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by Richard Millwood last modified Sunday Sep 18, 2005 11:13

A brief explanation of Ultralab's process of building scaleable projects.

Ultralab's law states that:

"between denial and adoption there is space for innovation".

Ultralab looks for potential practices, inspired by new pedagogy or new technology, which are at first denied as being unworkable, untenable or simply incredible. We then construct a pilot project, which at small scale generates questions, needs and specifications. Operating then with a larger group and working with the group as 'co-researchers' leads to the definition of a service. In the penultimate stage, developing and operating a large-scale service to enable adoption becomes paramount. Finally, the project is novated to the sector or organisation best equipped to manage it and offer it as a mainstream service.

As an example of this philosophy, the Talking Heads project which began as a pilot with 1200 new head teachers. After problems were ironed out and innovations tested in the first year, the project was scaled up, in collaboration with the National College of School Leadership (NCSL), to deliver online learning community to all school leaders (<60,000) in England. Finally the project was novated to NCSL over a six month period of parallel operation as the new team, employed by NCSL, found its feet. Three members of Ultralab took new posts at NCSL in this transition.

More recently the project has evolved into an independent organisation to embed its methodology in the mainstream education system.

Meanwhile Ultralab continues to invent new projects to investigate and innovate for the future.

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