Edtech UK and Jisc have launched Edtech50, a celebration of the people, products and projects shaping the education technology across the UK.
The awards recognise products and projects demonstrating effective and impactful use of edtech in the UK, along with individuals who have played a leading role in developing this area of work.
Organisations behind the projects and products include FE colleges, an online learning community and a university spin-out.
The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) has been named in the Edtech50 in recognition of its work in the sector. LGfL is a community of 3,000 schools, academies and local authorities in London and other parts of the country.
Among the judges for Edtech50 were Microsoft director of education Ian Fordham and University of Suffolk director of IT Peter O’Rourke. LGfL is led by former Camden Council CIO John Jackson. It helps schools get procurement benefits as well as the development of secure broadband, IT services and curriculum resources.
The 33 London boroughs established the organisation in 2001. It has 97% of London’s schools in its community, connecting to the Internet via Jisc’s Janet network.
LGFL recently introduced a ‘Let’s Get Digital’ initiative, incorporating projects with Microsoft and Google, to help schools make the most of their technology purchases.
It has also announced Cyber Protect initiative to create an online Centre of Excellence for cyber security for schools. The centre will provide the best possible protection from increasingly complex and sophisticated cyber threats.
Additionally, LGfL has commissioned its own dedicated fibre network, LGfL 2.0, for use with schools, to provide defence through multiple layers of security and the delivery of one of the largest IP VPN networks for education in the world. LGfL also plans to use its buying scale to deliver products to schools as part of its own managed service offer, including InterceptX and Malwarebytes which are being provided free to London schools.
Products that made it into the Edtech50 include SpyQuest, Mindful Education, SAM Labs STEAM Kit, Raspberry Pi Zero, FutureLearn, and GIS 4Schools – Esri UK.
The government’s Digital Strategy, published in February 2017, stated that education technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, accounting for 4% of all digital companies.