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

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 October 2017

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 (more…)

The experts who put storytelling, language and better paid teachers at the heart of early education

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 September 2017

File 20170904 17933 uzdoa9
Thinking ahead.
Shutterstock

Natalia Kucirkova 
There are a lot of things to remember at the start of a new school term. Uniforms, sports kit, stationery equipment, activity clubs … Often forgotten are the names of the people behind the learning which actually goes on once pupils arrive in the classroom. Not the teachers who do the teaching – but the academics who worked out how children learn.
Jerome Bruner, Catherine Snow and Kathy Sylva are not familiar names you might recognise from TV panel shows. But their original ideas have become widespread and deeply rooted in early education systems worldwide. My own collaboration with Sylva and Snow taught me the importance of patient, humble and systematic research.
Bruner, who died last year at the age of 100, was a professor at Harvard and then (more…)

Call for regulation on securing children’s data in personalised reading

Blog Editor, IOE Digital17 May 2017

While children’s reading experience is being transformed with digital reading formats, personalised and interactive books allowing for more personalisation, there are risks around the data this releases. Natalia Kucirkova and Rosie Flewitt identify four main areas of concern and call for regulation. Natalia is Senior Research Associate, and Rosie is Reader in Early Communication and Learning, both at University College London, Institute of Education. This post is republished from the LSE blog.

Digital reading formats mean a child’s reading experience can be ‘personalised’ at many levels. Their name can be added into a popular fairy tale, or they can even add their own drawings to a story, make their own voice-overs or replace the main characters’ names with their own (e.g. Mr Glue Stories). Personalised books are now available as interactive digital books downloadable on touchscreens (e.g. Put Me In The Story®) as well as classic printed books (e.g. Lost My Name). This can make reading more enjoyable for young children, and the personalised data that is generated can be used to create adaptive algorithms to match texts to each child’s reading level, language scores or genre preferences (see the iRead project).

Key concerns

On 16 March 2017 we hosted a meeting with some of the UK’s key players in the children’s app and print publishing industry, international researchers and representatives from Book Trust and National Literacy Trust… Read the full post here

[Header image credit: B. Flickinger, CC BY 2.0_08] Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Bridging the story and children's unique worlds: researching digital personalised books

Blog Editor, IOE Digital25 April 2017

Natalia Kucirkova
Personalisation is a buzzword in the business world, especially now that adverts can follow us all over the Internet. But personalisation – or ‘personalised learning’ – has also been a recurring trend in education, with the aim of providing a more tailored education for every child.
With the advent of customisable hardware and algorithmic recommendation systems, differentiated and individualised learning have taken on new dimensions in the form of digital personalised learning.
Research needs to identify the pros and cons of digital personalised learning, but so far, there are two sides to the story. On one hand, technology supports individualised learning that can be motivational for students and encourage their own contributions and (more…)