The Education Exchange is a series of events that has been created by UnLtd, Ashoka and Hogan Lovells with the aim of bringing together the most pioneering educators and creators from both inside and outside the classroom. We want to move away from the transactional relationships that often typify the early stages of interaction between social ventures and the schools they sell into and jump straight to the next level where the interesting discussions and collaborations happen – a stage that, from experience, is often not reached until the social ventures and schools have been working together for a sustained period. Not only does this allow the social entrepreneurs to tweak their models to better suit the needs of their customer base, but also allows forward thinking education practitioners to help mould both the content and way in which subjects are taught.
This first event was, if we are being totally honest, an experiment. Ashoka have scanned the land for the leading Changemaker Schools and have found five of the most innovative schools that are doing far more than just teaching the basics or using enterprise and the values of social entrepreneurship as an “add on” or “nice to have”. These Changemaker schools have enterprise at the core of their operation and have built empathy, entrepreneurship, creativity and much more into their curriculums. UnLtd, with the support of Hogan Lovells, have been working intensively with some of the most exciting innovators and innovations in the Youth and Education space to scale learning and personal development technology, tools and interventions, all of which should have a tangible impact on young people’s lives in the future.
We didn’t really know what would happen on the 26th November when we put everyone in a room at Hogan Lovells with some canapés, a now>press>play demo, a presentation from Dragon School and some very broad discussion topics. However, we are really glad we did, if for no other reason than to see a room full of entrepreneurs, education experts, law firm partners and teachers crawl around on the floor, worshipping the sun god Rah!
Jokes aside, the quality of the discussion was extremely high. Key areas for collaboration were identified, including measuring and monitoring empathy; analysing the relationship between empathy, autocracy and discipline; embedding social entrepreneurial ideals into the curriculum and examining how alternative learning methods and experiences can be utilised to help pupils reach their potential both inside and outside the classroom. The ambition and appetite of educators and entrepreneurs to effect positive educational change a policy level was inspiring. Feedback for the event ranged from “I love it!” to the more reflective:
“This was my first EdExchange and to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what to expect. I thought it would just be a fun, networking event with some interesting conversation over yummy canapés. I couldn’t have been more wrong! EdExchange brought together social entrepreneurs, funders, teachers for an evening of passionate debate and insightful enquiry. I learnt so much from the discussion and took away a number of tips that I will use to ensure that EduKit, the social enterprise I run, has maximum long-term impact on schools and students alike. EdExchange was an invaluable opportunity to take a step back and truly think outside the box with the individuals who will no doubt help shape the education of the future. I can’t wait for the next one!” – Nathalie Richards, founder Edukit
“For me, it was about hearing directly from schools who are doing way more than meeting the OFSTED criteria. That is what we have found with the schools we work with at Talentino! – they go way beyond what they are there to do on behalf of their pupils.”
Jenny Connick, Founder, Talentino!
“An inspiring event – changing the educators and educating the change makers – something we believe in”
Adrian Walker, partner, Hogan Lovells
And this is what the Education Exchange series of events is all about. If all the people who are taking practical steps to push to new heights education and learning for pupils from all walks of life are talking to each other and working together, we will have the opportunity to start defining a new set of standards and criteria that goes way beyond what OFSTED asks for. And young people will undoubtedly reap the rewards.
The Education Exchange is a platform for discussion, innovation and collaboration. UnLtd, Ashoka and Hogan Lovells hope that by bringing all these elements together we can all play a part in shaping the future of education for the better. If you would like to become part of the exchange email firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org