12 Things That Keep Edtech Entrepreneurs Busy in Summer

In Feature Articles by Mark Piesing

While school is out of session, edtech entrepreneurs keep working. A quartet of top UK edtech entrepreneurs share “what they did on the their summer vacation.”

By Mark Piesing

If school’s out for summer, what keeps edtech entrepreneurs busy?

Here are twelve things that EdTech entrepreneurs get up to in the summer holidays and why.

Charley Darbishire

Charley Darbishire

Charley Darbishire, founder of Educake. Educake is an online homework and revision assessment tool for schools.

  1. This moment between when the year ends and starts again is a natural sweet moment of reflection that you don’t get in other industries.
  2. It is a great time to do product development without being interrupted by schools asking questions – or by changes actually ruining lessons. I can go to my parents’ home in the Lake District to do two weeks of coding without guilt. It is also a good time to spend some time reaching out to schools in the international market. I usually spend a couple of weeks on that.
  3. From mid-August the key decision makers start to come back into school to prepare for the new year and so it is a great time to start talking to them as they don’t have the distractions of students and classes.

For more insight, see our profile of Educake from March.

David Miller, Director of Learning at Kuato Studios. Kuato Studios is an educational games developer that inspires and engages learners by capturing the excitement of learning through video games.

  1. The summer is a good time to launch new products that might get lost in the school term. In July we had an amazing launch event of Dino Tales and Safari Tales at the American Museum of Natural History, with Hollywood star Uma Thurman reading from both books to 100 children.
  2. The summer is also a good time to take stock of where you have got to and to plan for the future, whether this means localizing your product for different markets or developing new markets. You can work out who is making the loudest noise online in the markets you are interested in developing and get in touch with them, to save a lot of money on PR in the future.
  3. Or you can even simply use the summer for identifying different awards to try for and conferences to go to through the rest of the year.
Two of the DIY Maker kits available from Technology Will Save Us.

Two of the DIY Maker kits available from Technology Will Save Us.

Bethany Koby, CEO and co-founder of Technology Will Save Us. Technology Will Save Us is an exciting design-led technology startup focused on learning. It has recently partnered with the BBC to design the Micro Bit mini-computer, which will be given to one million UK children to encourage them to learn to code.

  1. Summer is a great time to plan out the next school year. It gives us a chance to test and iterate new resources, ideas and content that we can use with learning partners and schools.
  2. It also gives us the chance to be out and about in the world at events and with our retail partners, workshopping and testing with young people. This in turn spreads the word about Tech Will Save Us and grows our community within the family space, which has a really nice reciprocal loop back into schools, when young people take what they have done over the holidays to show and tell back at school.
  3. There is a challenge in that the schools are on holiday, but also a huge opportunity to work with after-school clubs and summer camps. The education tech scene is so exciting at the moment. In the last month alone we’ve been to Camp Bestival and Young Rewired State Festival of Code, and we’re working with Hauser & Wirth and Maker Club too.

Joachim Horn of SAM Labs. SAM Labs is a start-up that makes Internet of Things electronics kits for inventors, artists, and students. Find them on Twitter @samlabs and on Facebook:

  1. Summer holidays are the best! We spent the first half of the year developing SAM, and launched our SAM kits on June 30th. Since our product is now available, it was a great time for us to promote SAM and get feedback from our users.
  2. We can run workshops for parents, teachers and students as they have the time to explore coding, making and the Internet of Things. This summer with Royal College of Art students we built a competitive alarm clock to race your partner out of bed, and a dessert feeder that treats you after you’ve eaten your veggies. It is a good time to give talks too – we delivered a TED Institute talk at TED@BCG in London and are preparing for a second next week in Atlanta.
  3. As well as preparing for the next academic year it’s a great opportunity for our designers to have the time to inspire the wider SAM community by sharing their own projects, such as Amanda the racing dinosaur and a Twitter-powered art installation.
About the Author

Mark Piesing

Mark Piesing is a freelance journalist (and teacher) based in Oxford, UK now writing mainly about technology, culture and the intersection between the two for some of the biggest brands in the UK media such as The Economist, Wired.co.uk, and The Guardian. He also contributes to Warwick Business School's Core magazine. WBS is one of the top business schools in the UK.