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Our first round of applications are currently in the ‘matchmaking’ phase, but we’re always looking to engage more schools and colleges. If you represent a school or college and are interested in applying, please email [email protected].

If you are an EdTech company interested in applying to participate for the Testbed, visit our Call for Applications page. For more general information about the project, please visit the project home page.

What is the EdTech Innovation Testbed?

The EdTech Innovation Testbed helps schools and colleges to try out promising technology products for free, while our independent evaluation team find out what works best for students and teachers. The EdTech products are designed to help you with formative assessment and essay marking, parental engagement and timetabling.

Technology has the potential to support teaching and reduce teacher workload - but we know that it doesn't always live up to expectations. Through the EdTech Innovation Testbed, we want to change this. The main outcomes will be practical advice based on evidence for schools, colleges and EdTech. This project is part of a wider programme of work in partnership with the Department for Education to support schools and colleges to make more effective use of technology.

What are the benefits for me and my school or college?

The programme is designed for busy schools and colleges with limited resources - but who want to get involved in the latest research, and want to experiment to see how technology could help them. Here are four key benefits for participating schools and colleges:

  1. Try out technology for free to address a challenge in your school or college to support better student outcomes or reduce staff workload and find out whether it works.
  2. Improve how your school or college uses technology, as part of a community of participating schools/colleges.
  3. Receive ongoing support to reduce the time involved and resource burden to a minimum. We recognise that time is precious and will assist lead staff as best we can. Support can include financial contributions to cover staff time, support with implementing the EdTech tools through helplines and hands-on advice and guidance. Schools will also be supported in collecting data for the evaluation. More information on support is available on our FAQ page.
  4. Professional development for lead staff focused on implementation of educational technology, understanding of evidence and evaluating in your own school or college setting.

How does it work?

EdTech Innovation Testbed - how does it work

Schools and colleges begin by submitting a short online form to tell us about what kinds of technology products you are interested in trying out and what outcomes you are most interested in. Then, our independent evaluation partner, Durham University Evidence Centre for Education, work to match eligible schools and colleges with promising technology products that meet the needs of you and your students. Our first cohort of applications is complete, but please get in touch if you’d like to apply.

Once matched, the evaluation experts will work with you across at least one school term to trial the product and find out what’s working and what’s not. These trials will be carried out from April 2020 to July 2021, with each school likely to take part in one trial starting at the beginning of a school term. Throughout the programme you will be able to receive support, advice and professional development from other schools taking part, the evaluation experts and Nesta.

Who can apply to join?

This programme is open to schools and colleges in England (including primary schools, secondary schools, 6th form colleges and other further education colleges). See our eligibility criteria in the FAQs for more information.

You can apply to join the programme either as an individual school/college, or as an existing group of schools/colleges (e.g. multi-academy trust, or a teaching school alliance).

We ask that the application form is filled-in by the person who is likely to be ‘Lead Contact’ for the duration of the project. You can find more information about the sort of person this might be for your school/college in the FAQs.

Find out how we use any personal information you share.

What next?

Find out more, and check that you’re eligible, by reading our Frequently Asked Questions. See our terms and conditions for participation.

If you have any further questions, or want to get involved, email us on [email protected].