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8.3.2023 | Jamie Lee |
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The implementation of education innovation needs a coalition of actors

HundrED organised a high-level roundtable meeting at the CIES to bring together partners and education stakeholders to discuss education innovation implementation at scale. The key concern shared among the sector is how education system transformation can be accelerated through co-agency and collaboration.

The theme for CIES 2023 was improving education for a more equitable world. The conference brought together a diversity of people to discuss current issues in education including climate education, teacher professional development, education in emergencies, the use of technology in education, as well as the scaling of education innovations. In attendance were not only education practitioners, but also academics, economists, policy makers, and representatives from various organisations and foundations, which brought an interesting mix of perspectives to the table. 

HundrED Education Implementation Breakfast Roundtable at CIES

HundrED, with support from Jacobs Foundation, hosted a roundtable discussion to dialogue and exchange among education thought leaders around innovation implementation at scale. Those in attendance included representatives from Amal Alliance, ODI, The Luminos Fund, International Baccalaureate, Brookings Institution, Results for Development (R4D), VVOB, Edvance Group, Phillips Academy Andover, SIL International, and University of Pennsylvania.

We opened up the discussion around the topics of co-creation, leadership and mindsets, and institutionalisation. On the topic of co-creation, we discussed the importance of agency and ownership - many emphasised the importance of involving strategic partners, and embracing failure rather than being attached to a particular innovation. Akilah Allen from Brookings Institution shared about their work: 

“We worked at how we can bring more innovative curricula at the system-level. We talked about trialability and then adoption. But teachers were actually part of the co-creation process. They decided what innovations were great to implement. It takes everybody’s pieces of knowledge to co-create”. 

We also discussed the skill sets needed by leadership, in particular the need for a failure mentality, and understanding of processes and policy change. For example, Jacobs Foundation is supporting work on rapid testing and the concept of “intelligent failure” to discover how innovations can be trialled and adapted to different contexts.

“We did not plan for scale, but when that window opens you need to be ready to jump on and move”. 

Overall, it is also clear that when implementing innovations, there is a need for evidence in order to get buy-in from leadership. Key ingredients to success include gathering champions in the government and evidence that the innovation works in practice.

Finally, participants shared examples of how innovations became institutionalised and what made them ready for institutionalisation. Paul Frank from SIL International shared that they were working on the grassroots level and were generating some success and evidence, however when it comes to institutionalisation, timing is unpredictable: “We did not plan for scale, but when that window opens you need to be ready to jump on and move”. 

We want to thank all the participants for their in-depth insights. These conversations will be used in crafting the implementation position paper by HundrED that is coming out in May 2023.

How can education networks support quality improvements in education?

One recurring theme that emerged through the conference was the importance of collaboration for educational change. 

Crystal Green participated in the round table discussion, How might we use education networks to better support schools and teachers across contexts?, facilitated by Laurel Schmitt, Senior Program Officer from Results for Development (R4D); Bronwen Magrath, Global Programme Manager for Schools2030 from the Aga Khan Foundation; Jean Arkedis, Head of Research at Teach for All. The four of them discussed their work in the School Action Learning Exchange (SALEX) network. SALEX is a “network of networks” supported by the Jacob’s Foundation that aims to cultivate collaboration and learning across existing education networks, making it particularly topical to bring together these network members to discuss collaboration.

The discussions during this roundtable were fruitful, as network members shared how they facilitate their own networks. One key takeaway that Crystal took from the session is that real work happens when collections of people work together: “A movement doesn’t start from just one organisation. You need a coalition of actors with similar interests working on a common goal - that’s where the work has to happen, to have continued dialogue towards action”. 

“A movement doesn’t start from just one organisation. You need a coalition of actors with similar interests working on a common goal - that’s where the work has to happen, to have continued dialogue towards action”. 

This session reminded Crystal of the synergies with Brookings’ Education systems transformation symposium the previous week and their new Brookings’ Knowing-Doing Network Leadership Coalition, a network that aims to bring together civil society organisations in the education sector to collaborate and catalyse systemic change. 

From HundrED’s point of view, our network is composed of our large community of innovators, partners, and passionate individuals who have a commitment to education innovation and who have an aligned vision that education needs to change and that the pathway to change is through innovation. Thanks to this aligned vision, our community is full of energised individuals who have a shared sense of responsibility to push for the spread of education innovation.

For example, one community that Crystal is proud of is our Youth Ambassador community. She is proud that we have been able to have youth participation in our work- we’ve had youth participating in our Academy reviewing innovations, and we are currently growing our Youth Ambassador Programme through a collaboration with IBO. The involvement of youth is particularly important because we recognise that young people’s agency is key to changing education and their perspectives need to be more represented in conversations around educational improvement. One of our goals at HundrED is to continuously think about how we can intentionally involve young people in our work in a way that is meaningful and impactful to them.  

How intellectual property rights have implications for the teaching career?

Clara García-Millán presented the work the research team has been doing around Theorizing Intellectual Property in Education Innovations. In our work of almost 10 years researching education innovations, we have identified certain patterns in the way these innovations scale and spread. Among these trends is a nascent increase in the types of intellectual property used by educators to improve their practice. In the light of the UNESCO recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) and critiques from other institutions like the European EdTech Alliance highlighting some risks and challenges in OER, Clara contributed to this conversation providing examples from our database of +3000 education innovations. Drawing from these case studies, Clara talked about how intellectual property and distribution rights of educational programs and materials have implications for the professionalisation of the teaching career and equal access to quality education. 

Some of the comments from the other participants in this session highlighted the need for more research in this topic. Intellectual Property and OER is something that is very present in the work education innovators do, however more evidence is needed to understand the implications of this phenomenon for transforming education systems. 

Intellectual Property and OER is something that is very present in the work education innovators do, however more evidence is needed to understand the implications of this phenomenon for transforming education systems. 

What do you hope to see more of?

While it is important to innovate and try new approaches to solving challenges in education, Clara sees that there is also a need for more evidence and case studies highlighting innovations that already exist and are successfully contributing to the field. We can learn a lot by drawing inspiration from innovations that are already working well and reshaping them to fit specific needs. This is one way that HundrED is contributing- by bringing tangible examples of innovations that are already doing impactful and scalable work. So we hope for more recognition for already existing innovations so that we can learn from one another rather than trying to constantly reinvent the wheel. 

For Crystal, she would love to see more intergenerational dialogue and diverse representation in conversations about the future of education. For example, one of the sessions that she found inspiring was a panel of emerging scholars. Hearing the perspectives of early career scholars affirmed for her the importance of giving young people a platform to share their experiences. She also loved the session where Iveta Silova from Arizona State University shared how young artists and leaders participated in the “Turn it Around!” initiative to share why climate education is critical for their learning. Climate education is also a topic that HundrED will be focusing on more this year. 


Are you working on an innovation in education? We would love to learn more about your work. Submit an application for the newest Global Collection!

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