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.

Improving pupil discussion in the classroom


We’re pleased to share with you a short report into some of the  findings and lessons learnt from our recent pilot study with Harris Academy, Battersea.

This exploratory pilot looked at the use of dictaphones and transcripts to improve pupils’ collaborative problem-solving discussions.

Some key findings include the fact that;

  • Teachers found transcriptions of pupil discussions a useful tool for improving practice, especially on pupils working together and solving problems collaboratively.

  • Teachers found it harder than expected to fit even a relatively modest 15 minutes of weekly collaborative problem solving into their lessons.

  • Teachers found the experiment a useful way to reflect upon some of the challenges and opportunities in designing, structuring and facilitating problem-solving activities to ensure meaningful collaboration to take place

The report is the first in a series of experiments we’re conducting in response to our Solved! report published in March 2017.  Our report 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 now.  

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.  We’ll be releasing more information about our other upcoming pilots next week so watch this space!


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Future skills


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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