EdTech Hub: The ‘Airbnb’ of Education
The world is changing and education needs to change with it. Many sectors have been transformed by the so called ‘share economy’. Booking accommodation through Airbnb, ordering a taxi through Uber, raising money through crowd funding and sharing your pets through BorrowMyDoggy are all perfect examples of how people are sharing in today’s economy. Why is this business model increasing in popularity and how could it benefit the education sector?
More efficient use of resources
School budgets have never been tighter but the pressure and expectations placed on schools has also never been higher. In 2014, the government made a decision to remove ICT from the national curriculum and replace it with Computing. Children as young as five years old are now being taught how to code with the idea that students will leave school prepared for the new digital workplace. However, in order to achieve this goal, teachers need to be able to access the right technology. There’s no shortage of edtech products available in the marketplace (over 850 companies exhibited at the BETT show) but as I’ve already mentioned, there is a shortage of finance. How can schools make better use of their resources?
Has your school ever bought technology and only used it one or two days a week? Imagine if this technology, which is sat around idle, could be put to better use to benefit more schools. School A who owns the technology could rent it to school B for a set fee and this would allow school A to spend money on other resources they need. School B on the other hand, would have access to new technology at a fraction of investing in the equipment themselves and it would give their students an opportunity to enrich their learning using something different.
Sharing knowledge and expertise
However, accessing the right technology is only one factor impacting the teaching of computing in schools. According to a survey by Farnell element14, nearly a third (31%) of teachers don’t feel confident teaching coding in their lessons and 42% felt they hadn’t received adequate training and support. One problem associated with purchasing and implementing new technology is the added expense of providing training to all teachers across the school. In a lot of cases, this requires external companies to come in and deliver CPD training.
Instead of relying on external companies to deliver training, EdTech Hub aims to create a community of highly specialised teachers who can provide affordable training in schools. Consequently, when a school decides to rent technology from a local school, a teacher highly specialised in using that technology, will come along and deliver CPD training to teachers within the school at a fraction of the cost. Not only does the school benefit from cheaper training but the teacher who delivered the training receives a boost to their income. Everybody wins.
More choice, less risk
Another factor that schools need to navigate is the overwhelming amount of edtech products available. Where should a school start? If a school invests in a product, how long will it last? The sheer number of products available to schools and the rapidly changing marketplace are both reasons why schools are reluctant to invest. Creating a sharing economy in the education sector overcomes both of these problems. Schools have access to a wider number of products and the risk of implementing them into the classroom has been significantly reduced. School A can claw back their initial investment by renting to other schools and school B doesn’t run the risk of investing a significant chunk of their budget.
If you’re interested in finding out more about a future sharing economy in the education sector, register your interest at www.edtechhub.co.uk.
Stuart is a Teach First ambassador, former Google Expeditions associate and founder of PrimeVR and EdTech Hub. He is currently on a mission to provide schools with an alternative option for accessing technology in the classroom. EdTech Hub is a new online platform for schools to rent and share technology and is born out of the frustrations experienced by teachers when trying to find ways for their students to access the latest technology.