Children and young people are not being adequately prepared for the world of work, because of a lack of creativity, entrepreneurship and innovative teaching in the curriculum, MPs have heard.

Professor Rose Luckin, director of the EDUCATE programme and professor of learner centred design at UCL Knowledge Lab, told the Commons Education Select Committee that inter-disciplinary teaching in schools would address some of the challenges in getting young people ready for a world of work in which machines were threatening their jobs.

She said that while it was impossible to foresee the workplace of the future, there were ways of mitigating the impact of AI which many feared would impact on jobs.

“We need to get industry, academia and education working together, which is what we do on the EDUCATE project, and to tie young people into work experiences with industries in their local area,” Professor Luckin said.

“We cannot predict future of jobs accurately, but we are likely to underestimate entrepreneurship of young people. They will start to develop new businesses that we cannot predict, particularly if we give them the right foundations at school to be entrepreneurial, creative and innovative.

“We need to move to inter-disciplinary academic education because problems are solved by people working together and not just within subject boundaries.” She said skills such as good social interaction and knowledge were crucial, but people needed to   question where knowledge came from and the evidence around it, especially in this time of fake news.

This also meant developing people’s meta-cognitive and self-regulation skills.  “We need to use AI and human intelligence together to provide a rich social interaction that prepares young people for the world of work, because we are not doing that at the moment.”

Professor Luckin, who was questioned by MPs together with Brian Holliday, Managing Director at Siemens Digital Factory, and Joysy John, Director of Education at Nesta, said she did not believe the role of teachers was under threat from machine learning, but the extent to which jobs were at risk “depends how we use AI to match with our human intelligence” and this was something teachers needed to learn.

“AI can help teachers to develop scientific knowledge,” she said. “One of the core skills they will need is understanding of data and evidence as that is what machine-learning and AI feeds on. Educators need to know how to use that data, analysis and evidence to provide those wonderful human interactions to make sure children and adults get the best education.”

Professor Luckin suggested that one way to protect jobs in the future would be to examine the expertise, talents and skill sets of individuals, to find out what other contribution they could make to the workplace other than the job they were employed to do.

She mentioned Freeformers, an EDUCATE cohort, which works with companies to identify individual skills and talents of employees. This helped people to be more positive about their roles, gave a value to what they do and a more positive mindset, she said.

CENTURY Tech news

CENTURY Tech, which was one of the first cohort members on the EDUCATE’ programme, was one of 30 winning submissions – and the only on from the UK – in Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

More than 1,150 applicants from 11 countries took part in the event, presenting live pitches aimed at solving some of the world’s leading challenges to a panel of high-powered judges. This year, applicants were asked to solve one of the following global problems: coastal communities; frontlines of health; teachers and educators; and work of the future.

The finals were held in New York City on September 23, as a prelude to UN General Assembly week.

CENTURY, which was among only eight education companies to feature in the final line-up, is a learning platform that aims to reduce teacher workload while improving learner outcomes, with the use of data analytics and cognitive neuroscience.

Priya said: “During the two-day event, MIT Solve helped CENTURY Tech to meet new partners to collaborate with, from Ministers of Education wishing to deploy advanced technology in their schools, to investors and channel partners in harder to reach communities. We look forward to working with MIT Solve to establish more relationships in the sector and be an active member of the community. “

Solve’s Executive Director, Alex Amouyel, said: “Solve Challenge Finals is a unique opportunity to showcase the most promising tech-based solutions to global challenges.

“We had incredible diversity of solutions—non-profits, for-profits, academic projects, all ages, and over 110 countries were represented. The judges had the difficult task of choosing the most promising ones.”

As a Solver, CENTURY will have the opportunity to meet and build partnerships with other entrepreneurs to help accelerate their solutions. More than $650,000 of funding is available for selected Solver teams to advance their work.

Call for ambassadors and business mentors

Cooperation and mutual support are part and parcel of being part of the EDUCATE community. Together, we strive to give EdTech entrepreneurs and start-ups the best possible advice and guidance as they design and develop their products and services.

As EDUCATE’s profile grows within the education and technology communities, we find ourselves increasingly being asked to participate in events and activities representing the sector, and to highlight our own work.

But we need your help.

If you have been through the EDUCATE programme, please consider being an ambassador. This might involve attending conferences, exhibitions and shows where you can promote your company while being a cohort representative, or just mentioning us in an address or presentation you make to a relevant audience.

Perhaps you have experience of business and industry and could spare the time to mentor our cohorts as they progress through the programme. You will need to have business experience and expertise, be able to advise and support your cohort member, review their business strategy and help them to grow their network of contacts.

The role involves a modest time requirement of an average of two hours per calendar month, and you should be able to commit four hours per beneficiary during a three-month cohort cycle. It is anticipated that the business mentor would provide 2-4 instances of contact support and engagement, depending on the needs of the company.

If you would like further information about either or both roles, or are willing and able to get involved, please contact us.

Getting to know….Zara Ransley, co-founder and COO of MyPocketSkill

MyPocketSkill is technology platform and a youth policy and evidence consultancy business. Its aim is to connect young people, aged 13-19 with paid and voluntary opportunities that use their skills and enable them to earn pocket money. MyPocketSkill were part of cohort 3 on the EDUCATE programme and recipients of a ‘Evidence-Aware’ EdWards, presented at the London Festival of Learning, in June 2018.

What gets you up in the morning?
I have no curtains in my bedroom so generally it is the sunrise. Getting things out of the way early in the morning really works for me and that includes a bit of exercise, cup of green tea, emails and getting kids sorted.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I love what I do so work is integrated into day to day. Otherwise, I exercise & read and listen to Classic FM.

Wimbledon or Wembley?

No-one told you it was a formal event and you turn up in jeans. What do you do?
Pretend like I planned it.

With hindsight, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? 
Do what you love doing, if you don’t love it, stop straight away (which is what I very much do).

Where will you be in 10 years’ time?
Oh, my goodness, somewhere nice and warm and not too far away from my kids and Matthew (my cofounder) (because we will still be doing MyPocketSkill!).

EDUCATE 2018 Investor Summit & Demo Day

Join us on 26 November 2018 for the first EDUCATE Investor Summit & Demo Day, an event to conclude and celebrate the accomplishments of 10 selected EdTech startups from the EDUCATE program.

Please arrive by 2.00pm for registration , security clearance and a networking drinks reception.

The EDUCATE Investor Summit and Demo Day is the premier event for EdTech investors, philanthropists, and senior strategic partners. The event provides an opportunity to discuss global trends that are shaping the future of learning and education, discover new investment opportunities and create partnerships. Facilitated by leading experts in the education industry, the event will see selected EdTech startups from EDUCATE who are ready to scale pitching and demonstrating their products through a rapid-fire 5-minute presentation with three minutes of Q&A.

Who should attend?

This invitation is to thought leaders, publishing executives, leading angel, venture capital, and impact investors looking to discuss new opportunities emerging throughout the learning and education industry.

What’s in it for investors?

Investors attending the event will benefit from early access to promising startups and find new investment opportunities from entrepreneurs who have developed, evaluated and improved their products and services with the use of research evidence on the EDUCATE programme. Plus, you’ll get to connect with other seasoned investors, startup founders and corporate acquisition teams.

What’s in it for corporates?

Meet the innovative teams disrupting the EdTech industry, learn about the breakthrough solutions out there and scout for new partnerships.

The demonstrations will be followed by drinks and networking.

Book your place on eventbrite.

Event: How I raised £1m for my EdTech Startup

We know raising investment in the EdTech space can be tough as an entrepreneur. Join us at this special event on Wed 3 October 2018 and learn from the EDUCATE community. You’ll hear from two experienced and successful entrepreneurs that have each raised over £1m for their EdTech businesses, as they share how they did it, their top tips for successfully raising investment, followed by a Q&A session. You will also have the opportunity to network with many more like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors from the EDUCATE ecosystem.

This event is proudly sponsored by BESA – British Educational Suppliers Association.


Nelson Sivalingham, HowNow

Nelson started London-based EdTech startup HowNow with a vision to change the way the world learns by enabling anyone with expertise to teach and by empowering people to learn from each other. The company’s online platform gives everyone the opportunity to learn from experts all over the world and they now have more than 400 experts teaching in 33 countries.

In April 2017, the company successfully raised £1.2m in funding from a number of private investors and Fuel Ventures, helping the company to expand its marketplace of experts and develop products for teachers and learners.

Jack Pottle, Oxford Medical Simulation

Oxford Medical Simulation are a leading virtual reality medical simulation company – providing VR scenarios for doctors and nurses worldwide. These scenarios provide a completely safe, controlled-stress learning environment for all healthcare professionals, helping to remove the barriers to training faced by so many medical professionals.

Talks will be followed by drinks and networking

Book your place on eventbrite

Finding (and understanding) related existing research for an EdTech.

Dr Alison Clark-Wilson

Everyone loves the phrase ‘evidence-informed’ EdTech – politicians, school leaders, EdTech founders, learners, investors etc. – but if we unpick this phrase, we’re left asking ‘what is the nature of the evidence?’ and ‘who (or what) is it informing?’

Alongside this, the wide range of research evidence that might relate to an EdTech makes it a particularly complex space to navigate. For example, a language learning online communications platform for primary-age children would demand a very different evidence base to that offering a virtual reality learning environment for trainee doctors.

Put simply, there will be two forms of research evidence that might be useful.

The first form is the research that relates to the content domain of the EdTech, such as early second language acquisition, medicine, citizenship, etc.  Very often the language of academic research is more nuanced than everyday language and so a database of academic keywords, such as the internationally recognised ERIC database, can be a useful place to start.

Beyond the content domain, it might be useful to think about the type of EdTech, the technical aspects of its design and the nature of a user’s activities. Thinking about these aspects will also reveal keywords that might be useful later.

Armed with a set of relevant keywords, you are ready to begin your search.

Nearly everyone starts with Google – which really is the modern-day equivalent of looking for a needle in a haystack! A Google Scholar search, which limits the search to academic and publishers’ websites, is a better starting point.

Depending on the intended learners for your EdTech, there are some websites that offer search tools for a particular education sector.

The US-based Digital Promise Research Map is a good starting point for school-facing EdTech, whereas Open Knowledge Maps is better for post-school or vocational EdTech.

Either way, you should find some useful background research. If you hit any publishers’ paywalls, try searching for the authors on ResearchGate (the academics’ social network) or through their affiliation – and don’t be afraid to contact them directly. Most authors retain the rights to the ‘pre-print copy’ of their research paper and are more than happy to send it to you if you ask.

The second form of research evidence is that which is founded on data from your own product or service. Designing and conducting EdTech research does take some thought and significant time – as all of the companies on the EDUCATE programme have found out – but there will be no better evidence than that of a robust study, whether it is a small case study with a few early adopters, or a large-scale experimental study of a stable product involving thousands of participants.

MyTutor Commended by Think Tank Reform

Image of online tutoring sesson

With the vision to transform the way people connect with the best tutors, MyTutor was founded in 2013. Today, they are the leading online tutoring provider used by over 10,000 students across the UK and beyond. MyTutor were part of the first cohort of participants on the EDUCATE programme.


The work of EDUCATE participants, My Tutor, has been commended in a key report into the use EdTech to support the learning of disadvantaged children, and how it can bridge the gap in achievement between pupils from different backgrounds.

The study, Beyond Gadgets: EdTech to help close the opportunity gap, from the independent think-tank, Reform, examines the need within the English education system to address inequality of opportunity for groups of the population.

MyTutor features as an example of how technology can provide opportunities by offering one-to-one on-line tutoring at a cost that is accessible to families. The company’s own research, conducted as part of the EDUCATE programme, indicated that students receiving online tuition for more than one term make three times greater progress than those who receive none.

James Burton, Head of Data at MyTutor, said: “The Impact Report enabled us to provide robust evidence for how innovative and scalable solutions such as MyTutor can deliver transformational outcomes at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.
“It is the first of what we hope to be many opportunities to help shape the sector through applied evidence.”


Visit the MyTutor website to find out more. 

EDUCATE welcomes Cohort 6 participants to the programme

EDUCATE today (August 20) welcomes 36 entrepreneurs, start-ups and SME on to its unique EdTech programme.

The new entrants are the sixth cohort of innovators to be admitted since the EDUCATE programme was launched in Spring, 2017. The 36 members of the cohort offer a wide range of educational products and services, ranging from monitoring early childhood cognition and adult learning, to career education and enhancing mental health and well-being.

Professor Rose Luckin, Director of EDUCATE, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Cohort 6 to the EDUCATE programme. Since our launch last year, we have seen more than 100 entrepreneurs, SMEs and start-ups commence, and successfully complete, the programme, many of whom have been recognised with our own mark, the EdWard, having satisfied a range of criteria.

“Furthermore, several of our previous participants have gone on to be pioneers in the EdTech sector, attracting investment and ensuring the UK remains a world leader in this field.

“There is no reason why the incoming cohort should not be equally successful, as they bring with them a wealth of ideas and concepts to enhance teaching and learning, and personal development.”

Professor Luckin said the importance of the EDUCATE programme was highlighted recently in Ministerial announcements about a proposed “EdTech revolution” in UK schools.

“Our work on the programme in helping to bring through EdTech innovators and entrepreneurs assumed a renewed importance two weeks ago, when Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, unveiled his vision of how EdTech sector could improve teaching and learning and cut teacher workload,” she said.

“His input is welcome and timely, as the teaching profession and educationalists look increasingly to how technology can support the teaching and learning of future generations.

“The EDUCATE programme intends to be at the forefront of that important work, and we look forward to sharing our insights, experience and expertise.”

EDUCATE Director, Professor Rose Luckin, discusses AI and effects on learning and testing, in World Economic Forum article

Professor Rose Luckin discusses how AI can help redefine how pupils learn, and what intelligences they will need to succeed and thrive in the workplace of the future, in this article on the website of the World Economic Forum, the international organisation for public-private cooperation.

She explains how educators, and society in general, must radically redefine intelligence, and how AI can be used to help teachers develop and measure human intelligence in its various forms, so that students are better prepared for the workplace of the future – a workplace that will require them to be more adaptable and willing to learn throughout their lives.

Professor Luckin believes that we currently test what can be easily measured, but AI could be used to assess aptitude and ability in other important skills beyond intelligence, such as collaboration, persistence, confidence and motivation.

AI would also enable students to be assessed as they learn – rather than with one-time, end-of-course assessments – using technology and hand-held devices. This would provide teachers with a more accurate picture of students’ strengths and weaknesses, so that learning can be adapted readily to meet their needs.

Professor Luckin argues that AI is already a viable option to replace some tests, and that changing what we measure would alter what we value in our education systems.

“If we can accept that we need to change the assessment system,” she says, “then it opens the door to that radical rethink about what the education system is for.”