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Durham University

Durham University Evidence Centre for Education (DECE)

Evaluation of EdTech Innovation Testbed


The EdTech Innovation Testbed helps schools and colleges to try out technology products for free, while Durham University Evidence Centre for Education evaluation team find out what works best for students and teachers. The EdTech products are designed to help with formative assessment and essay marking, parental engagement and timetabling.


The project is funded by Nesta and the DfE (£625000).


The programme is designed for busy schools and colleges with limited resources. It is specifically aimed at those schools and colleges who want to get involved in the latest research and want to better understand how technology can help them.

The aims of the Testbed are:

  1. To help schools and colleges try out technology products for free to address challenges in their school or college.
  2. To understand how schools can improve the way they use technology and
  3. To provide opportunities for schools to participate in free professional development.

The aim of the evaluation, as distinct from the testbed, is to assess the impact of the EdTech tools on teachers’/lecturers’ workload and their wellbeing, as well as student outcomes. Combining the results of 12 or more such evaluations the testbed will help provide evidence of the effectiveness of the use of technology in teaching and learning. It will also help identify the key challenges and facilitators in using educational technology to inform good practice.

The Evaluation

Schools and colleges will need to apply to join the EdTech Innovation Testbed. The form includes questions about the school/college or group of schools/colleges, what kinds of technology products they are interested in trying out and what outcomes they are most interested in. Eligible schools/colleges will be matched with technology products that meet the needs of the school.

Once matched, DECE will work with schools and EdTech companies to trial the product and evaluate what is working and what is not. These trials will be carried out from April 2020 to July 2021, with each school likely to take part in one trial starting at the beginning of a school term.