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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.

Rocket Fund: 50 schools live in Wave 3

On Monday 13 November, wave 3 of Rocket Fund went live. We currently have 50 schools, from across the UK, fundraising for a range of technology products.

Rocket Fund (rocket.fund) is a crowdfunding platform for schools designed to enable all schools to access the latest technology and find out what works.

For this wave we tested a new form of match funding: instead of a 50:50 match, we offered a 50 per cent bridge fund (or “rocket boost” as we call it) for the first 10 schools to hit 25 per cent of their target. This means that the first 10 schools to hit 25 per cent, will an extra receive 50 per cent from Nesta, to boost them toward their target. This was to encourage schools to start sharing as soon as they go live and make the match funding process more transparent.

Within a week, six schools have already hit their target and are now overfunding (one school hit its target in a record eight hours!), so we’re glad to say the “rocket boost” works. We’ve even had a donation from the big man himself (Father Christmas!).

Schools across the UK are getting involved

Best pitch videos in this wave

Again in this wave, we’ve had some excellent pitch videos. This time around, we didn’t encourage schools as strongly as last time to create pitch videos (as we wanted to minimise the amount of time it takes to create a pitch). However, if schools can it definitely helps engage donors and is a really fun thing to get students involved with. Here are a couple of crackers:

St John’s Rocket Fund

What are schools fundraising for this time?

Schools are fundraising for a large variety of items in this wave, from iPads to 3D printers. Although there seems to be a strong interest in robots to teach coding and computing skills. Here’s a selection of them:

  1. Bee-bot coding robots - to engage early years children in the coding curriculum.
  2. Dash and Dot Robots - to provide hands-on learning tools for students, in maths, computational thinking and creative writing.
  3. BBC microbit kits - to show students that programming isn't just theoretical, but can make things react.
  4. Raspberry Pi Kits - to establish a digital maker space in their school.
  5. Ozobots - to develop programming skills by inspiring creativity and mastering of coding and algorithms.
  6. Pi-Top computers - to prepare children for the future by teaching them skills that they can adapt and use in the ever-changing world of technology.
  7. Lego WeDo robot kits - to provide pupils the opportunity to design, build and code their own products using Lego, meeting the demands of the design technology/computing curriculum.
  8. Sphero coding robots - to set up a Tech Treasure Chest, a portable tech kit that can be used throughout the school for physical computing projects.

Biggest donation so far...

£840 from the big man himself! (Great work Lunts Heath Primary for finding his email address!)

Father Christmas

We’ve also had some support from local businesses (from a bed warehouse to a local electrical service) and they've made large donations… well done Meir Heath Primary School for engaging them!

Stay tuned for more updates or browse all the live projects here.

How you can get involved

Teachers: If your school would like to get involved with this wave, we're open for submissions until 27 November 2017. To get involved, just start creating a project here: www.rocket.fund.

Businesses: If you’d like to support a school on Rocket Fund, contact us here.

Any questions? Contact us here.

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Rocket Fund


Ben Gill

Ben Gill

Ben Gill

Senior Programme Manager

Ben was a Senior Programme Manager in the Innovation Lab's Education Team.

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