Next week I will be presenting a session at Bett 2016 in the FE and Skills Theatre on Wednesday 20 January from 12:10 – 12:40. The session is called 'Showcase: Jisc Summer of Student Innovation – inspiring learners to innovate.'
I’ll be sharing the benefits of our student innovation competition which we have been running for the past three years, and talking through how a similar approach can help your students develop employable skills.
Summer of Student Innovation - recap
The competition supports the development of learners by working with them to create and develop potential innovative ideas for new products that can support the whole higher and further education community. These ideas come from the learners themselves and address challenges faced by many.
The experience itself supports students to develop a range of skills which will support them in their future workplace.
To talk you through the benefits students can gain I wanted to share this story which is inspired by the college teams from the Summer of Student Innovation 2015, although it does not represent any specific individuals, team or college.
The competition through the eyes of a tutor
It’s the new year and we all like to make resolutions and if you are teaching in a college or university then try something new for 2016.
Looking for a challenge...
Here is a story of a college tutor who did just that in 2015.
The tutor was looking for a technology challenge project for a group of apprentices in a college. It needed to involve the use of technology and also help develop team skills and project management experience.
Summer of Student Innovation comes along...
At around the same time the tutor spotted Jisc's learner ideas in FE competition, which invited learners to submit interesting and innovative ideas for using technology that could improve their learning experience. Successful teams could win a grant of up to £5000 and have their ideas developed into a working product.
The tutor looked at some of the previous examples, which required the teams to produce a video pitch and write a short description, but stopped short of actually building an app or website, and decided the competition looked achievable for all the class.
So the tutor set the class a project assignment to come up with ideas that could be submitted to the competition. The ideas were then presented by each team to the whole class who then voted on the idea they felt was most likely to be a winner.
Students get stuck in...
The tutor supported the selected team of six learners to submit their idea and achieve the required 250 votes, from students and interested people.
The team were ecstatic when their idea was selected and they were invited to participate in a four-day design sprint in August. As these were held during the summer holidays the tutor was also available to attend.
The tutor was amazed at how hard the team worked; developing their idea, identifying users, designing a story board, refining the product and producing a wireframe design, gathering user feedback on the idea by contacting people by phone, email and locally. Each day they had to present their progress to the other teams and receive constructive feedback. By the end of the four days they were all exhausted.
The tutor said it was the most valuable experience the students' had on the course so far.
The final push and a sense of pride...
However; it was not over. To make it the next stage they had to pitch their idea at a “Dragons Den” style panel at the end of August in London.
The tutor was so pleased with the preparation the team put in for their pitch. The students did an excellent job on the day and - if selected - would see their ideas developed into working prototype by Jisc over the next year.
This year's competition
This year’s Summer of Student Innovation competition will be launched on 2 March 2016 at Digifest and will invite ideas from both college and university students, and apprentices in further education and skills.
Ideas from learners in colleges will require a sponsor from the college who will also participate in the summer design sprint activities. The deadline for submission of ideas will be in late May. Further details will be available on the Summer of Student Innovation project page in March.
There is a prize of £2000 for each winning team selected to participate in the design sprint in August, which will pay for their attendance at the events and a further £3000 for ideas we take forward after September to develop the ideas into potential products.
Be inspired - get involved
We are currently developing six ideas from the 2015 competition and you can follow their progress via the project page.
So if your learners have ideas for how they can improve their learning experience or college life, then why not encourage them to enter the Summer of Student Innovation competition 2016.