Celebrating Innovation with HundRED, Helsinki
This week, on behalf of the CET, I was proud to attend the annual HundrED Innovation Summit in Helsinki. The event celebrated their ‘Global Collection’ – 100 scalable innovations that aim to transform education worldwide. In 2022, our easy-to-use, digital platform, Teach2030 featured and was subsequently spotlighted for ‘Teachers for a Changing World’. Yet, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no celebratory in person event was held that year, so to attend this year and witness the passion and dedication of the projects involved was both motivating and empowering.
These individual successes caused me to reflect on our own journey since featuring in the 2022 Global Report. Our numbers are striking: Teach2030 has scaled exponentially since being recognised by the HundrED. In 2022, we only reached 11 countries and impacted 3,500 teachers. Just two years later and Teach2030 has over 13,000 users in over 113 countries. We now measure the number of students impacted; on average, each teacher teaches 225 children a year. For a career lasting 25 years, this could be a staggering 63,000,000 children who gain from improved teaching strategies and learning outcomes.
With this year’s event focusing on ‘Championing Innovation,’ it was a celebratory and positive three days surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurial, ambitious and driven representatives from NGOs, private companies, schools and other organisations. Strikingly, the CET is unique – seemingly still the only provider of contextualised, pedagogical teacher professional development through the smartphone.
The event began on Tuesday with a Global Collection 2024 Award Ceremony and Cocktail Reception – a chance to meet, greet and hear about those being celebrated this year. Wednesday was a full day of interactive workshops, speakers and panels, with titles including ‘How Can Education Chage Systems,’ Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges: Strategies for Scaling Education Innovations for Impact’ and ‘Embracing the Messy Middle: Examples From The Field.’ Yet, the most enlightening part was the small group discussion about the challenges our innovations face regarding teachers, along with possible solutions. I highlighted the pressure many in our community have regarding professional development being perceived as a sign of weakness, rather than strength: to highlight an area they wish to target could lead to them losing their job due to their societal idea that a teacher needs to already be ‘perfect’. Others empathised and shared their own stories of how leadership pressurise teachers to enforce or uphold certain outdated values or actions that contradict with the growth mindset. Many solutions were impressive, but we were commended for our Teach2030 community, from our ambassadors to the proactive interaction with our users, which we have worked so hard on over the last few years to build, develop and strengthen. Our day ended with a wonderful dinner in the modern and most impressive Vuosaari Upper Secondary School.
Thursday was – unfortunately – the final morning. After ‘Looking Forward – A1 in Education,’ I chose to attend ‘Scaling Innovation: Balancing Loose/Tight And Orbiting The Hairball,’ in which we were encouraged to consider our core and flexible values/actions. To place this workshop towards the end of the schedule was timely; sometimes, we are all so busy protecting and developing our organisations that we forget why we are here. To remind ourselves of our mission (to develop teachers around the world so as to improve learning outcomes for the children they teach) and then consider ‘how’ we make this happen (through Teach2030 and our worldwide partnerships) confirms that the CET has a purposeful place in the HundrED, SDG4, Commonwealth and global community.
Thanks to HundrED for organising such a wonderful and inspiring event.