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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


The sweet smell of success: how can we help educators develop a ‘nose’ for evidence they can use in the classroom?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 8 February 2018

Mutlu Cukurova and Rose Luckin
A good nose for what constitutes solid evidence: it’s something a scientist is lost without. This finely tuned ‘nose’ is not innate, it is the result of years of practice and learning. This practice and learning through constantly questioning and seeking evidence for decisions and beliefs is something that we academics apply equally to our teaching as to our research. However, recent headlines cast doubt on the belief that other practitioners are able to make good use of research. An article on the TES website argues that “Teacher involvement in research has no impact on pupils’ outcomes”. Can this really be true? If so, what can we do to ensure that the billions of pounds spent on educational research are made accessible to, and used by, our educators?
The realisation that this evidence-informed ‘nose’ is not necessarily shared by many of those involved in education, and in particular those involved in the design and use of technology for education, has also became starkly apparent to us through our development of a training course to help entrepreneurs and educators to understand research evidence. This enterprise is part of the EDUCATE project at the UCL Knowledge Lab.
One of our aims is (more…)

Slow down you move too fast, you got to make the meaning (sic) last

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 4 January 2018

‘Slow’ human intelligence must be valued more holistically if we are to really benefit from the power of AI, says Rose Luckin. 
The end of 2017 brought some worrying observations about the progress of Artificial Intelligence with respect to UK Education. It illustrated that many people are far too willing to equate speed and reduced cost with success. We are in danger of missing what really matters in education; in danger of missing the meaning of what education should about. This is dangerous for education and for the progress of learners and educators of all ages.
First came the publication of the first report from the Data Science Behavioural Insights Team (BIT); this stressed the value of speed. Second came the 19th evidence session of the House of Lords select committee on AI, which focused on AI and education.[1] This revealed the potential for machine learning AI to reduce the cost of delivering the current school curriculum, and at the same time reduce the value of human intelligence.
The BIT report marks the first anniversary of the data science team and is the demonstration of its raison d’être and the value of data science for policy. In the report, (more…)

Collaborative problem-solving and why it matters for learning

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 21 November 2017

Rose Luckin. 
The results of the 2015 PISA collaborative problem solving assessments are published in Paris this morning.[1] I was delighted to read 
In Andreas Schleicher’s editorial, his confirmation that solving problems with others (collaborative problem-solving) is a key skill for the workplace, and its importance is only likely to grow as further automation takes place.  He urged educational systems to do better in helping their students to develop these skills.
The necessity to attend to the future needs of our students, including their ability to solve problems collaboratively, was also prevalent in discussions at a recent symposium for educators in Sydney about education in a changing world. The PISA report published today, whilst giving cause to celebrate the excellent performance from many students across the world, also gives cause for concern about the lack of high-level collaborative problem-solving skills amongst students from all countries, including those who performed the best. This is something that all societies need to address with some urgency.
Bearing in mind that the OECD assessment (more…)

Students need support in order to build skills for the future

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 28 June 2017

Mutlu Cukurova and Rose Luckin. 
There is a growing interest globally in teaching approaches that allow university students to work independently, often in group activities. However, our research suggests that leaving students to do their own investigations without any support is a practice that should be approached with caution if we want to promote effective learning in higher education.
These teaching approaches include Enquiry-Based Learning, Problem-Based Learning, Practice-based Learning, and Project-Based Learning. This focus, at least in part, stems from discussions about the impact of automation on the future of employment and the (more…)

Priorities for a new Government: advice from our academics part 3 – school leadership, ICT and educational psychologists

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 19 May 2017

The IOE blog has asked colleagues from across the Institute what’s at the top of their wish list. We are publishing their replies during the run-up to the election. 
School leaders and leadership   
The new Secretary of State faces a potentially combustible set of issues in England, especially if they are a Conservative charged with introducing more grammar schools. The new funding formula, piled onto the tight funding situation already facing many schools, will also occupy the headlines. Behind these issues sit some fundamental questions about where the system is heading – Local Authorities have been decimated since 2010, but the new model of Regional Schools Commissioners is far from established and less than half of schools are yet academies.
The emerging Multi-Academy Trusts are facing serious challenges, with limited evidence of impact overall and a continuing stream of bad news stories about the (more…)

Cyber attack: 7 tips to help you vanquish the Shadow Brokers

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 May 2017

Rose Luckin. 
Earlier this year I blogged about how our education system needs to be an important part of our defenses against a growing risk of cyber attack. I highlighted the fact that we all need to understand enough about computers and the internet to ensure that we don’t leave the virtual door open to our private property for anyone who wants to come along and misuse it. We can’t merely rely on our software to protect us from problems, because there is a small army of hackers who will always be trying to exploit any weaknesses in our software systems.
As a society we have a responsibility to provide people with the knowledge and understanding to protect themselves, and as individuals we must take responsibility for doing our bit to protect ourselves and our families, because no system will ever be completely bullet proof.
The ransomware behind the cyberattack that caused cancelled hospital operations, (more…)

Hey mum, the fridge has just let the burglars in

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 17 March 2017

Rose Luckin
I was stopped in my tracks as I was leaving the house the other morning when I heard Donald Toon, Director of Cyber Security at the National Crime Agency, talking to John Humphrys on the BBC Today programme. They were discussing the risks that arise when devices such as home freezers and fridges are linked to the Internet of Things and can be hacked to launch a cyber attack or to steal our personal information.
Mr Toon explained that hackers can use a range of tools and specialist software to harness the power of the Internet of Things. “Freezers you say!” exclaimed an incredulous Mr Humphrys. “Why would I want to connect my freezer to the internet?” Ah, well, explained Mr Toon to an increasingly agog interviewer, as long as an appliance, such as a fridge or freezer, is capable of being connected to the Internet, it can be hacked, even if the appliance is not actually currently connected to the Internet.
This is because hackers can still use software to trigger a connection and then connect to (more…)

What kind of learning do we need to make the most of the new technological revolution?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 10 March 2017

Rose Luckin
Learning is the key to success in the fourth industrial revolution and I was delighted to be asked to provide evidence to the Future of Work Commission at the House of Lords. It helped me to crystalize my thinking.
Learning is at the heart of the fundamental insight that motivated reformers and precipitated the creation of state-funded universal schooling in the Industrial Revolution. This insight was that when education fails to keep pace with technology, workers suffer, fall behind, and society starts to fragment. When learning and innovation progress in harmony then we all feel the benefits. Finland’s Minister of Education and Culture, for example, has said that she wanted her country to be “continuously learning” and developing “strong, transferable skills” in a society where people can “return to education when they need it.”
But what does this mean? In order to prosper the UK needs a workforce that can adapt to (more…)

Grammar schools: can Artificial Intelligence create a fairer way to assess children?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 16 September 2016

Rose Luckin.
Theresa May’s plans for new or expanded grammar schools in England have brought a torrent of comment, debate, criticism and rhetoric since these plans were inadvertently revealed last week. Most of the discussions seem to have focused on whether or not grammar schools are the right mechanism to aid social mobility. This is an extremely important issue, but let’s put the rights and wrongs of selection and grammar schools to one side for a moment and look at the eleven-plus examination itself.
The eleven-plus is the key to the door of one of the 164 grammar schools in England, or one of the 69 grammar schools in Northern Ireland. The exam is sat by children in their last year of primary school and it varies depending upon where in the country it is taken. In fact, the situation is very complicated, with a wide range of approaches even within the same county. For example, in Yorkshire there are three Local Authorities with grammar (more…)

How AI can eradicate exam stress forever

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 25 May 2016

Rose Luckin.
The recent leaking of SAT papers and the growing body of evidence on the stress and anxiety experienced by students who have to sit a battery of tests and exams highlight an area of serious concern. It is all particularly frustrating because it does not have to be like this.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) could wipe out all this pain and change schools forever: it could do away with the need for exams.
This is not to suggest that we should do away with assessment. It is essential that we know how students are progressing in their knowledge, understanding and skills, and how teaching practices and educational systems are or are not successful. However, assessment does not have to mean tests and exams.
Artificial Intelligence is difficult to define because it is constantly shifting and interdisciplinary. However, in our new report Intelligence Unleashed we identify a (more…)