Why are we doing this?
Technology is redefining almost every aspect of our lives, from raising finance to hailing a taxi. Digital startups and innovations are rewriting the rules and turning established industries on their heads, but our education system isn't keeping up.
Firstly, we're not equipping young people with the right skills to succeed and innovate in a digital world. Compared to the scale of opportunity that digital technology holds, very few people currently possess either the programming skills or confidence to create new technology, whether websites, apps, computers, robots - or things we can't even imagine yet.
At the same time, educators aren't taking advantage of existing technology to enhance learning at scale. All of this adds up to a need - and an opportunity - to rethink education in the UK. We believe this won't just benefit young people themselves, but society and the economy too.
What are we doing?
We’ve developed our education programme with support from our partners Nominet Trust, Mozilla, Scottish Government and Futurelab at NFER. Together, we’re looking at ways to improve education (both in and out of the classroom) from a number of angles: our work spans research, investments and practical programmes.
- Make Things Do Stuff - is a platform that gives young people the tools and support to make and share digital things. It's been created by a group of like-minded organisations that want to inspire young people to be creators, not just consumers of digital technologies. We think that by working together we can make more noise and a bigger impact on the lives of young people so that every young person sees technology as a way to make new things and solve real problems.
- Digital Makers Fund – is supporting innovations that aim to significantly increase the number of young people participating in digital making. We are backing seven organisations who receive a share of the £260,000 – up to £50,000 – to scale their projects and reach more young people. They are: Code Club, CoderDojo-Scotland, Printcraft, Technocamps, Technology Will Save Us, Our Lady’s Catholic High School – Alan O’Donohoe and Imagication).
- Nesta Scotland – our work in Scotland involves support from the Scottish Government. Computing teacher Kate Farrell has been seconded to our team in Scotland to work on a range of digital making CPD support programmes for teachers at both primary and secondary school level. Between now and June 2014 you will see the following work take place in Scotland: One Day Digital events (industry master classes on digital making) for teachers, Testing CPD support and new digital making lesson plans for teachers in a cluster of schools and digital Creativity support networks in geographic clusters. If you would like to get involved in this work, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Decoding learning - looking at how digital tools and products can be integrated within education, to develop new and better ways of learning and improve educational attainment.
- Innovation in Education – is exploring how digital technology can support and enhance learning in schools and formal education. Nesta are working to facilitate collaboration between schools, the education technology industry and researchers exploring evidence in education. We are currently running research projects funded by the Education Endowment Foundation exploring the impact of Remote Tutoring with Thirdspace Learning, The Visible Classroom with the University of Melbourne and Ai Media. We are also exploring Flipped Learning in partnership with the National Foundation for Educational Research.
- Nesta’s Impact Investment Fund – a £17.6 m fund to back entrepreneurial ideas which address three specific social needs - one of which is improving the educational attainment and employability of children and young people.
Our landmark Next Gen report highlighted the lack of value in the ICT curriculum, which has since been disapplied. Plan I made the economic case for increasing digital fluency among young people, hailing this as one of 12 key drivers of innovation-led growth and Decoding Learning explores the proof, promise, and potential of using digital technologies to improve learning.
Our Decoding Learning report looks at the impact of digital tech in the classroom
Find out more about our work to encourage young people to create rather than just use technology