Revealed: the teachers and schools on the EdTech 50 list

The innovative people, organisations and products featured in this year’s prestigious ‘Edtech 50’ list are unveiled
9th December 2021, 9:00am


Revealed: the teachers and schools on the EdTech 50 list
pupils looking at tablet

Over the past 18 months, schools have been thrown into a world of virtual classrooms and, teachers and pupils alike were forced to adapt quickly.

The situation forced education to look at its digital skillset and, thankfully, there was a huge range of pioneers in the sector ready to step up. 

Many of those leading proponents of edtech were featured in previous versions of the EdTech 50 list, an annual celebration of the people, projects and products that are enhancing teaching and learning in our schools through technology.  

Today, this year’s Edtech 50 list is revealed. 

Among those featured are Coran Jones, who newly qualified as a teacher last year and is now a Microsoft master trainer for schools, and the late Chris Leach who “used his ingenuity to develop lessons to make learning fun for students”. Mr Leach sadly died earlier this year.

Ty Goddard, chair of Edtech UK and the Edtech 50 judging panel, said: “Edtech as a tool for school and college improvement had been ignored for too long.

“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 Edtech 50’

People: the educators

  • Chloë Hynes - ESOL and digital trainer, Wakelet ambassador.
  • Coran Jones - from NQT to MS Master Trainer during lockdowns.
  • Daren White - full-time teacher and developer of MyEdTechBuddy which began as a Google Innovator Project to help teachers with technology.
  • Jacob Woolcock - head of computing and digital learning at Penpol School, Cornwall who has created iPad #QuickLessons and iOS #QuickTips videos on YouTube (with over 1.2 million views).
  • 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.
  • Mike Ward - group IT director (head of IT) for The Dean Trust, instrumental in developing and implementing his schools’ remote learning strategy.
  • Sammy White - educational consultant, and teacher: Google educator, trainer, innovator and coach.
  • Simon Luxford-Moore - gave support to the ESMS (Edinburgh) community in developing the way classrooms embrace technology and innovation.
  • Stephen Reid - Play Matters and Minecraft Education Edition advocate.
  • Tracy Mutter - Falkirk High School, Apple-certified MIEE master trainer. Hugely appreciated by colleagues as she rose to the lockdown challenges by supporting and promoting online teaching.
  • Laura Dickinson - North Tyneside Learning Trust’s e-learning lead practitioner, 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.
  • Alistair Hamill - head of geography at Lurgan College, Armagh, NI. Blogger and GIS advocate (use of GIS in the classroom), bringing his pupils to the virtual real world.
  • Justin Earle - advisor and team leader who led learning technologies team through rapid change at Solent University,  overseeing the university’s learning technologies during a time of rapid change;
  • James Giarraputo - team leader digital innovation, skills and transformation at South Thames Colleges Groupm, instrumental in driving Digital Innovation across the group. A key development has been STCGTalks.
  • James Kieft - group learning and development manager at Activate Learning, blog, YouTube Edtech Videos, and Twitter.
  • Cecila O’Hagan - Stranmillis University College, Belfast for courses on remote learning and the master of teaching (Mteach) course.
  • Mr Minchin - primary teacher and inspirational vlogger - posted daily video activities during lockdown.
  • Laura Peden - MIE Expert and all things science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem). A great fan of Sway; sharing tips and insights with teachers across Fife local authority.
  • Toni Scullion - the founder of dressCode, is applauded for her mission to get more girls into computing science.
  • Farida Danmeri - international educator, entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Learning Connected, which provides transformational education, training and employment programmes.

People: sector

  • Lee Jepson - founder of L.E.A.D. IT Services; community edtech support in Derby.
  • Mark McCourt - inspirational online maths support through his company La Salle Training.
  • Matthew Applegate - supporting the young people of Suffolk to learn and engage with tech.
  • Matthew Peet - headteacher, Mowmacre Hill PS in a deprived part of Leicester who focused on ensuring that all pupils benefit from digital tools.
  • Nathalie Richards - founder and CEO of EduKit, supporting pupil mental health via an app.
  • Peter Horner - IT manager and Google-certified innovator at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College.
  • Priya Lakhani - founder and CEO of CENTURY Tech, cited for work on AI in an educational context.
  • Natalia Kucirkova - originator and driving force behind the UKLA Digital Book Award.
  • William Brown - rolling out technology and video to all schools in his local authority, Inverclyde, a low socioeconomic area.
  • Abdul Chohan - vice president of learning at Showbie Inc, director of ThinkSimple Ltd, co-founder of Olive Tree FS. Apple DE.
  • Ian Vosser - for impact at South Lanarkshire Council as a principal teacher of DLE.
  • Al Kingsley - CEO of NetSupport: 2021 who led in adding functionality for schools to ensure educators had what they needed for the disrupted situation.
  • Katie Wells - enabled Chandlings Prep School to help upskill children, parents and staff in all areas of tech. Kept education going to a very high standard throughout the lockdown.

People: pupils and students

  • Teo Smith - Year 10 student at Wildern School, Southampton, who is a digital leader of a Year 10 focus group, including the creation of YouTube tutorials for teachers and students.
  • Class Year 5 & Year 6 at Crosthwaite C of E Primary School 2020-2021 - pupils as digital leaders.


  • Avantis ClassVR - virtual and augmented reality for education, enabling “simple social gatherings” to take place in safe, virtual environments.
  • Black Blossoms Online - black British art founded by Bolanle Tajudeen in 2015 and has been supporting and highlighting black women artists through an interactive public programme, “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”.
  • Screencastify - a Chrome extension that makes it easy to record, edit, and share videos of your computer screen. 
  • Products of global tech companies: Google, Microsoft, Apple and more - provide “the engine room” behind the education ecosystem; both with some of the hardware (iPad, Chromebooks) and much of the software.
  • Class DoJo - 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.
  • Click View - video learning resource platform which received glowing tributes from a wide range of educational institutions, the company was generous in making a significant amount of its content free of charge.
  • Complete Mathematics - platforms covering digital maths tutoring to classrooms, CPD, courses and community. 
  • Future Learn - offers a wide range of free (and paid) online training courses, from online degree courses to micro-learning opportunities; upskilling specialist courses, programmes on leadership and advanced AI.
  • Kahoot - a game-based learning platform, used as educational technology in schools and other educational institutions.
  • Loom - lets you record screens (and anything on them) and then share it quickly and easily with students via a link or embedded code.
  • Mote - an Education Technology company with a mission to make feedback fast and friendly. Its Chrome extension helps users to provide voice note comments and feedback on documents and assignments.
  • Nearpod - helps educators make any lesson interactive whether in the classroom or virtual, allowing teachers to create interactive presentations that contain quizzes, polls, videos and collaborative boards.
  • Quizziz - a gamified student engagement platform that offers multiple features to make a classroom fun, interactive and engaging.
  • Showbie - edtech product that makes creating and completing assignments, providing assessments and storing grades easy.
  • Tapestry Online Learning Journal - an easy to use and secure online learning journal that records a child’s experiences, development and learning journey through their early years and primary education.
  • TextHelp - read and write - a literacy support tool helping students understand, engage and express themselves.
  • Pobble - a “brilliant platform to showcase wonderful writing designed by and for teachers to help improve children’s writing ability”.
  • Little Bridge - provides young learners (aged 6 to 12) with safe opportunities to learn and apply their new English skills with peers globally.
  • DigiMaps/EDINA DIGITAL - designed to engage pupils and inspire them to be curious and fascinated about the world.
  • Padlet - an online bulletin that allows users to express their thoughts on a common topic and read what others have to say.
  • Enhance Digital Teaching Platform - 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.
  • Wakelet - an easy way to curate, present and share content.


  • Academies Enterprise Trust - world-class virtual learning for students.
  • Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) - part of the Edtech Demonstrator programme, BCoT was able to deliver 100% live online synchronous lessons through lockdown.
  • BLC Blended Learning Consortium - developed by the Heart of Worcestershire College to promote blended learning specifically for the further education (FE) sector.
  • Ada, Bolton College - the 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.
  • Edufuturists - who hosts a podcast (over 300 episodes to date) with innovative educators from around the world, offering edtech insight, advice and guidance across primary, secondary and FE.
  • Farnborough College of Technology - the organisation reacted to the needs of students and staff to facilitate laptops, wi-fi, webcams, etc. It was seen by many as “incredible given the pressure and circumstance”. 
  • Heathfield Community College - 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”.
  • Hwb - a digital platform for learning and teaching in Wales, providing its users with access to a range of centrally-funded, bilingual, digital tools and resources.
  • LEO Academy Trust - spearheaded efforts to get all children a Chromebook and provide disadvantaged students with internet connectivity free of charge.
  • Oak National Academy - the Academy was created in April 2020 as a rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak and has since developed 40,000 resources with the support of 550 teachers.
  • Royal Hospital School - RHS delivered over 30,000 online lessons, assemblies and activities to pupils over the course of UK lockdowns.
  • The Grimsby Institute - digital innovation in the education sector.
  • The Sheffield College - a FE college with over 15,000 enrolled learners and apprentices.
  • Westbourne School, Penarth - the school apparently moved from relatively little experience with Google Classroom and online teaching to 100% live lesson coverage over a single week.
  • BlendEd, Northern Ireland - teachers supporting teachers with purposeful edtech use for workflow, teaching and learning.
  • STEAM Co - led by Nick Corston, they 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.
  • The RGS Worcester Family of Schools - as Covid-19 spread, they were able to ensure that learning continued for every pupil by adopting agile re-thinking of their digital learning programme. 
  • DigiLearn - UCLAN’s DigiLearn initiative was developed to enable teaching staff to share innovative practices with each other and help improve the learning experience for students at the university.
  • Department for Education’s EdTech Demonstrator programme.
  • NI Teachers Collaborate - 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.
  • St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Primary and Nursery School, Belfast - 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.
  • Gaelscoil na Daróig - a highly innovative Irish medium school with ICT.
  • St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, Northern Ireland - heavily invested in ICT and have long been a leader in the use of digital to improve practice throughout Northern Ireland.
  • Forth Valley College, Falkirk - a Microsoft Showcase School excelling in the use of digital technology with staff across all its campuses.

Chris Leach - In Memoriam

Drew Buddie, a learning technologist, nominated the late Chris Leach for his ability to make learning complex concepts fun for pupils.

He said: “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.

“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.”

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