroige.com

Steam Co. We’re a bunch of parents. Be pART of it. Co-founded in a Paddington primary school ten years ago this month by parents, teachers and other creative carers as a non-profit community enterprise to help kids ‘aim higher than high’ by connecting them with their creativity and community. Led by Nick Corston, STEAM Co. empower collaboration in school communities to help them run engaging STEAM Co. Days with creative thinking and doing activities for children across the STEAM skills – from painting to photography, cardboard to coding and rockets to robots. In one of the UK’s first Raspberry Pi projects, filmed by BBC ByteSize, they taught all 200 children across KS1 and 2 in a school to code a Lego RoboCroc to bite an inquisitive finger, leading Wired magazine and The Guardian to call Nick a ‘man on a mission’ and Sir Ken Robinson and Prof Sugata Mitra to nominate him for a TED Fellowship in 2016.

their community engagement model to deliver a range of innovate live streamed community art events for thousands of children in schools which families could watch and engage with from home, seeing proceedings as if on cardboard sets including a Glastonbury Pyramid stage, a Coventry Cathedral and more recently a base camp on Mars for their two week Mission To Mars tour by camper van across the UK. As one submission notes, in embracing Edtech, STEAM Co. has been ‘speaking virtually to thousands of children, young adults and adults in communities up and down the country. They have been true champions for creativity and the arts in our schools.’ Scan/click QR code for short film of their work: @st3amco

Thanks to recent LGfL, Arts Council England and DCMS Covid funding they completely reengineered

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Organisations – Ones to Note ALT (Association for Learning Technology) Professional cross-sector body (& membership organisation) for learning technology in the UK. Elsey Primary School Holistic approach to teaching/ICT training: including looking after the mental and physical wellbeing of staff. ICT in Schools, Open Zone @ The Word, South Shields Comprehensive support from first lockdown; from Google Classroom roll-out to staff CPD. Danesfield School Primary school, Buckinghamshire – rich in digital approaches – a creative and committed staff team.

Ones to Note

Manchester Academy Modelled digital access for communities supported by United Learning’s COO, Dominic Norrish.

Stowmarket High School Use of top quality devices (Microsoft Pro and Go) to support the pupils with the greatest educational need.

New Bridge M.A.T. Special needs provider with technology at the heart of their curriculum, allowing access to learning for all students.

Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche, Castlewellan Edtech is embedded throughout the school curriculum, with collaboration between pupils, staff and parents and in working alongside other Irish-medium schools.

St.Macartan’s Primary School, Clogher, County Tyrone Their digital competence, underpinned by a strong digital strategy, enabled able the school to move from school to remote learning with ease.

Downpatrick Primary School, Downpatrick Wonderful and innovative use’ of ICT to support learning within NI’s C2k digital infrastructure. Inspirational work during the pandemic by engaging not just with pupils but also parents and other stakeholders via online assemblies, digital challenges, and storytelling.

Methodist College, Belfast A highly innovative UICT development strategy: developing students as digital workers, makers, and citizens.

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www.edtechuk.org www.Edtechuk.org


Belfast Royal Academy Excellent use of digital learning, integration of live teaching during lockdown; coupled with superb use of Google Classrooms. Parents meetings conducted using school cloud and governance via Zoom. Extracurricular clubs such as Girls Code Club.

Torbank Special School Using IT to excellent effect to support pupils with a range of complex needs across the multi-sensory spectrum.

St. Cecilia’s College Technology strategy is embedded throughout the school and extended so every staff member is an IT specialist. They have an innovative create, code and communicate approach to the teaching of UICT. The offer includes coding and software development courses to pupils.

Tannamore Learning Centre, Dungannon Extraordinary achievement in reintegrating and engaging young people in education using technology.

Alva Academy Pioneering esports in Scottish schools. Queen Anne High School, Dunfirmline Microsoft Showcase School: driving digital learning across the curriculum with the use of Teams and OneNote. Highfurlong School A state of the art, purpose-built school located in the North of Blackpool. The school’s humanity shines out, delivering education and care to children with a wide range of physical, medical and neurological conditions and associated learning difficulties aged between 2 and 19 years. Also, part of an effective consortium in the Edtech Demonstrator, consisting of Hambleton Primary Academy, near Poulton-le-Fylde and Ribblesdale High School in Clitheroe. www.edtechuk.org

Edtech 50 – 2021/22

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Celebration. Ambition. Inspiration. The Edtech 50 personifies these values every year – and in 2021/22, more so than ever. But, what next? Director of EdtechUK, Nic Ponsford reflects on the Edtech 50 and what is next for the sector. Living with COVID, lockdowns for the last 18 months, I hoped would trigger an optimism and r/evolution in the sector when it came to using Edtech as an equalizer – for more flexible working routines for our staff, increased accessible technology for our students and an improved disposition towards digitalisation for all. However, it feels stuck again. Despite the sector revealing in the #everydayheroes we created across the country, the jumps in modernising our education system have now seemingly gone off the boil. Why? We are tired. We are focusing on curriculum content. We ‘do not want to return’. We have ‘done that’. But, we haven’t. We are just getting started.

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The Edtech 50 shines a light on tech for good and the future of work that education needs to get before. The teachers who are offering global opportunities within the walls of their classrooms and Zoom windows. The institutions who are developing outreach work to create access for all. And products and services that enable and empower us to serve our students better, for the world-class system we all want – we deserve. Yet, inconsistencies threaten to undermine all of this. The lack of infrastructure, the lack of government response, the lack of quality CPD for a workforce who desperately need to be technologists in 21st century learning environments. There are still those who see Edtech as a means of ‘fixing’ things. This is merely what Edtech has done recently – Edtech ‘fixed’ COVID, Edtech helped. Can we reboot the brand of Edtech for 2022? It really is time to move from using Edtech as a tool to help us, but see it as a means to serve us.

www.edtechuk.org www.Edtechuk.org

Why? The difference between helping and serving is huge. Helping is based on inequality. It is not a relationship between equals – one is inferior and the other is stronger. Now is the time to draw from our lived experiences, see the imperfections in the system, across the sector and in our individual schools and colleges; then allow these differences to help us reflect what we do next. We no longer need to talk about Edtech helping students and teachers – we want to look at how Edtech can and will serve the system. We want more strength. More passion. More equality. We need to refresh our attitudes and values around Edtech once more. We have seen how maintaining conversations of learning is of national importance. We know that prioritising high quality and inclusive learning is what all teachers need to be skilled and confident in.


We want Edtech companies to lean in and serve our schools, by putting knowledge, creativity and aspirations at the centre of their services and products. We also need to agree that Edtech and curriculum can both serve one another – and that Edtech is integral to workforce change, reducing workload and remote teaching – it is the enabler for our future generations. Now is the time to dismiss Edtech as a means of fixing education, but as the way it can serve it. My hope is that this change in perspective will bring all sides together to move past inaction and disagreement, and focus on how we can unite to serve our students and staff better in 2022. The Edtech 50 points a way there. Nic Ponsford Director, Edtech UK

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Chris Leach In memoriam

“This nomination is for Chris Leach, who sadly passed away in March 2021 after a devastatingly short battle with cancer.

Gifted teachers are those who use their ingenuity to develop lessons that make learning fun for students. In my experience there can be no teacher who exhibited this more than Chris Leach. Computing is littered with sometimes abstract or complex concepts that young children may struggle to grasp or to fully understand and Chris had an uncanny knack of being able to come up with brilliant ideas that made the learning of these topics so much fun for children. Take for example the world he devised around the concept of ‘Here be Dragons’. One topic that is really hard for young children to conceive is that of Logic Gates, but eager to help children to grasp the concepts involved, Chris created a a magical

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(or Magilogical) card game set within a world of wizards and dragons. It was typical of the man that he couriered a class set of Magilogical at his own expense so that I could use them in an interview for a job I really wanted. Like the famed story used to illustrated the awesome talent of Dolly Parton whereby she wrote ‘Jolene’ and ‘I will always love you’ in the same day, it’s true to say that Chris had more creative inspiration strike him in a single day, than most teachers do in a year. So well-loved was Chris at Winchester House School, that on news of his illness parents crowdfunded a significant sum so that his last wish, that his family could have their own home, could be met. Loving husband of Tracey and devoted father of his three children,

www.edtechuk.org

Chris cherished every moment he spent with his children and those he taught. He told me once that it was how he ‘felt most whole’. Chris confided in Tracey that the cruelest thing about his illness was that it should affect his brain, because it left him with so many of his ideas untold. His book about creativity remained sadly incomplete prior to his death, but I hope that one day it will be completed by a group of his friends so that it can be published posthumously. The ideas that he was able to tell have supported and helped many teachers around the world and every single one of us who has benefited from his resources will miss him very much. When I lived in Egypt he would tell me “the Dragon Derddieu” is watching over you – and every day, I feel he still is.” Drew Buddie


:acknowledgements The Edtech 50 Yearbook 21-22 received over four hundred nominations and without the guidance, hard work and commitment of our independent judges, the Yearbook would not have been possible. To them, thank you.

Edtech UK

Corinne Latham Prof Bob Harrison Charlotte Harling Jon Butler Tristan Kirkpatrick Sarah Clark Emma Darcy Zaitoon Bukhari Martin Hamilton Andrew Dowell Becki Bawler Osi Ejiofor Vikki Liogier

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Thanks too to Russ Darbon, Education Foundation and Michael Pearce, IDCC Limited & Edtech UK.

Edtech UK Magazine The first edition of the Edtech UK Community Magazine is available on free subscription. The Edtech UK magazine seeks to celebrate, inspire and be ambitious about the role digital learning can play across education. After lockdowns, emergency measures and remote learning, new Ofsted research, conducted during the pandemic suggests that this period of remote education may influence the education system in many ways. Following a year in edtech like no other, the Edtech UK Magazine gathers a roundtable of educators to ask their views on how the edtech sector will, and needs to respond going forward.

Go to www.edtechuk.org to subscribe to this new community magazine for free.

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WE GO ABOVE AND BEYOND

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