About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Four new experiments in collaborative problem-solving

Last week, we shared the first in a series of practical experiments we’re conducting in response to our Solved! report published in March 2017.   

Solved! showed that the ability to solve problems with others (collaborative problem-solving) is more important than ever for future work, and helps kids succeed in the classroom.

However it also showed that, despite its promise, collaborative problem-solving features little in UK school life

We want to change this. Our report identified a number of recommendations (and practical ideas) of how we can help make this happen.  Each of the subsequent pilots we are running respond in some  way to these ideas and recommendations.

1. Pilot with Harris Academy, Battersea looking at whether dictaphones and transcripts can improve pupil problem-solving discussions in the classroom- this is already complete, and an overview can be found here.

2. Pilot with Raspberry Pi working with 10 of their code clubs, looking at whether attempting problem-solving practically or studying worked examples of problem-solving processes, results in more success in collaborative digital making.  

This responds to our third report recommendation the need to "educate and involve the out-of-school learning sectors and volunteer educators" in order to also engage audiences and educators in non-traditional settings. This pilot will look at the impact of two different approaches to problem-solving.  A more detailed blog about the first of these pilots can be found here.

3. Pilot with NRICH working with 10 primary schools in Cambridgeshire to promote collaborative problem-solving approaches in maths. Here the focus is on teacher support and training to help teachers use their free resources.

This responds to our second Solved! report recommendation, the need to "fund existing aligned programmes to scale impact and evaluate" recognising the promise of the website’s collaborative resources and the popularity of the site among educators (last year it attracted 7.9 million visitors).

It also recognised the need for more teacher training in order to give "teachers knowledge, expertise and confidence" when using collaborative resources. This pilot attempts to address both of these recommendations.

4. Pilot with Maths Circle & Times Table Rockstars led by Bruno Reddy to create and develop a distribution platform for high quality maths problems, allowing schools to develop their students' problem solving abilities more easily

This responds to our first report recommendation; the need to "stimulate the production of  of quality collaborative problem-solving resources and training from primary onwards".  

We hope that if this pilot demonstrates the success of such a platform it can be rolled out nationally to provide time-poor teachers with easy access to quality maths problems.

News and updates on the other pilots will follow soon, as we hope to learn more about how we can better support our children to solve problems together and prepare them for a future job market that is set to look very different.

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Maeve Croghan

Maeve Croghan

Maeve Croghan

Education Intern, Innovation Lab

Maeve was an education intern at Nesta in the Innovation Lab.

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