“The Victorians were great engineers. They engineered a [schooling] system that was so robust that it’s still with us today, continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists.”
— Sugata Mitra

The education system of today serves the factory workers of yesteryear.

A rich population of lifelong learners fully in control of the modern, digital world should replace them. Sadly, education is the last walk of life to be transformed by technology – clearly there is a need to bring tech into learning environments. However, tech alone will not solve the problem.

It is the marriage between technology and world-class pedagogy that will force change in this increasingly irrelevant education system. Emerge Education, a London-based accelerator for education startups, realizes this. They are bent on creating a rich UK ecosystem for EdTech investment, unlocking innovators and partnering them with inspired educators and institutions.

Emerge has received over 500 applications from education startups hailing from 29 different countries, over 3 programs. In 12 months, Emerge startups have raised over £3.4m. They offer their startups support from a community of key players throughout the education industry: such as Oxford University Press, Kaplan, the Student Room, TES, 150 trailblazing schools including Eton and many more. Innovation needs to be nurtured and encouraged, and then adopted and utilised within a revitalised pedagogical framework.

On January 19th the 3rd program of the accelerator commenced. The final 7 startups are eclectic and exciting, each tackling a separate pain point in today’s education system. Here is the list of finalists. Or the potential trend-setters in the education industry in the UK and beyond.

The state of EdTech: 7 trend-setting startups to follow

Ocean Browser 3.  A beautiful web app for online study. It allows users to create media rich documents to be shared, discussed and annotated. Built on years of research around how learners interact online, OB3 is a slick tool increasing collaborative learning.

Ncite. An educational gaming company. They make engaging, experiential games that change the educational experience from push “this is what you need to know” to pull “this is what I want to know right now to play the game.” They believe that anyone can master any learning objective, given a fun engaging environment that meets the student right where they are.

Tetra, the product they will be working on at Emerge Education, is a music education system that teaches the fundamental underlying structure of music before even picking up an instrument.

Unitu. A new way to listen and engage with the student voice. At a time of significant budget constraints, student satisfaction and associated retention rates at University is a huge problem. Unitu creates an environment in which students can raise issues, discuss with staff and bring about concrete improvements, thereby increasing student engagement, satisfaction and retention.

Doodle Maths. One of the UK’s best selling primary maths apps. Doodle Maths adapts to each child’s strengths and weaknesses to build confidence, motivation and skills.

Learn Forward. An open-source authoring tool for a new breed of digital, hyper collaborative textbooks. Students solve exercises together whilst teachers monitor progress from inside the textbook itself. The company strongly believes digital textbooks should not simply be copies of the printed ones, but instead find a place of their own in modern learning scenarios.

Pi-Top. A Raspberry Pi laptop you build yourself. After a phenomenally successful Indiegogo campaign, Pi-Top are well on the way to introducing an exciting piece of kit into homes and classrooms. It exists to help expand users knowledge in hardware and software innovation. Once they have got to grips with each component and its functionality, the user is then able to use the Pi-Top as a tool to build their own projects in the future. Now, how cool is that?

The entrepreneurs hail from countries as far as New Zealand, Romania and the US, confirming that Emerge Education is playing a key role in making the UK a more desirable destination to start a business in education.


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