On the 10th of June, the Educators for Impact consortium met in Amsterdam for our international partner meeting. As our first in-person meeting since the start of the project, it was an exciting occasion and a key chance to solidify connections between partners. The main goal of our meeting was to discuss our preliminary findings from the investigation phase of the project. Here we explore the key insights of the discussion.


The Entrepreneurial Mindset

From the research, we concluded that in order to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, it was important that educators are creative, possess sufficient self-efficacy and are not afraid of taking risks. Whilst it is clear is that there is a need to convince educators of the importance of these values, there is little consensus on how exactly to do this. One interviewee suggested that academics who kept up to date with current issues in their field and region were more likely to be open to integrating innovative pedagogies into their learning. It may therefore be useful at the HEI level, to incentivise academics to attend local debates about current issues and increase their engagement with the surrounding region. Another suggested method of instilling innovative pedagogies at HEIs, is to focus first on the educators who express interest in enhancing their pedagogies, and provide them with the tools to do so. Once these early adopters are seen to be rewarded, other educators will follow.

In the process of designing innovative interdisciplinary programmes, we should also place emphasis on the learner, taking a student centric approach and involving students in the design process.

The Role of Technology

The consortium recognises technology as a key supporting mechanism of innovative and entrepreneurial pedagogies. However, insights from the desk research and interviews stressed that in is not the technologies themselves, but the way that they are used that has the greatest impact on the quality of education. Technology is therefore framed as a nice-to-have element, rather than a necessity. Furthermore, educators experience barriers to implementing technology in their teaching practices, and training may well be necessary to help them integrate useful technologies into their teaching practices.

The Role of Networks

Research also stressed that networks and communities of practice are incredibly important in the creation and improvement of innovative education programmes, through facilitating the sharing of expertise and best practice exchange. Networks are very important for supporting innovative education and facilitating best practice exchange. However, at the same time, whilst learning from international networks, these programmes should be regionally focused and embedded.

The consortium also discussed the need for system level support for Innovative Education; there was a strong consensus among partners that we need a combined top-down and bottom-up approach to foster these educational practices. The current education system and modes of assessment are not conducive to innovative and impactful education. In the future, the consortium will look into ways that it might feasibly be able to influence this system level support.

In creating our educational offer, it is necessary to pay close attention to the needs of academics. The insights that we have gathered in the investigation phase, therefore, will eventually feed into the creation of the Educators for Impact Training Programme and Toolkit. We will continuously build upon our knowledge of educator needs through continuous dialogue with educators through various networks.

The project meeting also served as an opportunity to reinstate the consortium’s shared purpose. We discussed the connotations that often come to mind when we speak of the ‘entrepreneurial’; a term which is oftentimes associated with commercial pursuits. This fruitful discussion led us to adopt ‘Educators for Impact’ as our final project name. By placing an emphasis on ‘impact’ and ‘value creation’, we hope that the project will better appeal to the educators that form the focus of our efforts.

After the meeting, we feel evermore united as a consortium, inspired by one another and ready to move forward with the wealth of insights that we have collected from the investigation phase. We are excited for the finalisation of our Training Investigation Report and the start of the next chapter of the project, the Educators for Impact Self-Assessment Framework, led by Bantani Education.


Authored by Tasha Day (UIIN)