Set us a Challenge (Archive)

Please note this page is part of an Archive of the EdLab project.

The EdLab MMU team would like to invite you to set a challenge for our students that they can solve as part of their coursework, or as a volunteering experience. You can be as imaginative as you like as we have a wide range of partners to work with, and a fantastic set of students ready to get involved.

Ideally, the challenges will try to solve a problem or issue that you have, and be open to students solving it in a creative way.

These challenges are different from placements as they are much shorter, usually just a few hours of delivery time (with more time spent by students planning), and involve students in taking the lead. Examples of what students might do:

  • arranging and delivering a one hour session with primary or home educated children
  • creating a leaflet and running a stall to raise awareness of an issue
  • volunteering for an event and delivering a short educational activity

Getting started if students are new to the project:  We find students are better equipped to create a realistic and suitable project when they have seen the work in action. This gives them a  chance to to make links and really understand the background of the challenge. This might be a short tour of your project, or volunteering at an event where they can pick up more information about what you do.

In a Nutshell

EdLab is about creating and doing good stuff together. EdLab is a new MMU Faculty of Education initiative, in which students tackle ‘real-world challenges’ from the community. Essentially we will work in partnership with community groups, charities, small enterprises and schools to design and put into action creative educational initiatives.

Our Aims

EdLab aims to be of value both to the community and to students. To do this we will work with partners and students  to develop creative and innovative educational solutions to real challenges that you face. This will in turn be invaluable experience for our students in understanding the contexts in which you work.

In producing wider reaching impact we aim to create resources based upon the projects which can be used freely by anyone who wishes to access them. For example , by using video to document our processes and projects which will be shared on our website.

EdLab  is guided by the principle of doing things and learning from them, because creative and innovative ideas are likely to spring from this process.

How it Works

Set us an educational challenge  via our website, email, on the phone or in person. We will then put together an interdisciplinary team of students from our EdLab programme, and support them in creating delivering a solution.

In the initial stages we work by organising a ‘creative space’ in which you can meet with students to present your challenge. During this space we will support the generation of ideas, with the benefit of  immediate feedback from you on suitability and feasibility.

Students and partners will then work together to enact the projects. Whilst staff at MMU will support this process, this will require input into the relationship with student from partners for example, by being responsive to communication from students.

In the final stages we will work to capture and record the solutions to your challenges. This may also include documenting and sharing resources which can be used again by your own group, but also by others. Aspirationally, this process will result in productive and enjoyable relationships which may also lead to future development of the projects.

Example Projects

Manchester Central Library has a number of under used spaces and resources, including a music library with drum kits and keyboards, and computers with state of the art software. Their challenge to EdLab was to draw in more families, children and young people to use these resources. We arranged and supported a ‘creative space’ at MMU for our students to work directly with Paula from the Central Library in generating ideas. The first project we conducted in response to this challenge was a music and computer coding event called Sonic Pi , conducted in the library and attended by home educated children.


Children and parents attending Sonic Pi sessions have given enthusiastic feedback:

sonic pi was a revelation, we’ve been on it since we got home yesterday i am convinced it’s a great way to get people understanding code and creating music, it’s a brilliant tool and live_loop , wow

We are now working to develop further projects in the library, as well as extending the project to our PGCE music and I.T specialist students to build new activities.

What EdLab Offers to You

EdLab offers you the chance to work in partnership with MMU staff and students to develop skills and create meaningful and valuable initiatives and resources.

Those who work in partnership with EdLab in supporting and leading projects will have the opportunity to benefit in the following ways;

  • Co-produced outcomes to challenges
  • Human Resources – knowledge, staff and student time
  • Space at the University – partners can book University Rooms through us
  • Joint funding bids
  • APEL: masters degree credits for partners via Accreditation of Prior Experience Learning
  • Open lectures/creative spaces
  • Resources/toolkits for sessions on website
  • Social Good
  • Beneficial and Productive  University Contacts
  • Good Publicity

Next Steps

Contact EdLab via email or social media: