Our purpose is to surface EdTech innovation, support transferability and match educational needs to proven Solutions
Gluu believes that, taken separately, creating an education system that addresses the demands of the 21st century and making teaching an attractive profession both necessitate a refocusing of the role of teachers.
Taken together they create a compelling case to build an education system that supports teachers to become innovators and researchers in education, not just deliverers of the curriculum.
Creating a culture of risk-taking and innovation has, however, not proven easy to achieve. While pockets of innovative EdTech practice continue to inspire and encourage others to embed innovative change into their practice, current models of development do not allow innovation to be scaled or adopted widely.
Education research does not in itself answer this difficulty, as a recent research report (Facts Are More Important Than Novelty: Replication in the Education Sciences Matthew C. Makel, Duke University and Jonathan A. Plucker, University of Connecticut 2014) analysed the complete publication history of the current top 100 education journals and found that only 0.13% of education articles were replications. Of these, replication studies that were conducted by completely new research teams were found to be successful 54 percent of the time.
This of course does not prove that educational research could not be replicated, but it does confirm that there is almost no evidence that research has been successfully replicated. This absence of replicated research is one reason that it is very difficult to identify “what works” in education – there is considerable evidence of things that have worked in the context of the specific research, but little attempt to repeat similar work that can help tease out the underlying factors of success.
Gluu believes the required change cannot be achieved through top-down imposition of accountability and structures that discourage risk. What is needed is a more networked, collaborative approach that connects key stakeholders in a dynamic web: a web that encourages leadership and innovation at all levels, and allows innovation to be shared.
Gluu is connecting and nurturing coalitions of EdTech stakeholders and practitioners, educators, edupreneurs and policy makers to harness the collaborative power of their people.
Our approach enables teachers not just to be innovative within their own classroom, but to be influential on a wider stage, creating a new cadre of ‘teacherpreneurs’.
This word, referenced by the RSA in their report “Creative Public Leadership: How School System Leaders Can Create the Conditions for System-wide Innovation”, was coined by Berry et al. who described a new type of teacher leaders who combine classroom teaching with the development of connections and ideas which have influence beyond their institution: in essence a new, deliberately created cohort of ‘teacher innovators’ who have their feet firmly planted in the classroom but who are skilled enough to take deliberate risks, often in partnership with external service providers.
Communities for Innovation
Gluu will facilitate the creation of communities for innovation by bring policymakers and other system leaders into shared-goal partnerships of schools and teachers and, as part of this process, creating incentives for teachers and others stakeholders to innovate in collaboration with others.
The key here is that the teacherpreneurs are a deliberately created cohort of teacher innovators. While experimentation and good practice will take place in any system, moving from pockets of innovation to wide adoption requires purposeful intervention to create the structures and conditions that allow innovation to thrive and be scaled.
Gluu will address this by identifying leading practitioners and putting them at the centre of the innovation and dissemination processes; ensuring that they are invested in as innovators. These teacher innovators will learn how to design rigorous assessment and evaluation processes that allow them to understand and explain their journey as well as measure the impact of their work. They will also, through the EdTech Hubs, be working as part of a larger community including learners, parents, employers, and other local stakeholders.
As ‘communities for innovation’, the EdTech Hubs will return teachers to the front and centre of the process of improving classroom practice, giving them the opportunity to create new approaches, and to evaluate and refine their practice through articulating and sharing their practice with others.
In doing this, Gluu will help to form new systems and cultures that empower teachers and school leaders to take risks, and to generate a return for so doing. This requires collaborative professional development to give teachers the capacity to have a sophisticated relationship with research and evidence, so that they are not just ‘doing what works’, but asking ‘what might work?’ This approach allows teachers to adapt ideas to best fit to their own context within an overall framework that allows ‘EdTech Hub’ innovations to scale.
Gluu will in this way not just support innovation, but will ensure that innovation capability is developed and embedded in schools. Having this capacity in schools will allow for contextual adaptations of innovations that have a strong evidence base, as well as an in-house ability to innovate, incubate and scale the school’s own creative, collaborative ideas.