In the last few years we have seen aspects of school life slowly being wrested away from the bureaucratic nightmare of the Labour government. The Tories though aren’t much better although by releasing us from some of the restrictions of the last government we have some opportunities as teachers and educationalists to really define the future of education in the country.
I am therefore looking forward to attending the #purposed hacking education event in Oxford on the 17th of November. I’m not too sure what to expect from the day other than insanely exciting discussion on education so I suppose it would be a good idea to start developing ideas which I could take forward to the day.
One thing I have always been intrigued with is the startup scene. Having never been a part of a startup my knowledge of it is very limited and very much external. However it is easy to identify the creativity and vision which goes on in a startup and also see examples of many startups which have become well established including this one Posterous which I am using for this blog.
So my question is – how do we inspire a startup scene in the education sector. Yes there are obviously lots of companies which pop up over the years with new products and services for schools but they feel like they have been developed ‘separately’ and then pushed into schools. I am aware I may be generalising here but I think what I am describing is fairly close to the truth.
What I think is missing an educational startup scene where teachers are able to through the support of their schools work on startups alongside their own work. Or where companies are able to tap the ideas of teachers on a more regular basis through arranged contracts.
I think a lot of staff who may not be think they could contribute to a startup (or even lead one) could certainly benefit from advice, investment, structures or systems to bring forward ideas. Perhaps even the #purposed movement could even become part of this as well.
I would like to finish with a good article from Wired on Jimmy Wales’s opinions on the UK startup scene which too me seems very appropriate.
London has an advantage over Silicon Valley when it comes to attracting entrepreneurs because it a culturally-diverse, creative city, according to Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and Wikia.
“Nobody wants to live in San JosÃ©, not as an inherent thing. You get a lot more good idea generation and interaction at these crossroads between cultures.” He told Wired.co.uk.
While Wales recognises that Silicon Valley is still one of the best places in the world for fostering young businesses, he describes the “echo chamber” that can occur there, whereby companies might get 20,000 customers within just two weeks of launch, but those customers are all within five miles of each other. “Loads of ideas end up coming from elsewhere because people in Silicon Valley are blind to it. Elsewhere you can see market needs that aren’t getting noticed in Silicon Valley.” Wales explains.
By: Olivia Solon, Edited by: Duncan Geere