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Nesta EdTech R&D programme (2021)

The project aimed to improve the functionality of Integral, our online teaching and learning environment, for those who access the resources on mobile devices.


The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in schools/colleges needing to make more use of online learning during 2020 and 2021, including increased studying at home and self-study by students. Disadvantaged students are more likely to use a smartphone than other devices like laptops when out of school/college. Students are also more likely to be confident with using a smartphone and can use them in spaces and at times that a desk or home study area is not available. We wished to better support disadvantaged students at this particularly challenging time, by improving the experience of using Integral on mobile devices.     


MEI received funding from the EdTech Innovation Fund. This funding was made available through the EdTech R&D Programme, which was delivered by Nesta in partnership with the DfE. The programme aimed to support schools, colleges and EdTech providers to understand and meet the needs of learners in a remote context, including those facing a variety of disadvantages.


The project involved three strands of complimentary activity to fulfil the aims of the Nesta EdTech R&D Programme.

  • Development of a set of 42 interactive resources to support the first year of A level Mathematics, specifically designed to be accessible from mobile devices and to use minimal mobile data.
  • Development work to establish if Integral could be made accessible through the Moodle App for mobile devices – this also enabled additional functionality to better support use of the materials when offline.
  • Enhancement of our onboarding processes to encourage teachers and students to make more extensive use of Integral, including improved user tours, help menus and video guidance.


The project was undertaken with feedback and review from a small group of schools and colleges. Following positive response from these schools/colleges, 42 interactive resources were embedded into the wider Integral resources site ready for the start of the 2021-22 academic year. This meant they could then be used by tens of thousands of students and teachers. As the work funded by the programme proved to be an effective means of improving access to Integral, we are drawing on our charitable reserves to provide similar interactive resources to support the second-year of A level Mathematics.