Summer of Student Innovation 2014

September 2014 and I’m at Jisc offices London at the final 2014 summer school event with the 21 projects Jisc funded to develop their ideas for technology underpinned innovation in Higher Education. Here’s a summary of the initiative and the project.


My own interest here is the ‘next steps’; which of these projects shows the best potential for a partnership with Jisc moving toward a respected service for our members.

Brettenham House

The summer school has provided an expert support group who, through working with the projects have developed and implemented a series of masterclasses to help move the student teams on toward ‘start up’ viability. Today we’ve got one expert led session then we move on to project ‘pitches’ to the expert support group with a view to giving feedback on next steps such as;

• Transition toward service
• Piloting
• Mentoring
• Supporting collaboration/synergy
• Development support
• Open community support
• Hosting and marketing
• Other e.g. introductions to start ups, investors, related initiatives

First off we’re hearing from Alan Greenberg, former Director of Apple Education EMEA and Asia @alangreenberg.

The vision; develop an educational business for Apple made available through Podcasting, ‘iTunes U’ (a billion downloads of free access content) and mobile.
Setting the scene; the Open University model 9K students curricula delivered online and run ‘as a business’. It can be done and there are big opportunities for technology underpinned mays to teach smarter, quicker, more effectively noting the Chinese, Indian and South American markets are prime.
Opportunities; Curation (there’s a lot of free content available, how does one find the right content, how to best use it, how is it being used).
Cradle to grave; lifelong learning and understanding the value proposition the initiatives here are offering to improve that process
Learn anything using the worlds best resources
Track all your learning; professional, academic and informal
Provide enterprise with a modular way of understanding a persons collection of skills (matching people to opportunities)
Next generation in innovative assessment
The inappropriateness of ‘exit strategies’ – user needs, opportunities, development, disruption, sustainability, spin out; an iterative process not a concluding event
Importance of ‘Pilots’ – working collaboratively with an organisation who can tell you want your product can do for them – the value of building ‘exemplars’ to test the environment – not what you tell people, what you can do. This is an area Jisc should focus on helping happen
The importance of a mentor / wider team than tech dev – the developer is focused on the technology – but can they communicate what the benefits are, what the technology actually does for people? This is an issue I’ve seen projects grapple with, those that fail here make little progress.
Sustainability – does it have legs, does it have a lifetime can it support itself
Learn how to learn – the importance of this in the education system – the apparent lack of skills to support this in entrants to HE (personal work planning and management, collaborative working, communication skills to deal with different stakeholders from purchasing decision makers to teachers using the product (and the opportunities for technology to help out).
The Summer of Student Innovation is a fantastic learning opportunity and must be about fun – enjoy the experience!
Bring Your Own Device – a lot of nonsense – students have devices, content is available – adding value; relevance of content, managing content, curating content, these are the issues to address

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