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Silicon Valley comes to the UK 2013 @SVC2UK

Sherry Coutu Chair of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK

Sherry speaking at the Houses of Parliament

Sherry Coutu has pulled off another excellent year for Silicon Valley Comes to the UK. I was lucky enough to attend the Houses of Parliament and listen to thought leaders from around the globe on what they see as the future of education.

There were some great speakers including Diane Tavenner (Summit Schools), John Katzman (Noodle Education), Mike Keller (Stanford Library), Ben Nelson (Minerva Project), Louise Rogers (Times Educational Supplement), Eben Upton (Raspberry Pi) and Conrad Wolfram (Mathematica).

I found Diane of Summit Schools particularly interesting. Summit Schools in California are re-imagining the classroom.

Here are just a few of the things they are doing:

  • Classrooms without walls
  • Whiteboards on the back of chairs
  • Weekly 1 to 1 student mentoring which are student led
  • 8 weeks of study away from school in the community and in business
  • Teachers are conducting high value coaching in classrooms and students are watching videos at home (the flipped classroom approach)
  • Student’s have individualised learning plans

Sean Gilligan EdTech Entrepreneur

Mathematica explained the importance of teaching Maths through coding. Conrad explained that coding is to Maths what composing is to English.

Webanywhere are running some computer coding workshops for free in collaboration with Bradford University. You can visit our Codeanywhere site to learn more.

In addition, you can learn more about Silicon Valley Comes to the UK at the SVC2UK website.

Silicon Valley Comes to the UK

I was delighted to receive an invite to attend SVC2UK 2012 – Silicon Valley Comes to the UK 2012– and last week travelled to Cambridge to take part in this annual meet up of UK business leaders, Cambridge University students and the cream of Silicon Valley.

The event brings together digital entrepreneurs, investors, thought leaders and the brightest students of Cambridge University to debate, discuss, create and fund the technology of tomorrow.

As the sector under the spotlight this year was Education Technology, the event was of particular value to me. My main focus was the ‘Scale Up’ theme of the event – examining how to transition growing tech companies into internationally operating concerns with turnovers in the hundreds of millions.


Webanywhere are certainly ‘scaling up’ as we broaden our horizons internationally, and so I was invited to join the CEO workshop event comprising of leaders of companies on track for rapid growth, who are looking to accelerate that growth.

I was inspired to speak with some of those who have been there and done it on the grandest scale, including Megan Smith, VP, Google [x], Rahul Vohra, Founder and CEO of Rapportive and Angela Lin, Head of YouTube Education. As you may imagine, I came away with plenty of food for thought. Something that struck a chord with me was that the best companies empower their staff to act like the CEO – to own their issues, to take control of their projects and to be proactive. If you have talented people, provide the space to be creative and you will be richly rewarded.

I also got chance to sit in on a very lively debate: The Future of Learning – What will students’ lives look like in 10 years time?, covering topics such as the flipped classroom, learning platforms and social and mobile learning.

The main thought left stuck in my head when leaving Cambridge was the need to stay dissatisfied. There are always opportunities to improve your offering, there is always a new challenge to stretch your ability, and always another horizon to aim for.