Let’s open up the silos in the sky and supercharge AI to enhance education

Rose Luckin.

Sunday 15th October saw the publication of Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK, the report of the independent review announced as part of the UK Digital Strategy in March. It also builds on the recognition in the Industrial Strategy Green Paper published in January that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a major, high-potential opportunity for the UK to build a word-leading future sector of our economy. The two chairs of the review Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and Jérôme Pesenti, Chief Executive of BenevolentTech, have done a great job in raising the profile of UK AI and highlighting the tremendous opportunities and the significant challenges we face. They urge the government to help the UK become the clear world leader in the development of AI – “to boost productivity, advance health care, improve services for customers and unlock £630bn for the UK economy.” Read more ›

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Posted in ICT in education, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Helping the Education Secretary reach her full potential

John White. 

A central aim of Education Secretary Justine Greening is ‘enabling children to reach their full potential’  . The idea comes into many of her speeches. It appeared in the DfE’s response to the head of OFSTED Amanda Spielman’s complaint on October 11 that the focus on SATs and GCSEs is at the expense of ‘rich and full knowledge’. The response states that ‘Our reforms are ensuring children are taught the knowledge and skills they need to fulfil their potential’.

It’s the kind of phrase that tends to wash over you. It seems no more than a way of saying ‘we want them to do well’ – a politician’s empty comment. But there’s more to it. Ironically for the present government, it was part of the lexicon of the child-centred theorists dominant in teacher training until the 1960s. The London Day Training College, later the Institute of Education, under Percy Nunn and his associates was their main base.

The watchword was ‘development’ and the model was biological. Just as plants grow to Read more ›

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Posted in Childhood & early education, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

How unions secure better work-life balance for employees

Alex Bryson and John Forth. 

New research we have conducted for the TUC finds Britain’s trade unions play a vital role in securing a work-life balance for employees.

According to the most authoritative workplace survey in Britain, three-quarters of workplace managers agree or strongly agree that “it is up to individual employees to balance work and family responsibilities” (Bryson and Forth, 2017a). The percentage agreeing has risen since the early 2000s (Van Wanrooy et al., 2013), even though more regulations aimed at improving work-life balance – such as a right to request flexible working – have come into force. So it is, perhaps, no wonder that British workers look on in envy at the rights to extended paid leave and other statutory supports to work-life Read more ›

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Posted in Employment and skills, Social sciences and social policy

How can digital library systems help teachers support children’s reading for pleasure?

Natalia Kucirkova & Teresa Cremin. 

Children need to be able to read well to function in society and their engagement as readers needs nurturing from birth. Digital library systems offer enormous opportunities to tap into children’s interests and enhance teachers’ skills as literacy mentors.

They can help teachers and children find relevant content, archive readers’ responses to individual books and share them with others on a large scale. These systems can support reading for pleasure, acting as free book depositories (e.g., International Children’s Digital Library), providing tailored recommendations for new titles on a regular basis (e.g., Epic!) and offering children multimedia story experiences as in a virtual library (e.g., StoryPlace). Teachers’ resistance or openness to the sustained use of such technologies dictates their potential to make a difference to children’s learning.

In our new paper in the Cambridge Journal of Education we explore Read more ›

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Posted in ICT in education, Language and literacy, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Tory conference: much more radical solutions needed to tackle housing crisis

Andy Green

Theresa May pledged at her opening conference speech on Monday that Government would invest a further £10 bn by 2021 in the Help to Buy scheme which allows people to purchase homes with five percent deposits supported by twenty percent equity loans from the state. The Government claims this will help an additional 135 000 to buy homes by 2021.

Some young people currently unable to afford deposits will no doubt be assisted by this new investment. Around 130,000 have already bought through the scheme since 2013, and the Government claims 80 percent of these are first-time buyers.

However the major beneficiaries of the initiative will be existing home owners – who will Read more ›

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Posted in Social sciences and social policy, young people
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.

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