Bett 2018: The EDUCATE collaboration

Written by: Professor Rose Luckin | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

The EDUCATE project is bringing together teachers, researchers and tech innovators in a bid to solve some of the challenges facing schools. Professor Rose Luckin explains more ahead of its formal launch at Bett

Teacher workload is one of the biggest challenges facing the profession. When you’re burning the midnight oil marking hundreds of pieces or work, or preparing the next day’s lessons, do you ever ask yourself: “I wonder if there’s a piece of software that could do this for me?”

The chances are that, if there isn’t already, then someone is working on it. It might just be a kernel of an idea, one of those “lights on” moments, that starts the exciting journey from a concept and will end with an app or software that will do some of the work for you and lighten your load.

Or there might already be a group of teachers and neuro-scientists working together at a more advanced stage, looking at how teachers do their jobs and how children learn, and how those combined skills and potential can come together to make education more effective and engaging.

The EDUCATE project is doing exactly these things. It is creating the opportunities and conditions for brilliant ideas and concepts to become something real and tangible, to revolutionise how you work in the classroom, and how your students learn.

With flexible working being mooted by ministers as a response to workload, and the recruitment and retention problem, there is all the more reason to look creatively at new and exciting ways in which this can be achieved.
EDUCATE, which is based in London, is a collaboration between a number of leading organisations – the UCL Institutes of Education and Engineering, F6S, BESA and Nesta.

Our partnership aims to create a “golden triangle” between teachers and learners, ed tech start-ups and researchers in the ed tech field to design and develop technology that will have a real and positive impact on learning.

The £4.5 million project, funded through the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, enrols cohorts of entrepreneurs from business, research and education. It provides them with training in how to conduct research into “what works”, and how to understand existing research evidence. It also offers business and product development training, and mentoring by experts in their field.

All of this happens in our London co-working space, for a period of up to six months. But it doesn’t end there. We continue to engage with our cohorts after they have moved on through an EDUCATE alumni network, which offers continued advice and professional support.

Since it was set up last year, EDUCATE has helped 23 start-ups, companies and researchers to realise their ambitions and aspirations by providing research, expertise and facilities for people to meet, discuss and develop their ideas and designs.

We provide advice clinics for developers on how to make their products and services commercial and marketable, and put them in touch with experts and mentors who can support and guide them through the process.

Teachers already know the extent to which educational technology has the potential to change the way they work. Technology has the power to enhance the learning experience for students and to help you, the classroom practitioners, become better educators.

For example, it can help you assess your pupils and then analyse their results, highlighting patterns and anomalies in achievement, which will enable you to tailor and differentiate your teaching. What used to take hours of your time, can now be done for you, presented in the way you want, and all in a matter of seconds.

As the debate over teacher workload and flexible working grows, the time seems right to look at how technology can smooth this route, and make it work to your advantage. Technology is already shaping how you work and the ways in which your pupils engage with learning. Now you can get more involved in that process.

Our aim at EDUCATE is to help the UK’s education and technology sectors maintain a leading edge for innovation and learning efficacy.

That is why, in the coming year, we will be looking to recruit teacher innovators and developers from among the hundreds of thousands of classroom practitioners in the UK.

We know there is great work already going on in our schools, and that many teachers are embracing the opportunities that technology offers in ever more innovative and engaging ways to motivate learners.

Perhaps there are teachers among you who have started work on developing a possible product, or who are trying out possibilities in your classrooms with a view to developing your ideas further in the future. If this is the case, then we want to hear from you. Our plan is to recruit a number of new teacher entrepreneurs every three months or so, who will work with us on their concepts and ideas.

As a member of the EDUCATE team you will have the opportunity to learn how to use research evidence to inform the design of your product and service, and to work with other innovators and developers. Support will be given in developing the business skills necessary to make your idea commercially viable. EDUCATE will be formally launched at this year’s Bett Show. Come and see us on our stand, and talk to our representatives about getting involved.

  • Professor Rose Luckin is director of EDUCATE London.

Further information

For more details on the EDUCATE proejct, visit them in the Bett Futures area of Bett 2018 or you can email

Download SecEd’s free guide to Best 2018

This article has been published as part of SecEd’s free 32-page, secondary-specific guide to Best 2018. The guide features show preview advice, highlights and general education technology-related articles. You can download the guide at


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