Pitching ideas…

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The first full stage of the evening is upon us; Pitching.

Everyone with an idea pitched to the room in just 60 seconds. Once their ideas have been pitched everyone fans out and votes for the pitches they think have the most impact. Participants are sorted by their background using colour T Shirts. Green for entrepreneurs, light grey for developers, dark grey for designers and blue for educators.

The educators will have a special ‘level up’ vote, in the form of a pink post it. This carries special weight above the normal yellow votes from others, and they will be voting for the ideas they think can have the biggest impact on teaching and learning.

Participants will then form teams and build a product, but Nick emphasised that people need to be aiming for a ‘minimum viable product’. Create a product with 5 features, then strip 4 of them out was his advice. If it still works you have your MVP, if it doesn’t then add just what you need to make it work and nothing more. The focus is on the core of the product.

The idea is to build the product, but teams also need to get customer validation; the opinions of real people who would buy the product. Convincing the judges without this will be hard…

The pitching was fast and furious… ideas coming out included:

  • A platform for factual storytelling and publishing these stories
  • A careers portal that closes the 21st century ‘skills gap’ based on real mentors’ career experiences
  • An educational massively multiplayer online game
  • A game based system for teaching physics
  • A platform for educational content for independent learning
  • A search engine to rank online courses
  • A ‘Bayeux tapestry’ for logging learning through life
  • A network for language learners and native speakers
  • A way of making sense of all the learning content online
  • A virtual pet which must be fed with answers to questions that teach you things
  • A gamified language learning platform for kids
  • A collaborative platform for developing methodologies for undergraduate research projects
  • A screening system for identifying learning disorders to allow early intervention
  • A system for digitally interacting with your food which automatically manages your nutrition… (Our non education idea!)
  • A system for getting students together with tutors
  • A website of ‘learning wallpaper’ to display on unused interactive white boards
  • A time saving system to curate the watching expertise on twitter and communicate it to the masses in classrooms
  • A system for passing knowledge from special educational needs schools into mainstream schools to train non expert teachers to provide for all children with learning challenges
  • A social network for educational life allowing people to rate or review modules and courses at University
  • A system for online marking university essays
  • A system for making learning memorable by presenting material in different ways
  • A way of identifying next steps and structuring learning when researching how to make a nuclear power plant online!
  • A tool to capture and validate informal learning and making it visible and credible to employers on a timeline
  • Auditory training online for children with possible dyslexia
  • Online systems for narrowing the vocabulary gap which holds back disadvantaged children
  • An app which teaches children how to build their own app, with a network function for children to build audience around this app
  • Graphic novels to engage and teach children literacy and get them creating
  • A crowdsourced platform for digitising books
  • Automation for grading papers to save teachers’ time and let them spend that time interacting with their students
  • A product for corporate training to make it more engaging
  • An online quizzes product
  • 3D printing for learning by making
  • A single sign in system for the myriad of communication systems schools use for contacting parents
  • A system for integrating mobile devices into learning and teaching feedback systems in the classroom
  • An app which scrapes the social media streams of potential partners and suggests the right pickup line to use to get a date (another unusual pitch for education!)
  • Paradise University, which sends kids to remote locations where there are empty hotels where they interact with MOOCs
  • A database where employers list the skills they need that are provided by online courses. Potential employees can then choose to complete these courses and hopefully get the jobs.
  • For those who didn’t finish University; a platform to give them the experiences and networking opportunities that those who went to Uni got access to
  • A language learning system that is simple enough for those who don’t like computers
  • A marketplace to crowd source teacher’s ideas for businesses to create and gain traction across lots of schools
  • A system for electronic submission for essays which companies can access
  • Forget video tutorials, in application tutorials that interact with the application itself

There was a strong theme of the need for tools to search through the gamut of learning content available online, and a number of solutions looking at gamifying learning. It seems we need to make learning fun, but also to personalise it to give learners choice in what, when and how they learn.

Some diverse ideas… which will make it through to the next round and the opportunity to form a team? Time for people to get voting…