Chief Operating Officer at Twinkl
Sheffield has been a nationally significant centre for online learning and educational technologies since even before the decision by New Labour to site UfI, the University for Industry, here in 1998. Since then, there has been a steady stream of talent and new businesses born of this activity, developing resources and platforms for learning across many different industry verticals. The success of Twinkl and Kineo, and the recent relocation of TES Resources to the city, mean that platforms hosting around 60% of all national teaching resources are now managed in the city.
Twinkl has grown from being an evening “sideproject” just ten years ago into the largest repository of high quality digital teaching materials in the world, with headquarters in Sheffield, a technology hub in Manchester and an Australian base in Wollongong. Twinkl now employs more than 500 people worldwide, supporting teachers, childminders, nursery workers, home educators and parents, who download over 8m resources each month.
The firm is also breaking new ground in the use of Augmented Reality to enhance lessons, both with their range of collaborative learning environments such as Little Red Coding Club and ARchitect, and by creating the world’s largest repository of free Apple Quick Look models.
Tribal Group is an international educational technologies company, headquartered in Bristol but with a major presence at St Mary’s Court, Sheffield. The firm develops a wide range of management and operations software used by universities, colleges and alternative learning providers around the world. This includes the market-leading “SITS: Vision” student management system, which is in use by 70% of higher education institutions in the UK and many more abroad.
Attracted by the city’s established capabilities in learning technologies, TES Resources, the learning resources arm of TES Global, recently relocated a significant portion of their operations from London to Sheffield, taking two floors of the new 3 St Paul’s Place building in the city centre, with room for up to 200 staff. The firm brings with it the management of one of the world’s largest teaching materials repositories, with over 700,000 items shared across its distribution platforms. Their presence further underlines Sheffield’s prominence in this field alongside other global providers based in the city such as Leo Learning, Kineo and fellow new arrivals Sponge.
Established more than 20 years ago, DESQ is among a number of local digital media agencies to have developed strong specialisms in the creation of learning experiences and platforms.
Over the years they have worked with a vast array of blue-chip brands, and are at the forefront of creatively combining gaming and learning elements into their solutions. Along with other local creative learning agencies such as Can Studios, Learning Light and The Workshop, DESQ well represents the connections between the learning tech and creative tech pillars of the local digital economy.
Tutorful are another Sheffield startup success story in the learning technologies space, having been founded in order to develop a platform to connect students and home tutors with each other across the country.
With several rounds of funding behind them, and along with winning the 2017 Northern Stars startup competition, Tutorful has now emerged as the UK market leader with more than 11,000 active tutors on their platform and in excess of one million lessons served.