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EdTech Testbeds: Models for improving evidence

This report looks at examples of EdTech testbeds from around the world and suggests four models for how to deliver an EdTech testbed in the UK.

Educational technology (EdTech) has the potential to transform education but too often it fails to live up to expectations. Evidence is a key part of this problem. Reliable, relevant evidence can enable good decision-making around EdTech. But evidence is often missing, irrelevant, or hard to understand. This report looks at examples of EdTech testbeds from around the world as a mechanism to generate more evidence for what works, and suggests four models for how to deliver an EdTech testbed in the UK. The four models suggest different ways of gathering and sharing evidence on EdTech to improve our understanding of what works. This report will feed into the design of an EdTech Innovation Testbed in England, in partnership with the Department for Education, to help schools make more effective use of technology to tackle key challenges.

Key findings:

  • Barriers to better evidence in EdTech include the variety of different evidence needed for different products, lack of time and money in schools to take part, and the capacity of EdTech companies to generate evidence.
  • An EdTech testbed is an environment to test and experiment with EdTech in a real world setting. We chose five case studies from around the world to look at how testbeds can be delivered in practice.
  • We developed four models for EdTech testbeds: Co-design; Test and Learn; Evidence Hub; EdTech network. Each of these generates different kinds of evidence to suit different needs.

Models for EdTech testbeds

EDTech testbeds

Authors

Richard Batty

Richard is a researcher on the Good Problems team at design and research company, Science Practice.

Ana Florescu

Ana leads the Good Problems team at design and research company, Science Practice.

Andrea Wong

Andrea is a designer and researcher on the Good Problems team at design and research company, Science Practice.

Mike Sharples

Mike Sharples is Emeritus Professor of Educational Technology in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, UK and Honorary Visiting Professor at the Centre for...