Finalist category: Connected Society Award
Connected Society Award, Finalist, 2019
Half a billion children lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, while 80% of teachers are considering leaving the profession due to unbearable workloads – an unsustainable situation. For decades AI has been improving sectors across the world, while education has remained largely untouched. But now schools are embracing the power of AI through CENTURY, transforming the way students learn across the world.
CENTURY is the AI teaching and learning platform for schools, colleges and universities. It uses AI, neuroscience and learning science to provide an education that dynamically adapts to each individual’s needs, while empowering teachers to become better educators. The platform learns how each student learns, adapts to their strengths and weaknesses and constantly adjusts to provide the support or challenge they require. It automates routine tasks such as marking and planning, saving hours of time and freeing teachers to focus on what matters most: teaching.
CENTURY is built by teachers, for teachers. Alongside experts in technology, neuroscience and pedagogy, CENTURY’s development is led by a core team of former teachers, who use their insights as educators to consistently ensure that the platform is in line with what our users want and need. They constantly ask for and implement feedback for new features from users, and have systems in place to ensure they prioritise the features that the largest numbers of users request.
CENTURY improves outcomes. A study with UCL of 11,000 pupils showed that using the platform improved a student’s knowledge of a topic by an average of 30%. It also showed that CENTURY can more effectively close the attainment gap between lower- and higher-achieving students. CENTURY also slashes teacher workload by automating admin tasks like marking and planning. Using the platform saves them on average six hours a week – freeing them to focus on teaching. They can also spend more time teaching the softer skills required by modern employers or take children on more field trips. The team believe that CENTURY empowers teachers, parents and students to improve education by providing them all with extensive data insights. Teachers are provided data on performance in real-time, allowing them to monitor progress and perform timely interventions to help students. Parents can view data on their child’s performance, encouraging home learning and becoming more involved in their child’s education.
While CENTURY launched in 2016, 2018-19 is proving to be its breakthrough year. CENTURY is rapidly spreading across the globe and the team recently agreed the first ever roll-out of artificial intelligence across an entire school system. From this September, 700 schools across Flanders in Belgium will deploy CENTURY, a landmark move for the use of AI in education. They expect to announce more partnerships of a similar nature shortly.
The team are now being approached by governments to deliver system-wide solutions. CENTURY intends to help more children in disadvantaged communities across the world. Last year they were invited by the Lebanese government to implement the AI platform in three schools with large numbers of Syrian refugees, who faced challenges including joining mid-year, inadequate support structures at home and being unable to properly focus on studying. The pilot was extremely successful, with pupils answering on average more than 400 questions each – putting one school in the top 10% of all schools globally. These results produced show how CENTURY can be deployed to help children from even the most difficult backgrounds to succeed in school.