The sandbox method
Sandboxes work alongside the Hub’s other in-country offers to change the way decisions are made about technology in education. Our aim is for decisions to be made based on both rigorous academic evidence and real-time evidence directly informing implementation.
The sandbox process is designed to help generate that real-time evidence. We draw on methodology like lean impact and user-centred design to get to learning as fast as possible to make interventions as robust as possible.
6 principles underpinning the sandbox method
1. Being problem-centred, with a clear focus
The first step for each sandbox is to outline a clear problem statement for our work, for example ‘how might we decrease the cost of personalised learning tools by X% so that it is accessible to marginalised populations?’
2. Systematic experimentation, through real-world implementation
Through quick ‘build, measure, learn’ cycles, we test our assumptions on how we might configure a solution, learning what works (or doesn’t), adapting and scaling as we go. User-centred approaches and lean methodology enable us to test in the real world, with real people, increasing the certainty that the intervention will work.
3. Narrowing the distance between theory and practice
Evidence in: Sandboxes surface and share existing evidence on a topic by bringing world-leading researchers into the sandboxes to work as part of the team. Evidence out: the practical implementation evidence we generate will also contribute to the body of knowledge.
4. Treating the system as the unit of experimentation
Experimentation in a sandbox happens across any part of an education system. The EdTech Hub has codified the system into 6Ps: people, product, pedagogy, policy, place, and provision. EdTech programmes need to engage and integrate with all parts of the system in order to be successful.
5. Giving a mix of actors a seat at the table and holding space for their collaboration
Our approach is to provide a dedicated team tailored to the needs of each sandbox, drawing on expertise in innovation, technology, education, pedagogy, and more.
6. Partnering and building on what is already out there
We start by asking the question ‘What’s working, and how can we do more of it?’ We prioritise support to take innovation to scale given that there are many programmes already focused on generating new ideas. We partner with early-stage incubators and accelerators to build a ‘pipeline of pipelines’.
Sandbox community of practice
The sandbox community of practice includes all current EdTech sandboxes as well as sandbox alumni. Through this community we foster peer learning, and facilitate opportunities for the Hub and implementers to connect and collaborate.
If you want to know more about the exact process and how to run a sandbox yourself, take a look at our Sandbox Handbook.