Innovate UK announces major investment in Prospero to help schools teach creatively during Covid-19

National Drama is proud to have supported Prospero in this application
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National Drama is proud to have supported Prospero in this application

Innovate UK, the United Kingdom’s innovation agency, has announced a major investment in Prospero, as part of a £19M package to help society face the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.

Innovate UK’s support will enable Prospero to develop exciting new functions that will put a host of creative tools into the hands of young learners, enabling them to be creative in drama, music and dance in ways they can’t, whilst experiencing social distancing and home learning.

Prospero already enables teachers and arts organisations to create and share their own innovative teaching materials online. It allows anyone to build their own interactive lessons and workshops that immerse students in creative learning. This new funding will enable Prospero to extend this functionality to students themselves, meaning they will be able to create their own practical work digitally and share it with peers and teachers.

“We are thrilled to have secured Innovate UK as a partner in our work” said Dr Paul Sutton, Prospero’s Director. “This was a hugely competitive fund, with over 8600 applicants, more than Innovate UK usually receive in a whole year. Their funding will enable us to support teachers and learners at this challenging time.”

At the heart of this innovation will be tools that will enable students to create their own ‘digital portfolios.’ Students will be able to design and author their own creative interactive scripts and assignments, rich in video, audio, images and text, in response to practical tasks or collaborative projects they have been set by their teachers. Prospero will also offer new remote assessment and monitoring tools, as well as live chat and messaging functions, so teachers and learners will be able to collaborate synchronously and asynchronously.

Whilst Prospero was originally designed for theatre and drama teaching, these new tools will be available to all teachers who want to enrich their remote teaching with creativity. To this end, Prospero is collaborating with National Drama and the Council for Subject Associations, allowing involvement of teachers from all subjects and backgrounds including dance, music, history, special education, RE, ethics and art. National Drama and other CfSA members will also work with Prospero to create new teaching materials for schools to use.

These new functions will be available in Prospero from October 2020. To find out more register for the Prospero newsletter and while you’re at it, why not try some of the free learning resources in the Library?

Contact Prospero here if you would be interested in piloting these new functions or finding out more.

National Drama is proud to have supported Dr Paul Sutton with this application, and looks forward to working with the team and watching the new platform emerge. Exciting times ahead!

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