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Bolton College makes EdTech 50

28 February 2020

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Bolton College has been named in this year’s EdTech 50 for ground-breaking work in education technology.


The EdTech 50 celebrates the use of technology to transform teaching and learning in UK schools and colleges, recognising institutions and individuals who lead the way.


The College’s Information Learning Technology Team, and its lead Aftab Hussain, have been recognised for their innovative work on a number of exciting projects.


The College, which is part of the University of Bolton Group, pioneered the development of Ada, a campus digital assistant for students, teachers and support teams.


The 24/7 on-demand chatbot has made big waves in the world of artificial intelligence; it is the only digital assistant in any UK college, and was described as a game changer for the whole of the further education sector.


The project was recognised nationally when the College won the prestigious Beacon Award for education technology, the equivalent of a further education Oscar, from the Association of Colleges at last year’s TES Awards.


More recently, the College received support from Nesta as part of the Department for Education’s EdTech Innovation Fund. This is being used to develop FirstPass, an online service that supports tutors and students with the formative assessment of open-ended questions.


The College has also received support from the Ufi VocTech Trust, which will further the development of this ground-breaking service; First Pass was recently name-checked in a Guardian article about exam assessments of the future.


Bolton College has strong links with IBM, a multinational company worth $140 billion. The College works with researchers at its Hartree Centre in Warrington, which is at forefront of cutting-edge computational science, particularly in the fields of artificial intelligence, healthcare and life science, blockchain and quantum computing.


Aftab Hussain, Learning Technology Manager at Bolton College said: “I am delighted that Bolton College has been recognised for its work on campus digital assistants and online assessment. I am proud to be working alongside such an innovative team who continue to inspire.”


Ty Goddard, co-founder and Director of EdTech UK, said: “The EdTech 50 is chosen from a mixture of public nominations and the insight of our judging panel.


“The awards help us celebrate a wonderful sector, whilst recognising the benefits of education technology, and acknowledging the economic advantages of the growing edtech sector to the whole UK economy.”


Bill Webster, Principal of Bolton College added: “I’m delighted that the College, and our Information Learning Technology Team, have been nationally recognised for the pioneering projects they are working on.


“The College is producing some cutting-edge education technology, and our learners are benefiting from this.”