Marcus Elliott, a Learning Support Tutor at the Grimsby Institute, recently returned from the Grand Final of the ed-invent competition, held at the Belfry Hotel in Cambridge, aimed at putting educators at the heart of educational technology.
Marcus formed one half of a team with a Secondary School Tutor from Gloucester, Dan Wisby, who developed an idea for a student organiser, designed to replace a typical school diary. Marcus explained how he came to enter the competition:
“As part of the Institute’s e-Learning Adviser Programme I was sent an email by Ross Anderson, Group Head of E-Learning, about the competition. We had discussed ways of improving e-Learning around the department and Ross thought I would find the ed-invent competition interesting.
“Basically the idea is to deliver technology for education, specifically from a practitioner’s point of view rather than a software development one. It’s identifying problems that we have as educators and then trying to come up with solutions.”
“Our idea was to create an application or a device that would be updated with live information like scanning to show attendance, room changes and could even allow you to access content needed for the lesson. A lot of departments at the Institute enter their learners into competitions and it’s great for the staff to be entered as well. I’ve really enjoyed my creativity being put to the test.”
For the final Marcus and Dan spent the weekend at the hotel with 30 other educators, refining the ideas for their product before presenting it to a panel of judges, which included the Head of Investment at exam board, OCR. Marcus continued:
“We got excellent feedback from the judges, although we didn’t actually win, but going through the process has made me look at my approach to the work I do in the classroom; it’s about being more entrepreneurial and identifying a problem and fixing it.
I’d now like to run a similar sort of competition at the Grimsby Institute and I think that would be a really nice thing for staff. Staff come up with innovative ideas all the time and there isn’t always a forum to discuss these things.