UK education providers are constantly looking to improve the way they engage with learners in relation to their expectations and experiences of technology.
Trying to come up with new technology to enhance students' learning is certainly a big ask and I believe that these ideas shouldn’t only come from the teachers.
Benefits for students
It sounds simple, but asking and involving students in how technology could support them in their studies means you’re actually giving them what they want and need.
With this in mind, in 2013 I was part of a team that decided to develop a competition offering students the chance to create solutions that could change education forever.
The Summer of Student Innovation enables students to realise their big ideas for using technology to improve education, research and student life for themselves and their fellow students. The competition is part of our research and development work which identifies up and coming technologies and develops them to meet your needs.
I’ve seen from previous years just how beneficial the Summer of Student Innovation is for the teams involved.
Students get the opportunity to gain important design, entrepreneurial and project management skills as they work up their ideas, while staff and participating organisations can ensure they stay at the forefront of new technology developments.
Projects we are already developing further
Jisc is also continuing to work with several projects, helping them to take their ideas to the next level.
Call for Participants
Call for Participants was an idea pitched to us in the first cohort in 2013 by three PhD students from the University of Nottingham. Their idea was to create a website that would provide a trusted platform to connect researchers and participants, helping to increase public engagement and build a community interested in contributing to academic research.
Through Jisc’s close relationship with universities and colleges, we’ve been able to open doors to the team within the academic community and make it easier for them to meet with their key stakeholders.
Call for Participants is now used by researchers from over 220 institutions and was used by more than 500 participants last year. We are now working with the team to transition it to a Jisc service and make it an even more successful service.
It’s not just those in higher education who have produced successful ideas. One of the most promising entries in 2014 was Lingoflow, a language-learning app designed by brothers, Lukas and Kamil Ondrej from Sussex Downs College that would let learners create their own collections of vocabulary, score them on their recollection, and then encourage repetition of the less well-known terms and phrases.
As the project developed, Lukas and Kamil developed personally with it too. Both credit the Summer of Student Innovation with helping to develop their confidence, presentation and interpersonal skills, as well as enabling them to make valuable new business contacts.
A few months down the line I’m pleased to say that Lukas and Kamil are close to launching a new and improved Lingoflow app and website.
Your chance to get involved
This year our competition has a wider reach including a category that requires no technical expertise and one solely for learners from further education and skills.
The four categories are:
- The student ideas competition
Exploring ideas looking into how technology can improve the student experience in further or higher education. The final five projects will receive £2,000 funding from Jisc and those taken forward to the product development phase will then receive an additional £3,000.
- Supporting technology start-up projects
Start-up grants to assist existing teams to promote and pilot their products with universities, colleges or learning providers. Open to any team with an eligible sponsor in education. The five projects selected will all receive funding of £20,000.
- The learner ideas in FE competition
Exploring ideas around how technology can improve the learning experience in FE and skills. Ten teams will be selected and each awarded £5,000 to get started, with an additional possibility of a further £5,000 to develop the idea into a product.
- The apprentice-led ideas challenge
Ideas to improve learning from apprentices and trainees. You will work with your provider, Jisc and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) to explore and develop your idea and make it a reality. The two projects selected will all receive funding of £20,000.
To enter all you need to do is upload a short video pitch, a brief summary and a 500 word description of your idea on the Jisc Elevator website. Make sure you detail the benefits of your idea and how it will impact upon research and education.
The deadline for entries is the 18 May and successful entrants will be announced in June.
We look forward to seeing your ideas!