Nisai Education Trust

Welcome to Nisai Education Trust

Our mission is to develop everyone’s understanding of effective online and blended learning.

Who we are

Nisai Education Trust’s mission is to advance the education of the public in general – and particularly amongst teachers and educationalists – on the subject of online and blended education, to promote research for the public benefit in all aspects of that subject and to publish the useful results.

Online learning provides an opportunity to meet the targets of the UN SDG30 Goal 4 (Education) at scale and ‘ensure equal access to education and training for the vulnerable’. (UN 2018)

What we do

Online education in developed and developing nations has often been defined by ‘edu-tech’ companies and their relationship to the traditional education providers (schools, colleges). The model used is one that is geared to working at scale with little personalisation for learners and their individual needs and contexts, creating inequalities in the benefits realised.

This inequity particularly impacts vulnerable learners, who have a variety of barriers to accessing the education system due to individual learning needs or disabilities, economic or social circumstance, or lack of digital accessibility or digital literacy.

Nisai Education Trust:

  • Carries out proofs of concept and action research into effective models of online education that meet the needs of the most vulnerable learners accommodate their individual characteristics and contexts.
  • Develops professional understanding of best practice in:
    • the organisation and leadership of online education,
    • the development of pedagogy and the curriculum for online and blended education for vulnerable groups.

Learning from Nisai Education Trust’s activity is published for public benefit, targeting teachers and educationalists, to improve future educational provision for vulnerable learners.

The NET Innovation Webinars

Watched by over 1200 practitioners in 4 continents, the NET webinars became a phenomenon during the Covid-19 pandemic when practitioners needed to support a range of students remotely and we are continuing the accessibility and collaboration that they became known for. The webinars bring together academic experts from the Universities of Bristol, Oxford Brookes and Toronto and outstanding practitioners in learner engagement and wellbeing. We aim to strike up rich conversations and provide a source of information and expertise.

The webinars cover topics such as the how innovation and agility in online education can reduce the challenges faced by learners with additional needs, including during the Covid-19 pandemic, supporting DME/2e learners in alternative provision and realising the potential of vulnerable learners.

Our Projects​

In early 2020 everyone experienced a changed world – and needed to know more about delivering learning online through the pandemic. During 2020 and 2021, we dedicated ourselves to reaching out to educators to share our knowledge, and to ensuring that the projects we had begun were successful. You can see information about our projects below.

Units of Sound Goes Cloud-Based

This project extended the reach of the Units of Sound second chance literacy program by converting it to HTML which enabled a cloud-based, mobile version. The project also evaluated the potential for delivery within the United States education system through small partner projects. Units of Sound has supported vulnerable learners in adult literacy projects, young offender institutions, and within the Charter School system.

The project was funded by Oak Foundation’s Learning Differences Programme and we worked in partnership with Georgia State University’s national adult literacy research centre at Atlanta and Betwixt Consulting USA.

Over 4,300 learners have been able to continue on Units of Sound due to the cloud-base, mobile version being available, and a further 3,348 learners have joined since the cloud-based version went ‘live’ in January 2021. In addition, 180 literacy teachers and tutors in 132 schools and teaching centres in the UK and Asia have been trained to deliver the programme. The evaluation of the US market – with a focus on the barriers engendered through market structure and current public service procurement limitations – was published for public information.

Connecting Learners to UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

The project developed an innovative pilot programme to learn more about how we can best use blended (online and in-school) experiences to engage young people in the global sustainability agenda. We used our foundation of knowledge and experience to develop a programme that included developing digital capability, digital literacy, personal wellbeing and great teaching.

The project, funded by UNESCO and Nisai Group, targeted 40 children in 10 schools in the Russian Federation. We partnered with UNESCO Institute of Information Technologies in Education and the St Petersburg school district

The project delivered successfully to pupils and schools, with the learning being reported in the project evaluation by UNESCO IITE. Following the project, IITE supported further scalability evaluations in Asia.

NET Innovation Webinars

The NET Innovation Webinars were initially a response during the coronavirus pandemic to educators’ need to understand best practice in delivering education online, what the impacts on learner and educator well-being were, and how we might incorporate this learning into new models of education following the pandemic. The project continues to bring together experts and outstanding practitioners to hold conversations about innovation in education, online and blended learning to empower and inform educators. The NET Innovation Webinars support educators across the world who need access to expertise on topical issues related to supporting vulnerable students and online/blended learning.

This project was funded by Nisai Global and we worked with many partners, including Achievement for All, Department of Education in The Philippines, the DME Trust, Nasen, PINC College, PRUsAP, Units of Sound, Universities of Bristol, Oxford Brookes and Toronto, Venturers Trust.

So far the NET Innovation Webinars have supported over 1200 educators across four continents as they responded to the challenges of online and blended through and beyond the Covid – 19 pandemic. Educators told us that NET Innovation Webinars brought something of real value at a difficult time, with 100% of attendees rating the webinars as ‘good’ or better.

Guidance for Educators in AP about DME Learners

Many children in who have had a rough ride in traditional education have hidden talents and abilities. In this project, we worked in partnership with specialist organisations and practitioners in Alternative Provision settings to develop appropriate materials for educators to be able to identify and support the complex needs of children with DME.

The project was funded by Nisai Global, Potential Plus UK and The Potential Trust and we worked in partnership with The DME Trust, PRUsAP, PINC College and Nasen to deliver it.

We delivered downloadable support and guidance on how to identify and support learners with Dual and Multiple Exceptionality whilst we made it available to every teacher in every Alternative Provision setting in England.

Lockdown Laptops

We made laptops available to families who had no access to technology during local lockdowns so that children could continue learning, The target group was primary school-aged children in the Philippines who were unable to attend school due to local coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

The project was funded by Nisai Group and we partnered with Faith Grower School, Philippines. The result was that 60 primary school-aged children were able to continue their education by accessing education programs from Singapore when they could not attend school.

Universal Design for Learning goes online.

This project sought to investigate how the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model might effectively support teaching on online learning platforms for vulnerable learners. We applied Universal Design for Learning into an extant virtual/blended school – seeking to create an integrated and individualized learning system for pupils.

The aim was to support equity and innovation in teaching and learning and also to identify and disseminate models of best UDL practice. It was undertaken by teachers currently delivering to pupils and the learning was used by educators working in online and blended education with pupils with learning differences, and those deploying the UDL delivery structure.

The project was funded by Nisai Group and we partnered with CAST/UDL. The outcome of the project was that detailed evaluation of how the UDL structure can be applied in the online learning context was developed for the UDL Implementation and Research Network and published online.

Refugee Mothers’ Literacy

In this innovative project, Nisai Education Trust provided technology and program support to Happy Baby Community to enable refugee mothers (of new-born babies) to develop their English language literacy. The target group was refugee mothers of new-born babies based in London, UK. We worked in partnership with Happy Baby Community and the project was joint-funded by HBC and Nisai Group.

20 refugee mothers had access to online functional language learning throughout the coronavirus pandemic where otherwise their access to learning would have stopped. One of the initial successes of this program has been one mother gaining a place on an MSC course at the University of London. In addition, we have gained further understanding as to the most effective online pedagogy to support the development of functional literacy skills for this vulnerable group.

Our Partners

These projects could not be done alone; we have worked with many partners to deliver them and continue to develop relationships. We are grateful to the organisations we have worked with for their commitment to the projects, their support for learners and their contributions to the understanding of best practice in online and blended education.

Nisai Education Trust Ltd is recognised as a charity in England & Wales. Registered Charity number 1195283

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