Accelerating educational innovation with EdTech

Action Plan

Incubator for EdTech startups

It is the ambition of this zone to make The Netherlands a fruitful breeding ground, and preferably a leading European beachhead, for (starting) EdTech providers and their educational innovations. By pooling resources, knowledge and (applied) research regarding the EdTech market and EdTech adoption strategies and policies we can reduce risk and costs associated with educational innovation with EdTech, and increase the pace of educational development and innovation within our institutions.

 

 

The plan

Challenge and ambitions

EdTech Incubator and scaling up startups

Developments in educational technology (abbreviation: EdTech), have been important accelerators of innovation in teaching, learning and managing educational organizations and facilities in the last decades. The pace of development and adoption of new technologies in traditional (higher) education institutions has been relatively low though compared to other sectors (e.g. FinTech, MedTech). Many EdTech innovations, both from start-ups as well as from mature EdTech companies, fail due to (s)low adoption rates. The education markets are known for their high entry barriers due to dense and complex laws and regulations, complex internal bureaucracies, lack of standardization and risk aversion by support organizations. This causes high entry costs for new EdTech providers that want to enter these markets, high development costs for incumbents EdTech providers, and high costs and fail rates for institutions experimenting with new EdTech products and services. Educational innovation with EdTech therefore remains scattered, often lacking a satisfactory fit with the needs and expectations of students and teachers, and at considerable financial risk for early adopters because educational innovations are hard to embed or do not scale. As a consequence, many innovators have quit and providers have shifted their innovation and development efforts to other sectors. Incumbent EdTech providers therefore lack sufficient competition and incentives to continuously innovate and improve their products and services to meet the needs and expectations of our students, teachers and educational organizations.

It is the ambition of this zone to change this situation, and make the Netherlands a fruitful breeding ground, and preferably a leading European beachhead, for (starting) EdTech providers and their educational innovations. By pooling resources, knowledge and (applied) research regarding the EdTech market and EdTech adoption strategies and policies we can reduce risk and costs associated with educational innovation with EdTech, and increase the pace of educational development and innovation within our institutions.

This acceleration zone intends to achieve this by creating a ‘Dutch EdTech Incubator’ to increase the pace of innovation and business development in the Dutch EdTech market (including pre-school, K12, vocational, higher and corporate education and training), and designing strategies, policies and tools for lowering entry barriers into the Higher educational market and thereby increase the speed of adoption, embedment and scalability of educational innovations in Dutch Higher Education institutions.

Programme & scope

Two programme lines

Program line 1: set up Dutch EdTech Incubator

The HE institutions that participate in this program line will combine the strengths of their start-up incubators, entrepreneurship programmes, and educational innovation programmes (e.g. Teaching Labs, Living Labs, Educational Research Groups), and thereby create an internationally competitive ‘EdTech ecosystem’ in order to accelerate the pace of EdTech development and adoption in Dutch education. The Dutch EdTech Incubator will be a network and provide a series of programs that facilitate and support development and testing of new products and services by EdTech start-ups and mature EdTech companies for the whole education market in the Netherlands, by providing access to students and teachers, access to educational research(ers) for evidence informed product development, and access to HE institutions to find launching customers.

 

Program line 2: Adoption and scaling-up of EdTech innovations

The HE institutions participating in this program line will share organizational best-practices to create strategies, policies and tools for adoption, embedment and scaling up of EdTech innovation in HE institutions. We will do this by jointly evaluating the EdTech market and providers, structurally sharing lessons learned and thereby lowering the fail rate of experiments and pilot programs undertaken in educational innovation programs. This will increase the success rate of these experiments and pilots, and reduce the development costs. Furthermore, we will develop workshops for professionals in educational support, ict, legal, and procurement to differentiate between early stage, maturing, and mature EdTech companies, and handle the associated risks of working and partnering with them in each of these stages.

Products 2020

Validation lab, policy framework and communications material

General

  1. Create communication materials (e.g. animation) about this EdTech initiative for use within the participating institutions.
  2. Devise an action plan for collaboration with (applied) EdTech research (link with zone evidence informed & CEL-LDE). Focus:
    1. evaluate outcomes of experiments with new / innovative EdTech
    2. extract new or ‘shelved’ edcucational technologies and solutions from research groups for spinning out to the market (as homegrown start-up or by partnering with existing entrepeneurs) or re-use in entrepeneurship programs for students.

 

Program line 1: Dutch EdTech Incubator

  1. Run the EdTech validation lab twice in 2020 and facilitate at least 16 start-ups.
  2. Increase the overall percentage of Dutch Start-ups that have participated in the validation programme to 1 in 3 (from current rate of 1 in 4).
  3. Enroll at least 50 students in a project that is part of an EdTech entrepeneurship course / programme.
  4. Increase the corporate sponsoring for the validation program from the current 10K euro (Amazon) to at least 50K euro (target Big EdTech such as Microsoft, D2L, Instructure, etc.).
  5. Double the number of participating (and contributing!) HE partners in the validation programme (signing up for at least 5K ‘pizza money’ and preferably 20K for in-kind start-up events at their institution).
  6. Hire a projectmanger to facilitate the participating institutions with organizing ideation and pre-incubation activities such as hackathons, challenges and other entrepreneurship activities in order to stimulate Dutch (‘homegrown’) EdTech start-ups by students, PhD’s and educational staff.
  7. Draft a concept proposal for creating a structural legal entity (foundation?) that can continue the activities of the Dutch EdTech Incubator after 2023.
  8. Go-live of two additional Living Labs for experimentation and adoption of EdTech innovations (InHolland & Fontys).

 

Program line 2: Adoption and scaling-up of EdTech innovations

  1. Work towards policy framework for adoption & scaling consisting of:
  • common language for EdTech & innovation strategies
  • draft policies & tools for organizational adoption and scaling-up:
    • Further develop maturity model for adoption & scaling up of EdTech innovations within HE institutions.
    • Gather & describe best practice cases for adoption & scaling of new EdTech (e.g. Best Value Procurement, Markets Scans, etc.)
    • Develop concept documents (contracting, GDPR) to use as a blue print mapped to the maturity model.
    • Create roadmap/flowchart for other institutions to support starting the discussion on adoption and scaling up.
Goals for 2023

EdTech incubation programme ans scaling up

Program line 1: Dutch EdTech Incubator

  • 100+ EdTech start-ups or innovations supported
  • PM [250+?] students involved in EdTech projects of entrepeneurship courses or programmes
  • PM [25+?] homegrown EdTech technological solutions (e.g. developed by teachers or from education research groups) spinned out of our institutions or ‘shelved’ for future use (e.g. for student projects in EdTech entrepeneurship programmes)
  • 10+ EdTech start-ups or innovations successfully adopted by Dutch HE institutions
  • 5+ Living Labs for experimentation and piloting with EdTech innovations

 

Program line 2: Adoption and scaling-up of EdTech innovations

  • 10+ HE institutions have implemented ‘adoption and scaling-up’ policies and tools
  • 5+ HE institutions have adopted and implemented an educational innovation strategy including collaboration with EdTech providers
Results 2019

Looking back

Program line 1: Dutch EdTech Incubator
  1. EdTech Validation program
  • Second EdTech validation program currently running (start date 1st of November 2019, end date Januari 2020):
    • Received a total of 72 applications from early stage start-ups.
    • Selected 8 start-ups for participation in the program (two Dutch, 6 European)
    • Held or planned events for start-ups with teachers & students & support staff at 5 of the 6 institutions participating in the zone
    • Organized additional events in collaboration / sponsored by corporate partners with other HE institutes (e.g. workshop for ca. 50 participants and two day presence & individual pitches in Wacky Learning Space during Surf Education Days in Den Bosch & pitch for ca. 30 participants in Dragons Den format @Feedbackfruits in Amsterdam)
  • Extended start-up mentor network to 20+ active coaches (current Dutch EdTech entrepeneurs)
  • Extended affiliated partnernetwork (e.g. EduHub / Utrecht, The Dutch School, European EdTech Alliance)

 

  1. Ideation & pre-incubation events

 

  1. Living Labs / innovation
  • Held events at TU Delft Teaching Lab & Leiden University Centre for Innovation (Cfi).
  • InHolland & Fontys developed plans & secured funding for setting up a Technology Enhanced Learning Lab (TEL-Lab / Inholland) and EdTech Living Lab (Fontys)

 

Program line 2: Adoption & scaling up EdTech innovations
  1. Policy & tools for adoption & scaling:
  • Organized expert sessions within TU Delft & Leiden University with privacy & procurement officers to gather & discuss bottlenecks with regard to working / collaborating with innovative EdTech & EdTech start-ups.
  • Developed first concept of maturity model for adoption scaling up EdTech within HE institutions.
  • Facilitated workshop on EdTech adoption & scaling and first concept maturity model for ca. 50 participants during Surf Education Days.
  • Provided workshops and sessions at TU Delft for Start-ups on scaling up
  • Participated in jury and attended EdTech Pitch Contest/Dragon Den Start-ups
  • Explored research possibilities within CEL & Leiden and Zone Evidence-Informed
Video
Team leader

Jelgar de Wilde

Team leader Jelgar de Wilde talks about the plans of his zone for 2020.