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UK: Festival of Learning convenes experts

Hundreds of experts in education and technology from the UK and overseas descended on UCL’s Institute of Education for the London Festival of Learning at the end of June.

The UCL Institute of Education. Photo: IoE Intoffice/Pixabay

For the first time, three major academic conferences have been brought under one roof

For the first time, three major academic conferences were brought under one roof, offering a unique opportunity to share research, practices and to develop networks of academics working in edtech.

“By linking academic research with product innovation, we are most likely to…extend the reach of great teaching to more children”

Comprised of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Learning at Scale and AIED, the festival attracted some 1,200 delegates and academics from around the world, presenting more than 500 research publications.

The festival was hosted by the pioneering EDUCATE program which supports SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs seeking to design and develop their own evidence-based EdTech.

Professor of Learner Centred Design at the UCL Knowledge Lab and the director of EDUCATE Rose Luckin said the event was important for maintaining dialogue with policy-makers about the future direction of edtech.

“The festival brings together some of the brightest and most influential brains in artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies to present their work, to network and to share ideas,” she said.

“This collaboration and cooperation is absolutely crucial to the future success of technology development.”

As part of the festival, EDUCATE held a three-day showcase of its pioneering work with innovators and technologists.

The showcase included the inaugural ‘EdWards’ ceremony, recognising the achievements of the cohorts that have completed the EDUCATE program successfully, and a practitioner track during which school teachers had a chance to discuss the latest innovations in EdTech and to input ideas into its future development.

The ‘EdWards’ were presented by David Puttnam, the award-winning film producer and Jim Knight, the former Schools minister.

“The significant impact of artificial intelligence and technology is already evident in education and in the industry more widely,” Puttnam said.

“The ‘EdWards’ is a fitting celebration of the some of the best entrepreneurship in EdTech currently taking place in the UK and I am delighted to play a part in the recognition of such innovation.”

Knight added: “For years I’ve been an advocate of the potential of technology to enhance teaching and learning. By linking academic research with product innovation, we are most likely to realise the potential and extend the reach of great teaching to more children.”

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