By Anne Kershaw
More than 200 representatives of education and the edtech sector gathered yesterday for OCE’s AdvancingEducation Partnering Forum.
The event was designed to bring together the education sector, industry and academic partners to learn more about the AdvancingEducation program and to foster project collaborations.
The primary goal was to identify where some of the challenges and opportunities of the education system can be matched with Ontario-made solutions in the form of innovative products and services. By investing in collaborative partnerships between public education organizations and Ontario companies, the program will be able to demonstrate new technologies in a public sector setting in order to build a strong case for adoption, and system-wide scaling.
“It is well recognized, particularly by the people in this room, that technology has the potential to increase student engagement and improve their learning and wellness while preparing them for the knowledge economy,” noted Claudia Krywiak, OCE’s Vice President of Corporate Development Planning and Strategic Initiatives. “We are fortunate in Ontario to have a burgeoning education technology sector with more than 200 companies developing innovative products and services.”
This $5-million program will support up to 10 demonstration projects, with up to $250,000 available per demonstration project requiring a 1:1 matching cash and in-kind contribution from the project partners.
In his address, special guest the Hon. David Orazietti, Ontario`s Minister of Government and Consumer Services, noted the need to continually explore new, innovative ways of achieving outcomes.
The AdvancingEducation program will help identify and remove barriers to innovation adoption, build capacity in the education sector to identify needs, and provide a scalable model for innovation, he said.
“The challenges, as any teacher will tell you, are endless – and as a former teacher, I can attest to that. But the opportunities are also endless. Developing innovative solutions to create lasting change can be seen in few places more clearly than in education,” said Minister Orazietti.
OCE`s partnership with Minister Orazietti`s ministry began close to two years ago when a partnership was formed to launched the AdvancingHealth program.
AdvancingHealth was a creative, targeted program that matched health care needs with innovative products and services through partnerships between public healthcare organizations, companies and academic institutions. It provided to be a highly successful model for promoting innovation within a large system through industry-academic collaboration and on-site demonstrations projects that help to establish a strong case for adoption and clear potential for scaling up across the system.
Ten large-scale demonstration projects were supported through this initiative, including the establishment of a living laboratory at the Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital for the development and evaluation of innovative healthcare technologies – the first in Canada.
Building on the great success of that program, OCE launched the AdvancingEducation program earlier this month.
OCE began accepting applications for the current round of funding in early February under the theme of ‘student engagement technologies that improve learning outcomes and/or accessibility’.
Visit the AdvancingEducation page for more details about the program.