Innovation In Giving

Makewaves Experts empowers parents to contribute to their children’s education by sharing their knowledge and skills.

There are around 16 million parents in the UK, 32% of which want to be more involved in their child’s school life, according to a recent survey by the Department for Education. That’s about 5.3 million potential volunteers with skills and knowledge young people need, says DigitalME, a not-for-profit organisation focused on using technology to improve learning.

DigitalME is creating a new portal in partnership with Makewaves, to help parents pass on their skills to the next generation. Makewaves Experts will be part of the existing ‘Makewaves’ platform – a safe social network and app where children can share their videos, photos and blogs, which is already in use in over 3,500 schools.

With teachers facing increased class sizes, fewer instructional days and resources, Makewaves Experts will enable schools to draw on a largely untapped pool of talent to enhance learning – parents.

Teachers can advertise opportunities for volunteering and skills they’re particularly looking for; parents can post their skills and availability, either to come into school or engage online; and the app alerts parents to opportunities they may be interested in.

As well as being able to put their skills to good use, parents are openly rewarded for their time: learners and teachers provide feedback and testimonials to volunteers, who earn ‘Mozilla Open Badges’ – an innovative new skills recognition system that can help boost their own career development – offering an extra incentive to get involved.

The award

The £51,700 award will be used to design, build and test the technology, for marketing and publicity, and to refine the product. DigitalME plans to pilot the technology in year one, working with five schools initially and 50 by the end of the year, with the aim of rolling out a proven model to schools across the UK in year two.


Lucy Neale,

Cliff Manning,

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