London Edtech Week 2018

Pastries, pizzas, impact, and insight — a recap of our events

Emerge Education
Jun 28, 2018 · 5 min read

Every summer, the international edtech community comes to London for the regular EdtechXEurope conference — and stays around for a programme of associated events about everything edtech known as London Edtech Week. As in the past, this year, Edspace and Emerge Education opened our doors to educators, innovators, and investors from around the world to share some insights into what makes edtech startups work — both as an innovation opportunity for our educational institutions and as businesses.


The teams at Edspace and Emerge are passionate about opening up new paths to innovation in education. We know that the only way innovative practices succeed and become embedded in mainstream education is when they are based on strong evidence or at the very least the desire to understand whether they are having a positive effect on learners, educators, and institutions. At best, innovation without evidence of impact creates pockets of excellence that are never replicated across the system; worse yet, it may end up introducing change for the sake of change and create disruption without improvement.

This is why our first event in London Edtech Week focused specifically on the impact of edtech, creating a space for dialogue between entrepreneurs and educators about what makes digital innovation in the classroom effective. To help us make the most of the evening, we turned to our partners at Innovate My School, a community of educators who share our desire to improve the quality of dialogue between these two groups.

With dozens of teachers, entrepreneurs, and aspiring innovators in attendance bonding over pizza and drinks, the event kicked off with an overview of the results from a recent survey of school leaders ran by Innovate My School:

We were delighted to co-host an event with Edspace during London Edtech Week to raise awareness of edtech impact. With an eclectic mix of delegates from both schools and industry, it gave us the opportunity to canvass a wide range of opinions through surveying the audience throughout the event. Their opinions were compared to our latest edtech survey results, which — apart from schools wanting more money (who doesn’t?!) — revealed that context is a critical factor in schools choosing to invest in a specific edtech product.

— Michael Forshaw, CEO @ Innovate My School

Michael Forshaw opening up the proceedings

The survey results highlighted many of the driving forces behind edtech purchasing decisions and the barriers to implementation that are known to anyone working in the sector. Social media and user reviews continue to drive discovery of new products, as do independent reports from trusted sources; budget constraints and lack of training remain major impediments. However, as the impact agenda continues to gather pace, the survey also brought up the issue of impact evidence — and how relevant it is across different school contexts.

For a greater insight into how edtech founders think about their impact in schools, we hosted lightning presentations from five companies from the Edspace and Emerge communities, followed by a Q&A with respected educator Bukky Yussuf on how schools think about the impact of edtech:

Approaches to impact from the presenters varied quite widely — some have secured major research grants from the EEF and others areworking with individual researchers on focused RCTs; some have a relentless focus on improvement through close dialogue with customers and others are empowering teachers to drive digital practices in the classroom themselves. What united every one of them was their passion for creating a real impact in the classroom and an understanding that we can all do better to produce high-quality evidence of edtech impact in the classroom — something that requires educators, entrepreneurs, and researchers to pool together knowledge, skill, and effort.

It is clear that there is a long way to go before the sector can self-evaluate, with the robustness required, which edtech products are likely to have the biggest impact, and in which context. This event, however, showed there is an appetite, from both sides of the fence, to get there. We look forward to continuing to move the needle through www.edtechimpact.com

— Michael Forshaw, CEO @ Innovate My School


To finish off the week, we held our traditional Founder Breakfast, attended this time around by over 80 investors, educators, and entrepreneurs who came together to learn more about Edspace, Emerge, and how edtech startups drive innovation across the system. As a special treat for the London Edtech Week audience, Emerge CEO Jan Lynn-Matern held live interviews with some of the most successful edtech startups of recent years about different aspects of their business journey:

For those unable to join us, here’s a summary of the morning, as live-tweeted (!) on the day:

Many thanks to everyone who was a part of our London Edtech Week programme of events — we look forward to seeing you again throughout the year! And remember, you can always sign up to come along for our monthly Founder Breakfasts — the next one is on 12 July.

Emerge Edtech Insights

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