Last week team Nano Simbox were at the fabulous new campus for University for the Arts London. We were invited to present Nano Simbox, as one of six Innovate UK funded businesses, at an event discussing Digital Disruptions of the Educational Institution. As the title makes no effort to hide, the symposium style event considered how we might use technology as an intervention in current practices of formalized learning. There were multiple messages about how to implement change, and below we outline a few of them.

Digital disruption is…connecting and sharing:  Jim Knight kicked off the event by illuminating ideas on teacher networks and sharing resources. Many educators would agree that our role is to facilitate learning and discovery, and most would encourage learners to co-create, and ultimately develop a sense of agency to solve real world problems. One of the messages at the event was that teachers and educators also have agency to make change, and using the sharing economy model, technology amplifies the way that we can share ideas and co-create globally to have an impact.

Digital disruption is…real world problem solving: Graham Brown-Morten’s keynote gave an insight into the kinds of real world problem solving he encountered in the Learning {RE}imaged project. Across the globe, schools are using digital tools to learn to solve problems that have an impact in the real world. David Glowacki, our Scientific Consultant, made this point in his panel on New Technologies: “give people industry level problems that are relevant and critical to the society we live in”. It is not the digital tools alone that are going to make changes, it is the who, how, why of digital tools.

Digital disruption is….re-assessing assessment: The question that punctuated many of the discussions was “how do we change the assessment system?”. Not an easy problem to solve. As we move towards 21st century skills, and a student centered curriculum, quantifying learning becomes more challenging. A great amount of research funding is devoted to exploring this question, and companies are using technology to develop alternatives modes for quantifying learning such as bit-coin style rewards and badges, but are these kinds of rewards the way forward?

Nano Simbox was one of 6 business to be awarded funding from Innovate UK SBRI. Find out more about the event on the Storify