European Schoolnet welcomes back two major EdTech innovators whose new companies join the Future Classroom Lab


29/11/2017

Technology plays an important role in schools, helping to transform teaching and learning. Educational technology, also known as ‘EdTech', depends, as many other sectors, on innovation. Innovation often comes from visionary thinkers with entrepreneurial mindsets who dare to put their ideas into practice. Two such people are Nancy Knowlton, founder of SMART Technologies, and Tony Cann, Promethean's founder, who joined the Future Classroom Lab at the outset. Today, European Schoolnet is delighted to welcome them both back to the Future Classroom Lab with their new companies, set to be important players on the educational technology scene.

Photo: Nany Knowlton (co-founder and CEO, Nureva), Marc Durando (Executive Director, European Schoolnet), and Tony Cann (Founder and CEO, Learning by Questions) in the FCL Exploration Area at EMINENT 2017.

The Future Classroom Lab has currently over 30 partners, each of them supporting innovative approaches in learning and teaching through their solutions. Back in 2012 when the Future Classroom Lab was created, it had the honour to have among its initial partners two well-known interactive board companies, SMART Technologies and Promethean. Today their founders have joined the Future Classroom Lab with their new companies, Nureva and Learning by Questions.

Back in 1987 Nancy Knowlton co-founded SMART Technologies, which grew from a start-up into a world-known EdTech company. In 2014 she set up another start-up called Nureva, of which she is currently CE0. As a company Nureva focuses on creating physical and virtual collaboration spaces where students develop essential skills, such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. The Nureva Span system combines an interactive projector with collaboration software resulting in huge shared canvases that students can use for exploration and discovery. Commenting on the new partnership, Nancy Knowlton said, ‘Our team at Nureva is delighted to be engaged with the Future Classroom Lab at European Schoolnet. With the proliferation of technology in classrooms and the focus on 21st century skills, we are developing new ways to use technology in the development of those skills.'

Tony Cann, is today the leader of Learning by Questions but he is also known as a founding member of Promethean, a company best known for its interactive whiteboards and student response systems. Tony's new company, Learning by Questions, is focused on empowering educators with a pedagogy based on timely feedback and intervention. The ‘Question Sets' allow students to answer questions at their own pace during lessons while receiving instant feedback about their learning, facilitating the development of students' understanding. Students who progress quicker get more challenging questions. The teacher on the other hand, is able to immediately see students' progress and where s/he needs to intervene. ‘My experience in Ed Tech has taught me that changing classrooms is one thing but improving them is another.  That's why at Learning by Questions we have developed a pedagogy, not just a product.  We are passionate about helping both teachers and students to reach their potential. That's not about buying more equipment, but finding methods to make teaching and learning more efficient and effective whilst also easing teacher workloads.'

Both companies also took part recently in the Future Classroom Lab Exploration Area at European Schoolnet's 20th anniversary EMINENT conference, dedicated to learning space, time and eco-systems. We look forward to our continued collaboration and to the exciting possibilities that the addition of these two new companies will bring to the Future Classroom Lab.