It turns out, the UK is a hotspot for innovative talent. A list of 100 inspiring education innovations has been collected over the past two years and published by non-profit HundrED; 13 of which are from the UK. Not bad for a small island in a huge world. Here's a look at some of the projects that made the cut...
Hazelwood School, a state school in Glasgow, made the list for their adaptive approach to creating learning environments for children who are dual-sensory impaired. For children who have a hearing impairment, acute visual impairment, and mobility or cognitive impairment, as well as being autistic, life can be a challenge and traditional school structures just aren't prepared to deal with these special circumstances. At Hazelwood, the students are able to achieve a level of independence that they otherwise wouldn't have access to and are able to develop academically, holistically and socially in way that otherwise would just not be possible.
Technology presents so many opportunities for learning and to help our young people develop holistically. When mental health issues are at an all-time high in young people it would be ridiculous to not use the new technologies at our disposal to help. The MeeTwo app acts as an early intervention tool which utilises the idea of social media and creates a safe space for teenagers to discuss their anxiety and stress and to receive support before it develops into a mature disorder.
It can also be used to challenge dangerous attitudes. Lyfta, a project that has both Finnish and British roots, was trialled out in a school in Essex after a teacher wanted to address the racist and prejudiced comments she'd witnessed in her school. After utilising Lyfta's VR and AR technologies in the classroom, the students realised their shared common ground with people they thought were drastically different from themselves and effectively dismantled the harmful stereotypes and opinions they had unknowingly been building. Lyfta goes to prove how new technologies can enhance the learning experience, and how the change in education truly can be achieved from the ground-up.
Changing education doesn't necessarily mean using new technologies or dismantling and rebuilding the entire school structure though. Improving education can be as simple as getting kids moving. The Daily Mile, originating in Scotland, gets kids out and moving - completing a mile every day to increase wellbeing, health and fitness levels in a non-competitive, fun environment. When people are worried about deteriorating health (both mentally and physically) in relation to rising rates in childhood obesity, this sweet and simple innovation can be incorporated into schools with minimum hassle, yet has lasting substantial effects.
It's not often that education news is positive, but that's the good thing about searching for what's already going on or being used in schools. These projects prove that there is literally (at least) one hundred inspiring things happening all over the world in education that other schools can trial and test.
As parents, teachers and educators, it's our job to ensure that we're doing everything we can to better our societies and brighten the futures of our young people.