Revealed: The stars of the UK’s edtech sector
By Amy Gibbons on 27 February 2020
The innovative people, projects and products featured in this year’s prestigious ‘Edtech 50’ list are unveiled
In an ever-changing world, our education system is increasingly reliant on technology – with a host of transformative inventions giving a new lease of life to traditional teaching methods in classrooms throughout the UK.
Today, the "Edtech 50" list shines a spotlight on the people, projects and products that are enhancing teaching and learning in our schools.
From a “VR champion” at a family of independent schools, to an online gaming concept designed to inspire reluctant readers, edtech enthusiasts across the country have been creating a host of new and innovative ways to future-proof our classrooms.
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The list, published by Edtech UK, celebrates the thinkers who have helped to shape the dynamic education technology sector in the past year.
Among those featured are broadcaster, author and educator Russell Prue, who designs and hand-builds live education radio stations for schools, and deputy headteacher Claire Jones, who is “leading change in a massive way” by inspiring her team in their use of technology.
Ty Goddard, chair of Edtech UK and the Edtech 50 judging panel, said: "The Edtech 50 is a celebration of the people, products and projects shaping this dynamic and growing sector across the UK.
"Edtech is growing across Britain and Northern Ireland – supportive for educators, learners, and, if implemented well helps improve education.
"This edtech sector needs bold and imaginative policy to support it, investment, super fast broadband; but above all it needs focus and passion from governments to fully realise its potential for education, skills, new jobs and growth across our country."
The 'Edtech 50'
1. Al Kingsley – managing director of NetSupport, governor at Dogsthorpe Infants School, Peterborough, and host of schooltrustee.blog.
2. Malcolm Wilson – ICT curriculum development officer for Falkirk Council Education Services and blogger on digital technology and e-safety.
3. Andy Caffrey – regional director of EdTechTeam UK, training teachers to use technology to support teaching and learning in the classroom.
4. Sarah Knight – head of change, student experience at Jisc, influencing culture change in the HE/FE sector with @CANagogy and the CAN (Change Agent Network) events.
5. Russell Prue – broadcaster, author and educator, designs and hand-builds live education radio stations for schools all over the world.
6. Nick Madhavji – edtech entrepreneur, CEO and founder of Joskos Group, an award winning, specialist provider of high-quality ICT equipment and support services.
7. The educators:
David Adam – class teacher at Dedridge Primary School, Livingston, using film-making with a class of ASD learners of mixed abilities to support writing.
Esam Baboukhan – e-learning manager at City of Westminster College.
Becki Bawler – lead teacher for ICT at Risca Community Comprehensive, Newport, blogs regularly from @BeckiBawler.
Abdul Chohan – founder of the Olive Tree Free School, former CEO at the Essa Foundation Academies Trust.
Sarah Clark – trainer and fellow at Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline, Fife, empowering people to explore edtech at local schools.
Kierna Corr – Belfast-based early years teacher with her own blog, nosuchthingasbadweather.blogspot.com.
Nic Ford – deputy head (academic) at Bolton School, inspirational leadership, writer, pedagogy and technology geek.
Laura Griffin – Greater Horseshoe Special School, Newton Abbot, leadership team and licensed practitioner of Thrive.
Steven Hope – head of independent learning, driving change at Leeds City College.
Greg Hughes – one of the vice principals at The de Ferrers Academy, Burton-upon-Trent, responsible for curriculum design, websites, learning technologies, ICT resources, and online safety.
Catherine Jessey – assistant headteacher, Peacehaven Community School and member of the GEC: Edtech Collective Leadership Panel.
Claire Jones – deputy headteacher, Layton Primary School, Blackpool, inspiring her team in their use of technology to transform teaching and learning.
Dr Sarah Jones – deputy dean (computing, engineering and media) at De Montfort University, looking at how different narratives emerge within VR, AR and emerging technologies.
Simon Luxford-Moore – a VR champion at ESMS (Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools), Edinburgh.
Jon Neale – digital learning leader at Halcyon London International School, a true ambassador for purposeful integration of technology in education in the UK.
Tony Newland – committed and creative use of music and media tech with pupils at SWAAY, Berkshire.
Simon Pile – assistant head, Anson Primary School, Brent, and publisher of the ‘Why Use’ series.
Rachel Smith – digital leader and foreign languages teacher at a secondary school on the Isle of Man.
Gary Spracklen – headteacher, Prince of Wales School, Dorset, a leader with a long history of innovative use of technology.
Rory Steel – head of academy at Digital Jersey, previously transformed Beaulieu Convent School, Jersey, into a 1:1 gigabit cloud-connected school.
Dr Amanda Taylor-Beswick – social work academic at Queen’s University, Belfast, "transforming social work digital professionalism".
Elaine Topham – senior learning technologist, contributing to the digital transformation of the Grimsby Insititute.
Matt Warne – head of computing at the Royal Grammar School (RGS) Worcestershire, spearheading a technological revolution in the school.
8. SISRA Observe – a bespoke system that supports schools’ CPD processes.
9. EdShed – a range of exceptional and innovative educational products, including The Literacy Shed, Spelling Shed and Maths Shed.
10. Enhance Digital Teaching Platform, ETF – a digital training platform for teachers and trainers in the FE and training sector.
11. Sparx Maths – a socially focused learning technology company, re-imagining the way maths is taught and learnt in schools.
12. SpyQuest – unique, online interactive gaming concept that can inspire reluctant readers.
13. Canvas Learning Platform, Instructure’s VLE, Canvas – a cloud-based learning management system, widely used within the FE sector.
14. 2Simple – creative educational software, used by UK primary schools.
15. Little Bridge – online global platform for learning English that has been used around the world for over 10 years.
16. Lyfta – a computer and tablet-based platform where teachers and pupils can explore immersive, human-focused documentary stories from around the world.
17. Mindful Education – learning platform of media-rich professional courses and apprenticeships.
18. Now>press>play – fuses wireless technology, drama and sound to create unique educational experiences for primary school learners.
19. GoBubble – a child-safe social media platform.
20. Avantis ClassVR – a stand-alone virtually reality headset specifically designed for use in the classroom.
21. Wakelet – a visual content platform that curates content across the web.
22. Apple Pencil/iPad, Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom – game-changing products nominated by educators across the United Kingdom.
23. Digi Ladies – promoting girls in tech.
24. Techpathways London – supporting a broad spectrum of educators to increase their knowledge of London's digital opportunities.
25. Lessonvu at Aston University Engineering Academy – video lesson observation, review and reflection technology.
26. London Design & Engineering UTC student projects – students performing at professional levels in the design and implementation of innovative digital/engineering projects.
27. Barton Peveril Sixth Form College – transforming the college’s library through the introduction of G Suite for Education.
28. The Penrith Hub – part of a collaborative cluster of nine schools, bringing people and resources together across a ten-mile radius in the Eden Valley.
29. SmartSTEMS – hub events, plus industry/education sector outreach, to inspire pupils to explore Stem and Stem careers.
30. Foundation for Digital Creativity – advancing the education of adults and children, inspiring future generations to create, invent and learn through digital making.
31. Digital Learning: student teachers leading in schools – student teachers from the University of South Wales, delivering sessions about integrating technology into lessons.
32. #Femedtech – hashtag networking feminist critical digital educators.
33. The mTech.Academy Smart Cities Challenge – students researching smart cities around the world to develop solutions that will help transform their own Northern Ireland communities into the smart cities of the future.
34. UCL Educate Accelerator Programme – a pioneering research accelerator programme that helps and supports edtech innovators to develop world-class products and services.
35. Digital Innovation Roundtables – community of practice hosted by FE colleges across London.
36. Steam School – broadcasting interviews with inspirational people from the worlds of science, tech and digital media into schools.
37. The Plus Apps Project – development of a suite of apps at Manor School Sports College.
38. Code the Future Project – North Ayrshire Council’s project to help assist schools and libraries run code clubs and Stem events.
39. Petroc College Learning Tech and Library team – highlighting technology for education, promoting the use of Google applications and introducing VR into the FE classroom.
40. The Creative Computing Club – providing young people in Suffolk with the opportunity to learn new digital skills in a fun and informal learning environment.
41. Hodder Education Historic Environment Webinars – historic environment site tours in the classroom using VR technology.
42. Harlow College Digital Strategy – underpinning the integrated use of technology for all students across all delivery areas and training for all staff.
43. Mini Game Jam – a transition cluster event, encouraging digital and in person teamwork from primary to secondary school.
44. Recreation Road Infant School Digital Team – digital leaders in Year 2.
45. MFL Twitterati Podcast – showcases voices of modern language teaching in the UK, Ireland and beyond.
46. Night Zookeeper SkyKids Challenge – this digital "power of story" learning tool moves from the classroom to the TV.
47. Castlemilk Family Learning Centre – digitally equipped nursery, catering for age groups from six weeks to five years.
48. The BCoT Maths website – used across the UK, offers a range of free GCSE and Functional Skills maths resources.
49. Making Space: Spark Lab, Howard Junior School, the AmmA Centre and Spark Penketh High School – three projects making and creating physical and intellectual space for STEAM to flourish across the United Kingdom.
50. Bolton College: Chat Bot, Ada and FirstPass, Bolton College's Formative Assessment Project – supporting students and teachers with the assessment of open-ended formative questions.