Best Practice

Ed-tech: Making industry collaboration work for your school

Collaboration between schools and ed-tech companies is one of the priorities of the government’s digital strategy. Al Kingsley looks at the risks, rewards and cost-benefits for schools considering a co-production partnership

“We need the future of technology in education to be driven by collaboration.”

This was one of the takeaways from the Department for Education’s digital strategy, which was launched last year (DfE, 2019) – and I am not sure anyone involved in education would disagree.

Educators are generally great collaborators, whether with each other, with charities, government initiatives or with parents and students. However, when it comes to collaborating with commercial suppliers school leaders can be more wary. I can understand why.

Co-production – suppliers and schools working together to develop technologies – can be risky. Done right, co-production benefits school as much as supplier, giving preferential and cost-effective access to state-of-the-art technologies. Done wrong, it can be resource-draining. In my position as a vendor and a multi-academy trust board member I see both sides.

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