An Innovation Platform that allows educational technology industry, schools and educational institutions co-develop better educational technology for learning.
The challenge addressed by the GP is the difficulty in testing educational technology (edtech) which companies face, due to the lack of mutual interest between vendors and schools. Co-developing edtech together with teachers and schools is a way to increase the utility of products. However, companies’ abilities to approach this distinctive type of institutions are often insufficient resulting in the need of an external partner to facilitate the overall process.
This GP develops and pilots concept, where edtech companies, universities and educational institutions cooperate to support companies evidence-based agile product development. The objective is to create open innovation platform for supporting digital teaching and learning. It involves three actors: university, educational technology vendors and educational institutions in Tampere region. These three stakeholders together try to further develop educational technology. The project is under implementation, but it is reaching its objectives. The main beneficiaries are schools and students, being able to test products for free and in the future being able to use products useful and fitting to their needs, as well as education technology vendors, which have a chance to test their products and collect user experience feedback from schools. University obtains valuable data, which can be used for research, and extension of the network of potential partners for future projects.
ERDF funding amounts to 196 000 EUR, university own funding amounts to 130 000 EUR. 60% of funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 40% comes from the University of Tampere. The project team consists of three persons: Project Leader, post-doc researcher and a PhD researcher.
Evidence of success
The GP provides benefits for various stakeholder; it is especially valuable for schools located in remote areas, with limited access to new technologies than schools located in the cities. There are 12 vendors, around 40 elementary schools, 5 upper secondary schools, 3 VET centers and three HE institutions involved. Over 800 students and over 50 teachers took part in product development and assessment procedures. The GP highly resonates with the RRI, public engagement and open innovation themes.
Coordination of large network stakeholders within the project is very challenging. It could be facilitated by automation of processes. A project is also limited by regional boundaries where it can operate. Possibility of recruiting vendors from larger area would enable further project development.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice can be potentially interesting for other regions, where educational technology vendors operate. GP is an example for a novel way to do cross-sectoral innovation policy via Innovation Platform, which connects business and educational institutions to achieve mutual benefits. Co-creating products based on real needs of end users, pedagogically relevant and user friendly, can create success stories of regional companies at international education market, as well as facilitate teaching in regional schools.
Key success factor for a transfer of this GP is gaining trust of schools and teachers, and willingness of all stakeholders to cooperate. To fulfil this condition, it is necessary to create a strong network between stakeholders. Appropriate selection of team members can facilitate this task.
Low level of regional IT business development can hamper a transfer of this practice. In such case, recruiting vendors also from outside of the region might be necessary.
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