Developmental and Economic Impacts of Sound Early Childhood Services

Undoubtedly, the world of education technology is an exciting one as an array of creative ideas are being actualized to improve the lives of people across the globe.  Yet, this technology is also bringing unprecedented changes and one area warranting particular inquiries is early childhood use of technology and media.

Ample research has been conducted to prove the vitality of early childhood education.  It is during these years that a foundation is set for cognitive, physical, language, motor and social-emotional development (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016).  Face-to-Face interactions and hands-on engagement with materials by infants and toddlers are two of the most important parts of this process.  Many suggest that passive time spent in front of a screen or comparable technology has proven harmful to children - especially those under two years old as they cannot process the two-dimensional information on their own.  

Yet an element of interactivity with digital media has also proven effective.  The revered American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their stance that no child under two years should be exposed to digital media to say that children under two may benefit from some exposure to digital media, provided there is an adult to guide them through and interact with them.

Evidence suggests that investment in early childhood is worth a lot.  In terms of traditional early childhood education programs, economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman has effectively demonstrated that high quality early childhood programs for disadvantaged children can have a 13% return of investment (The Heckman Equation).  According to his research, “early childhood education fosters cognitive skills along with attentiveness, motivation, self-control and sociability—the character skills that turn knowledge into know-how and people into productive citizens.”

The presence of technology is going nowhere and today’s children will know its influence in a way we cannot imagine.  Products targeted at infants and toddlers have the potential to benefit society and the economy in an unlimited number of ways, so long as they are built considering the importance and nature of human development at that early stage of life.

Edspace to partner with Innovate EdTech Conference 2017

Edspace is proud to be the coworking partner for the Innovate EdTech Conference 2017 hosted by ELTjam.  

The one day conference will take place on Saturday 11th November 2017 at Here East on the Loughborough University London campus.  

Focusing on “The Rise of Learner Experience”, the day will include both workshops and talks focusing on how technology can aid learners.

As a coworking partner of the event, Edspace is delighted to offer any body attending the conference free hot desking and use of our space between 9am - 5pm from Wednesday 8th November to Wednesday 15th November.

We’re fast becoming the hub for education innovation in the UK and would love for anyone attending the conference to come in and benefit from our amazing co-working space in the heart of Tech City. It would also be a great opportunity for you to network with our community of over 65 education innovators.

All you have to do is sign up to for the days you wish to stop by by registering your details here.  

Find more information and buy tickets for the event at  

The Story Behind

Liane Katz

Liane Katz is a London, UK based #edtech startup that introduces children to computer programming, it launched in 2016 and has recently expanded its services to Hong Kong with local partner Creative Coding Kids. In an interview last week, we took some time to talk to Liane Katz co-founder of, to understand more about the the company.

How did MAMA.Codes originally start?

Liane worked in digital industries for 15 years and realised she wanted the younger generation to learn how to code, especially her daughter. Liane explains,

“I was worried my daughter might miss out on this vital 21st century skill.”

So along with two other London mums with digital backgrounds including coding, the group set about solving that problem.  The group came up with a programme of innovative, engaging and sequence based projects that families could code together using the free ScratchJr coding app, developed by MIT in Boston. She adds,

“We ran popular “parent hacks” based in people’s homes where we demystified coding for parents and talked about how they could support their kids’ learning in this new area.  Then, with input from partner schools and educator Sway Grantham - who has created her own coding curriculum - we have developed our latest school curriculum packs for 3-5 year olds and 5-7 year olds,” adds Liane.

It wasn’t surprising to discover that Liane’s passion is directly related to her profession, when asked what gets her out of bed every morning Liane explains,

“I want to make a difference by re-shaping coding education. I want it to be more widely accessible: being in the 21st century this is a skill ALL our kids need to be learning. We won’t manage to close the UK’s £63 billion a year digital skills gap by only appealing to the same narrow stereotypes.”

Where do you see the company in 5 years?

In terms of sustainable growth, Liane is optimistic about’ potential. The company is increasing its network of local code clubs and holiday camps in London with efforts to expand nationally; there are also plans for a family subscription product. Liane adds,

“I want to make a mainstream brand, for a family to turn to for educational activities and also for schools to use on a global scale. It’s important to redefine what people think coding is and what a coder looks like.”

What kind of person is needed to succeed at

Are you looking into working at Liane provides a detailed list of the ideal employee,

“When I’m looking to hire, I always search for someone who is dynamic, dedicated, creative, passionate, self-starting and efficient. We are currently looking to hire a sales & marketing manager and will be recruiting an additional 15 reps by the end of the year to run code clubs and holiday camps in their local area.”

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Guest Post: The Influence of Technological Advancements on Industry

The influence of technological advancements on industry

Technological advancements have influenced the evolution of many industries over time and have had many effects on how we live and work. There are continued debates to whether technology improves or worsens our way of life and the world that we live in. Technological progressions have created efficiency and benefited many industries and lives, but some also argue that technology alienates people and is a cost to our environment.

Technology: Providing innovative solutions to challenging problems

There are many companies that are using science and technology to make the world a better place. Singularity University Global Summit brought together organisations, which are solving the world’s most pressing challenges. These challenges include the supporting of: disaster resilience, the environment, health and learning. Solving these challenges means ensuring basic needs are met for all people. It means improving quality of life and mitigating future risks both to people and our planet.

To name a few of these innovative companies, LuminAid make portable lanterns that can provide 24 hours of lights on 10 hours of solar charging, aiding disaster resilience during the dangerous nights after natural disasters strike. Although much is said against technology and the environment, technology has also been developed to help our environment as well. BreezeMeter uses big data and machine learning to deliver accurate air quality information in real time. In the health industry, surveillance tools for identifying infectious diseases have been developed by Unima, to allow professionals to diagnose diseases at the point of care. Technology can also aid our learning. Iris.AI is an artificial intelligence system that reads scientific paper abstracts and extracts key concepts and allows users to navigate to topics across disciplines.

Technology and the education industry

Delving deeper into some of the industries, education technology is also advancing. Schools around the world are using new software to personalise learning. In some schools, pupils have playlists instead of textbooks, which they use to access online lessons and take tests. The software assesses children’s progress, lightening teachers’ marking load. However, by 2012 there was one computer for every two pupils in several rich countries. Concerns have been raised that if handled poorly, devices can actually distract children from learning. A Portuguese study from 2010 found that schools with slow broadband and a ban on sites such as YouTube had better results than high-tech schools.

Technology and the real estate industry

Technology is also changing the real estate industry and the way people look for new houses. Potential buyers are using mobile apps and search engines to search for house listings before ever reaching out to real estate agents. They are expecting to find high quality photos, virtual tours and drone footage, while searching for homes online. The house could potentially be their dream home. However, if a house isn’t shown to its best effect online, viewers will not click and therefore never view the house in person. This is a huge challenge for real estate firms, and it is crucial they stay up to date with new technology to remain competitive. PropTech, which aims to innovate the way the real estate industry works, will be able to lower the cost of doing business, while improving productivity for everyone involved. Find out more about PropTech in the real estate industry here.

The nature of how we work is changing

In all of these industries, technology is changing how and where we work. Cloud based technology, the Internet, Email, online file storage and streaming media allows workers to be anywhere at anytime and allows businesses to continue to operate effectively wherever their workers are in the world. People can work efficiently from home and stop their long commutes or from co-working spaces. In turn, these shared workspaces are often sustainable and environmentally friendly, where people from different industries can come together to share different ideas.

These spaces can also place focus on bringing people together specifically from the same industries, which have similar interests. In the EdTech industry for example, these collaborative spaces allow people from education organisations, startups and entrepreneurs to learn from and inspire one another. These spaces act as a place outwith the independent company office for a growing community of people to come together and help transform an industry – made easier and more efficient through technology. The role of technology is impacting many different industries and the way in which we live and work – both positively and negatively. However, as discussed, it is often the key to providing industries with new and innovative solutions to challenging problems.


Author: Fiona Murray is a 25-year-old MSc Digital Marketing student and Honours Business Management graduate from Scotland. An enthusiast of all things digital and travel related, Fiona has experience living and working in the UK,USA and Asia, and has traveled extensively in order to further her experience of other cultures. Find out more about her on LinkedIn.

Edspace shortlisted in 2017 London Venue Awards!

Edspace is delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in the prestigious London Venue Awards for the 'Best Unusual or Unique Venue'.

Edspace is featured among some of London's most iconic venues, including the Natural History Museum, Wembley Stadium and The View from The Shard.  What's more, we are hugely proud to be the only co-working space in our category.

As co-working continues to grow in popularity Edspace are proud to be recognised as a extraordinary space.  Edspace certainly is truly unique venue; the UK's only co-working and events space dedicated to innovating in education, learning and development. Based in the leafy campus of Hackney College our community has created a versatile space for concentration, collaboration or contemplation.

Important News…Private Offices now at Edspace!

Edspace is expanding!

Edspace, the UK’s only coworking space dedicated to education innovators has acquired new office space.

Alongside our existing open-plan coworking hub Edspace are now able to offer private offices to larger companies.  A perfect opportunity for anyone wishing to be part of the ever growing Edspace Network but also looking to occupy a private space to call home. 

Get all the benefits of the existing space with the additional flexibility to create your own office culture and office setup.  

  • Part of a wonderfully managed innovation hub
  • Be involved in the startup community at Edspace
  • Free fruit and breakfasts on Thursdays
  • Access to printing and meeting rooms
  • Outside gardens and grounds at your disposal
  • Onsite cafeteria and gym

 We have two rooms that are 40m² which would be a great home for 6 – 12 people, and one 68m² room that would comfortably fit up to 18 people!

If you are interested please get in touch by emailing

Boston Bound: Edspace & LearnLaunch Global Partnership

Edspace members will now have access to coworking offices in the fantastic city of Boston.  The new partnership with LearnLaunch offers Edspace members the chance to further their footprint in the US and follows the existing partnership with Betahaus in Germany announced last year.

LearnLaunch is dedicated to connecting, supporting and investing in the education technology ecosystem to drive innovation and transform learning.  Their education innovation ecosystem mobilizes educators, entrepreneurs, learners, investors, and industry affiliates. They offer learning opportunities, support services, an accelerator fund and a school pilot network.

The partnership offers great synergies and offers a new opportunity for ambitious Edspace members looking to expand across the pond, or to network with those in the Boston area, by providing access to the LearnLaunch co-working space.  It also gives members the opportunity to work closely and talk to similar American companies that carry the same ambition, type of target market and industry interests, meaning Edspace members traveling to the home of clam chowder and baked beans can network with people who can make a real difference to their business.

If you are interested in finding out more please email

EasyPeasy partnering with Educational Endowment Foundation

EasyPeasy is an educational app designed to help families learn through play at home. Intended for children aged 2-5, the app sends game ideas, tips, and advice to parents through short video clips to help children build the skills they need to succeed at school and life.

In 2016, the University of Oxford and Sutton Trust conducted a study of EasyPeasy and its effects on both parents and children. Results showed that use of EasyPeasy improved children's cognitive self-regulation and parent's comfort with discipline and boundaries.

Building on these positive results, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is sponsoring a trial (alongside the University of Durham) to further support the research into the effects of early years intervention. The new trial will look at the impact that EasyPeasy has on language and communication skills. Local authorities, nurseries and multi-academy trusts are now being sought as partners to recruit up to 8,000 families for the study.

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said, “EasyPeasy is an inexpensive app that encourages positive play and interaction with children at home. After early promising results, our trial will find out if this could be an effective way of improving parental engagement.” 

Founder of EasyPeasy, Jen Lexmond, said, "This is a fantastic opportunity for EasyPeasy to build on the strong results that we have already seen from our trial with the University of Oxford and reach thousands more families. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life and we would love to hear from nurseries, schools and local authorities who are interested in partnering with us.”

Jen Lexmond joined Edspace as a founder embarking on the Emerge Education Accelerator in Feb 2016. Since then, EasyPeasy has grown to a team of six working from Edspace, and also has a developer HQ in Madrid.

MakerClub's 'Bright Sparks' Programme Nominated for Tech4Good Award

Edspace network member, MakerClub, has been nominated for a Tech4Good Award in Digital Skills for their programme Bright Sparks. Previous winners of this award include Professor Stephen Hawking, Code Club ActionAid and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. 

Bright Sparks is a programme within the MakerClub company offering children in low-income families the opportunity to learn technological skills. The programme began in Brighton in March 2017, but already has found the support of 20 companies and 40 trained volunteers. This backing allows for 25 students age 8-13 to participate in weekly sessions at no cost. 

Around the MakerClub spaces, Bright Sparks partners with digital companies to both sponsor the cost for students and volunteer their expertise. This allows low-income families to send their children to the club for free.

Being nominated for the Tech4Good Award puts MakerClub in the running for two different awards, the panel selection and the people's award. MakerClub is looking for any and all who support their efforts to click here and vote for Bright Sparks. Votes are also counted through the use of the Twitter hashtag "#T4GBrightSparks".

MakerClub, the company behind the Bright Sparks programme, is a network of after-school clubs based in the UK that are designed to teach children the skills to invent.

The voting for the Tech4Good Award is open until 5pm 7 July 2017. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 11 July 2017.



Why should you attend the BCC Business and Education Summit 2017?

Why should you attend the BCC Business and Education Summit 2017?

The BCC Business and Education Summit is an inspiring, one day event that aims to encourage collaboration between education providers and businesses to help young people transition into the workplace. The Summit is a forum to explore issues surrounding our education system and how business partnerships can help these institutions deliver the relevant skills training that young people will need to succeed in today’s economy. 


Educators Need Funding for EdTech

On 2 March, 2017,  Nesta and Edspace partnered on the Rocket Fund platform to launch the 1 Mile Project. This project enables teachers to buy the equipment or services they believe will have the biggest impact on their students education by raising money from local businesses and the community. 

[Read more about Nesta and Edspace's partnership here]

Currently, ten schools are being promoted on Rocket Fund hoping to receive funding for future classroom technology such as higher capacity computers and iPads for virtual reality learning. 

Projects are listed for a limited time yet some have not received any pledges thus far. 

If you, your company or anyone you know would be interested in supporting these schools please follow this link to find out more about the projects looking for support. Any donation or share is greatly appreciated from the Edspace team, the 1 Mile Project and those schools who will benefit from this aide. 


DigitalTown, Digital Greenwich, Dot London Domains and MMX Announce Strategic Partnership for a Smart London

London is about to get smarter! Edspacers were chatting with DigitalTown last week who are launching at London Tech Week. It’s the city’s largest smart platform for registered businesses, traders and citizens to search, share, connect, collaborate and transact on a global level in a local way. All this on one single sign on, via a SMART wallet, verified identity and accrued reputation through good old citizenship activities. So basically: the next level sharing economy.

It’s an ambitious project looking for ambitious programmers. They are hosting a virtual hackathon starting June 12th until June 30th. Winner gets £5,000, owns the IP, gets announced live at London Bridge, gets some love from the city of London, then best part…..roundtrip flight to Miami as part of their next deployment there where your product also gets scaled across 23,000 smart city platforms. You can register here if this sounds like the dream, we think it does!

DigitalTown know that some of you are really invested in making the city smarter already... So you’re invited to their big DigitalTown hall event on June 13th, with some pretty cool speakers and big thinkers in the SMART cities, public services, global tourism, corporate and technology sectors around the world. Definitely worth getting there; you can sign up here. The event will be livestreamed and hosting an online conversation via #LondonNeeds, too, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, tweet or instagram our accounts and theirs (@Digi_Town) using the #LondonNEEDS hashtag to share the biggest needs and missed opportunities you feel are in this wonderful city. It’s a big conversation that starts here...

If you gave a child a cheque, would they buy edtech?

Edspace Education Ecosystem mapping - Article #1 Category: Who pays for education innovation Pattern: Large cluster around school leaders

Edspace Education Ecosystem mapping - Article #1
Category: Who pays for education innovation
Pattern: Large cluster around school leaders

By Shannon Nolan

Had my primary school handed me a large cheque to buy whatever my heart desired when I was young, I probably wouldn’t have chosen virtual reality or a coding kit or a Latin learning program. Firstly, because commercial VR didn’t exist quite yet. Secondly, I was more focused on trying to colour inside of the lines in a colouring book. 

But what if you gave a teacher a cheque? Would they buy EdTech?

Maybe. But only after they’ve purchased their extra boxes of Kleenex during flu season, markers for the dry erase board, decorations for each term’s classroom theme, hand sanitisers, pencils, treats for winter holiday festivities, and everything else teachers and school leaders can’t stretch their budgets to cover. 

School budgets are shrinking and in order to meet the demands of their profession, teachers put in more free labour and resources than ever before. They’re often spending their own money to give students a creative, interesting learning experience. Teachers spend their summer holidays planning, decorating and searching for resources. Worksheets must be printed, tissue boxes must be available along with marking stamps and pencils. Lesson plans must be written and rewritten to meet ever changing national standards and benchmarks. 

Insert an EdTech company’s sales pitch for a new tablet application that costs more than that teacher’s entire year’s budget. It’s the newest innovation in the field, they’ll say. It’s necessary for students’ success in an increasingly technological world, they’ll include. Both might be true. But the end result is this: the company won’t make the sale and the classroom will go without the new product. No one wins and the students lose most. 

Budget friendly responses to creating innovative classrooms

Rocket Fund, a new online platform that allows teachers to crowdfund projects for their classroom, is asking the same question. It works with teachers’ own networks to raise half of the funds needed to purchase new technology or supplies while finding a local business to match fund the rest. 

This step in the right direction is making the education technology marketplace more accessible for all teachers, no matter the size of their budget. Spending decisions are given back to teachers while the burden of stretching inadequate funds is taken off the shoulders of school leaders. Rocket Fund in the UK, and similar tools like DonorsChoose in the US are creating more financially autonomous classrooms by bringing corporates into the equation.

[Read more about the 1 Mile Project at Edspace, partnering with Nesta to bring Rocket Fund to the 61 schools in our neighbourhood].

UBS, the global financial service, sponsors The Bridge Academy, a school for 11-19 year olds in Hackney. In an area where 59% of students are eligible for free meals, UBS supports the school’s mission to take a parent’s income out of the education equation. Their contribution doesn’t end on the signature line of a cheque; UBS employees have put in over a combined 37,500 volunteer hours. Not only did the school benefit, the employees reported a greater satisfaction with their jobs. 

What do we need to see more of to support school budgets?

Hidden within the colorful strings of the education ecosystem map - there are gaps which show that the recipients of primary and secondary school successes aren’t currently paying for them. So what areas are open for further innovation and collaboration?

Business funding in the classroom. Initiatives like Rocket Fund are working to bridge funding gaps and create mutually meaningful relationships between large and small companies and their local schools.

College and university funding. At what point do colleges and universities need to begin investing in the younger classrooms that their students come from? Could we design a more holistic financial support system for education,  that connects the public and private institutions and industries that support us throughout a lifetime of learning into career development? Could EdTech companies draw funding from universities to benefit their customer base of schools?

This is where the unknown territory in the current ecosystem takes shape.

Mark your place in the ecosystem

The current map includes the direct Edspace and Emerge Education membership at the time of creation. We know there are many more innovative projects, organisations and ventures out there. What are we seeing happen in education innovation? What are we not seeing?

Our ambition is to build this map together, and share the knowledge - by inviting you to add your own details. 

About the author:
Shannon Nolan is a third year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Engaged Social Innovation. Shannon is spending four months in the UK interning at Edspace and her current research interest delves into embedding creativity, innovation and autonomy into higher education classrooms. 


Mark your place in the education innovation ecosystem

Edspace is the focal point for a growing number of education innovators - and we benefit from a privileged position at the centre of this expanding ecosystem.

We are connected to a wide range of innovative education ventures - from in-class apps, to whole school management, to entirely new peer education systems. We can see various patterns emerging, and decided to map an ecosystem of the immediate members of Edspace and our parter edtech accelerator, Emerge Education.

The resulting drawing, with pen on paper connecting nodes around a circle with lines, highlighted interesting market clusters and and gaps - showing more competitive areas, and opportunities ripe for innovation.

To share the insight more widely, we used 180 eyelet screws, over 60m of neon thread, and more than 360 knots to replicate the model in 3D inside Edspace. It's quite a talking point!

Mark your place in the ecosystem

The current map includes the direct Edspace and Emerge Education members at the time of creation. But more have joined Edspace even in the short time since we made it, and we know there are many more innovative projects, organisations and ventures out there.

What are we seeing happen in education innovation? What are we not seeing?

Our ambition is to build this map together, and share the knowledge - by inviting you to add your own details. 


Thanks go to:
Zahra Davidson, founder, Enrol Yourself - fellow systems changer who helped devise and map the ecosystem
Dave Lynam, General Assembly instructor and Edspace member host - who did a lot of string tying and photo taking
Shannon Nolan, third year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Engaged Social Innovation - for writing an article based on one of the clusters shown by the map


1 Mile Project Launch - help a local school

Last week saw the launch of the 1 Mile Project - a new initiative from Edspace to collaborate with schools, businesses and education entrepreneurs within 1 Mile of our location in Hackney Community College, Hoxton.

For the first activity in the 1 Mile - we’ve teamed up with Nesta (the UK’s innovation foundation) to scale up their new crowdfunding platform which empowers teachers to raise funds for the most important projects in their classroom. 

It's called RocketFund, and it's now available to the 61 schools within 1 Mile of Edspace.

Donna's story

Learn how a primary school in Islington used Rocket Fund to buy VR headsets for their whole school.

Take Part

Teachers - register your school so you can start fundraising

Businesses - pledge to match fund a school project for £950

Education ventures - showcase your products and services

Individuals - donate any amount to the school projects when they go live in June

Everyone - help us spread the word!