Islands of Innovation

Islands of Innovation 2023

Please pencil in the date for 2023: our second Islands of Innovation festival will be taking place on 9, 10 and 11 May 2023.

The festival aims to connect educators, educational developers and learning technologists across the globe to share educational innovations and co-create an imagined future of education. Below is what our first Islands of Innovation festival achieved in 2022.


The event consisted of three individual events each lasting 2.5 hours to enable participants located in different time zones around the world to participate. The event was organised by a diverse global committee.

The festival used Spatialchat, an online collaborative platform. SpatialChat enables synchronous and asynchronous communication and engagement within a virtual environment. CIE drew on many areas of expertise to construct a bespoke platform design to facilitate a range of inclusive activities and participant interaction.

SpatialChat board - Creative Group 3


Participants were allocated into groups to undertake a series of scaffolded activities, leading to a final collaborative task. The final task was the imagination and co-creation of an Island of Innovation. Throughout the event, participants explore six market hall themes to encourage inspiration for this final task. 


This Padlet Index has collated all the useful resources and outputs from the day – please check them out!

Market Hall Themes: Padlets

Each link below opens the relevant Market Hall Padlet, with the theme denoted by the title:

  1. Assessment and Feedback
  2. Building learning communities
  3. Digital innovations
  4. Ethics and Values
  5. Learning theories & Pedagogies
  6. Student-centred learning 

Group creations

Check out the groups’ creations, their Islands of Innovation – each group had to produce one innovative idea for their Islands of education (innovation being something new to the island, not necessarily as completely new idea):

SpatialChat board - Creative Group 15 and 18

For anyone interested in using Spatial Chat for educational purposes, please look at our video guide to SpatialChat which will give you an idea of the platform and possibilities.

We have also secured funding for a year’s license for SpatialChat for pilot purposes, so if you are an educator from the University of Liverpool interested in using it, please contact us at:

SpatialChat board - Creative Group 14 and 17

Testimonials from the day

“Absolutely, fantastically well done, great tool, great organisation, but importantly great set up to get good interaction and engagement. Nothing went stale, everyone had time to speak and time to listen. You've set a great example how the whole sector (and the whole world if you ask me) can do online conferencing well. So much more inclusive allowing access to people from all over the world, and I think I have more interaction than I would have in a F2F setting. Can't applaud you loud enough.” (Festival participant

“I enjoyed the platform and the structure of the event on the islands - I felt like I'd been 'away' to an event. The theme was good and there were an incredible number of useful ideas and resources on the Market Islands. Coming back together at the end to share our thoughts and create our own Island of Innovation worked well. Gathering in boats for the presentations was a great touch. The campfire at the end was brilliant.” (Festival participant)

“I enjoyed how global this experience was - what an amazing achievement to entice people from all different time zones and disciplines.” Well done! (Festival participant)

“I enjoyed meeting new people, exchanging thoughts about various topics. I thought the set up was excellent! Lively, interactive, great tool (SpatialChat), fantastic organisation.” (Festival participant)

“Islands of Innovation 2022 was an incredibly powerful event that left me energised and creatively sparked to the point where I am adding to Padlets the day after, and connections (meaningful conversations) I made at the event have already enriched my research. This is an excellent model of international, technologically-enhanced collaboration among professionals, and I will take lessons learned about facilitating interacting forward to the Asian Futurisms 2022 conference I am co-hosting later this month and beyond. Open, collaborative spaces that document shared thinking about professional practice to showcase a variety of approaches are exactly what international educational development needs in order to model inclusive pedagogies.” (Festival participant)

Members of the Organising Committee (also known as Islanders)

The festival is organised by a global committee, and hosted by the Centre for Innovation in Education, University of Liverpool.

Alex Spiers

London School of Economics


Alice Kim

Teaching and Learning Research In Action; University of Guelph-Humber


Becky Atkinson

University of Liverpool


Charlie Reis



Chris Loxham

University of Liverpool


David Watson

University of Liverpool


Dawne Irving-Bell

Edge Hill University


Erika Smith

Mount Royal University


Joel Haddley

University of Liverpool


John Brindle

University of Liverpool


Karl Gimblett

University of Liverpool


Mary Jacob

Aberystwyth University


Natasha Taylor

Collarts (Australian College of the Arts)


Phindile Shangase

University of the Free State

South Africa

Rob Lindsay

University of Liverpool


Sue Beckingham

Sheffield Hallam University


Tunde Varga-Atkins

University of Liverpool


Vicki Dale

University of Glasgow


Virna Rossi

Ravensbourne University


William Machacha

British Council


Yu (Lissy) Wang




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