With continual developments in the edtech sector and technology ubiquitous throughout students’ daily lives, it is now more important than ever for those in higher and further education to seek to offer the best possible provision they can for students.
By giving young people a voice in the way they are taught, the way they learn and the way they live whilst studying, colleges and universities are able to meet one of their most important strategic drivers: improving the student experience. Technological developments need not only come from academics, university managers and organisations operating in the education sector but from the ground up, offering an internal and needs-led perspective to address issues in an effective and creative way.
With this in mind, following on from the success of 2013’s Jisc Summer of Student Innovation, registration is once again open for digitally savvy further and higher education students looking to create and develop technology solutions that could change the face of education forever.The competition recognises the importance of developing students’ creative design, research, entrepreneurial and project management skills to improve their employability in niche as well as industry-focused subjects, and offers insight into the effective integration of new technology.
Jisc, the UK’s expert on digital technologies and solutions for education and research first ran the pilot last May as a co-design programme with Research Libraries UK (RLUK); Russell Universities Group of IT Directors (RUGIT); Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) andUniversities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA). This year, the five organisations (known as the Futures Forum) have also joined forces with the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).
To enter the competition, FE and HE students across the UK must submit a two-to-five-minute video pitch of their idea on the Jisc Elevator website alongside a short summary and a 300-500 word description which includes details on the benefits of their idea and its impact on research and education. Ideas are then put to the vote; voting is open to everyone, but 15 must come from different FE and HE institutions and entrants must hit a target of 500 votes before 30 May 2014.
The finalists will be announced in July and will then receive a £5,000 grant from Jisc to transform their ideas into prototypes over the summer, with opportunities to join networking workshops with fellow students and experts advisors who will be on hand to offer user feedback. This will allow missing or difficult functionality to be identified more easily so that students can develop better solutions.
Once prototypes have been developed, volunteer education organisations will run trials of the technology; those that are successful will be provided to other interested parties through sustainable routes. Later this year the finalists’ ideas will be showcased to FE and HE IT directors, learning technologists, librarians and commercial companies, offering them the chance to learn more about the benefits of these newly developed technologies.
Andy McGregor, deputy chief innovation officer at Jisc said: “The Summer of Student Innovation is an incredibly important project for Jisc. We strongly believe that students should have a prime role in developing novel uses of technology to improve their experience, and were so impressed by the enthusiasm of the students we worked with on last year’s competition and the quality of the ideas they produced. We are continuing to work with the most promising ideas from 2013 while also seeking new exciting ideas from a whole new group of students this year.”
The deadline to apply for the Jisc Summer of Student Innovation is 30 May 2014. For terms and conditions and details on eligibility visit: https://elevator.jisc.ac.uk/sosi14/content/terms-and-conditions