Learning by Questions (LbQ) recognised as Innovator of the Year, at the Bett awards

Blackburn based ‘Learning by Questions’ (LbQ) founded by the original Promethean interactive whiteboard leader, Tony Cann, was presented with the Innovator of the Year award at the annual Bett Awards. Coinciding with Bett, the world’s leading event for learning technology, the awards are considered the highest accolade in the industry.
LbQ was shortlisted in four categories: Innovator of the Year, Classroom Aids for Learning Teaching and Assessment, Collaboration with a School, and the Impact Award with Masefield Primary School.

The Bett Awards play a key role in identifying and rewarding excellence in education trade. The winning organisations were announced at the Bett Awards dinner in London on Wednesday 23 January.

LbQ is the brainchild of Tony Cann, having developed an increasing appreciation of the lack of time teachers have to teach. The resource is designed to present questions to the students, and then offer immediate feedback in terms of hints and advice for questions answered incorrectly. Those students answering question correctly, are presented with questions at a slightly higher level. Whilst their pupils are engaged in learning, the teacher is sent the performance data of everyone in their class, so they can go where they are most needed or revisit more challenging concepts.

Tony Cann said, “As I step into my 80th year I have possibly spent more years immersed in learning technology than most. It is such a pleasure to see classes of children completely engrossed in our questions while teachers have time to do that they do best: teach. LbQ not only enables them to do this but it also provides them with instant information on those students in need of their support.”

“It is heartening for me to see that the esteemed judging panel of educationalists recognise the power of LbQ.”

For more information, please visit www.bettawards.com and www.lbq.org.

Assembly to become part of Groupcall

 

Today it was announced that Assembly, a venture working to transform the way schools use data, is becoming part of Groupcall.

Assembly, a joint venture between Ark and the NEON Foundation, has been incubated by Ark since it was founded in 2015. By transferring to Groupcall, Assembly has found a widely-respected partner who will support the organisation as it continues to grow.

Assembly has two core services: the Assembly Platform, which integrates school management information systems and other education software; and Assembly Analytics, which offers data analysis software to Multi Academy Trusts (MATs).

Groupcall is a leading provider of data, identity management and communications solutions for schools. It is the UK market leader in parental communication, data integration and analytics services for schools.

The two organisations therefore have complementary businesses, and both will gain knowledge and expertise from the deal.

Prior to joining Groupcall, Assembly had been incubated within Ark Ventures, a home for great ideas that have the potential to improve the lives of children. Ark Ventures is part of Ark, an education charity that also runs a network of 38 high-performing schools in London, Portsmouth, Birmingham and Hastings.

Joshua Perry, Director of Assembly said:
“Assembly’s mission is to improve outcomes in schools through better use of data. We have made huge progress and are now working with thousands of schools across the country. By becoming part of the Groupcall family we can draw on their technology, knowhow, and network of over 20,000 schools.
Groupcall share our values and have committed to continue our mission to create a modern data ecosystem, and to share good practice and thought leadership in the effective use of data.”
Richard Grazier, President and Chief Operating Officer of Groupcall, said:
“Assembly is a hugely respected organisation and are bringing two proven sets of technology to the Groupcall family. Both their school integration platform and Assembly Analytics are rooted in a keen understanding of the needs and demands of schools and help reinforce Groupcall’s market leadership in each area.
We are very much looking forward to working with the Assembly team, their edtech partners and customers to bring together the wide range of knowledge both companies possess to help drive our products forward and better meet the needs of current and future customers alike.”

The transaction creates a long-term strategic partnership between Ark and Groupcall which will further support the charitable missions of Ark and Ark Schools in future years.

Michael Clark, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Ark said:
“By joining Groupcall, Assembly will be part of an organisation with the resources and expertise to continue to support and expand on its mission. We are really pleased that, as part of this transfer, Ark’s 38 schools will gain access to a full suite of Groupcall’s products to support our strategic technology plan. This will make a real difference to our schools.
The transfer of Assembly is an example of Ark’s success in incubating and scaling ventures that create systemic change in education.”

Groupcall has announced that they will maintain the Assembly brand, and the full Assembly team will transfer to Groupcall through a TUPE process.

DMU AND ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND LAUNCH TALENT25

DMU AND ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND LAUNCH TALENT25

• Project will follow 100 children a year born in Leicester over their lifetimes to measure impact of regular creative activities

• Communities across city to develop first-of-its-kind study along with city’s creative sectors

Researchers are to follow children born in Leicester over the first 25 years of their lives, seeing just what happens when they are given regular opportunities to get involved in creative activities.
The ground-breaking project, Talent25, is being launched on Friday, 25 January at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
Talent25 aims to provide, for the first time, academic evidence of the impact that sustained arts experiences – listening to and learning music, cinema, theatre, children’s festivals, visiting libraries and museums and reading books– has from birth to adulthood.
The first phase of Talent 25, from 2019-21 will focus on work with 0-4 year olds and their families to achieve a true picture of the type of engagement which is likely to have an impact on future, sustained cultural engagement.
The first 100 babies and their families will be recruited from areas across the city of Leicester and a core principle of the programme is that children, their parents and families should themselves be involved in putting together the kinds of activities and opportunities that will be available to children.
Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley and DMU Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard will launch the project at a showcase of some of Leicester’s best young creative talent.
Professor Shellard said: “I firmly believe that the creative urge is in all of us from birth; but this has to be cultivated and we as adults, parents, carers, educators and policymakers each have a duty to play our role to ensure that young people have equality of opportunity to be involved in artistic and cultural activities such as art, music and dance.
“I believe Talent25 will be a game-changer. It will tell us much about opportunity and access, about the value we place on the arts and the difference which living a creative life can make. Crucially, it will in time give us the information, data and insight needed to allow all of our children and young people to enjoy the benefits of a full cultural life.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive Arts Council England said: “Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not. Every child has the capacity to be creative and opportunities to realise this potential should be equally available. We hope that Talent25 will help us to better understand what might make a difference to young people’s talent development and cultural engagement.
“Our long-term ambition is that the lessons we learn as the programme evolves will support the cultural sector to develop its work with early years and that whilst we launch with excellent partners in Leicester, that the impact will be felt nationally.”
Michael Ellis MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism said “Access to the arts can change how we see ourselves and the world, and engaging people from childhood is of huge importance.
“We are committed to opening up access to culture and creativity for all, regardless of background. I am pleased that, through Talent25, we will now have access to research that shows the true value and impact of the arts and culture on our lives.”
Researchers will aim to find out which activities get the most engagement from early years children and their families in Leicester, and design a programme that can be scaled up and brought to cities across the UK.
The overarching aim is to initiate a long term- 25 year- programme which will result in young peoples’ sustained cultural engagement and offer varied opportunities to develop their individual talent.

Voices is back for 2019!

Coram Voice announces return of creative writing competition for children in care and young care leavers

Coram Voice is excited to announce the return of Voices, its annual writing competition for children in care and young care leavers across the country. The competition is open for entries until 10 February 2019.
Coram Voice, a charity that provides a range of services for children and young people in and around the care system, first launched the competition in 2016 as a platform for care-experienced young people to express their creative talents and to celebrate their voices.
The theme of this year’s competition, ‘Growing Up’, was chosen by young people who took part in the competition last year. Entries can be in any written form including poems, short stories, raps or newspaper articles, with a 500 word limit. There are four age categories: primary school, lower secondary school (age 11-14), upper secondary school (age 15-18) and care leavers (age 19-25).

Entries will be judged by a panel of high-profile authors, poets and presenters:
• Kit de Waal, the award-winning author of My Name is Leon which tells the story of a vulnerable young boy who is taken into care
• Jarvis, whose book Alan’s Big Scary Teeth was selected by the BookTrust to be distributed to children across the country
• Kiran Millwood-Hargrave, the Waterstones Children’s Book award-winner for 2017
• Mr Gee, the Sony Gold award-winning poet, comedian and presenter
• Ashley John-Baptiste, care leaver and ground-breaking BBC reporter, who was shortlisted for the Royal Television Society Young Talent Of The Year award in 2018
• Alice Broadway, best-selling Young Adult Fiction author of the Skinbooks Trilogy
• Jenny Molloy, care leaver and inspiring novelist, author of the Times bestseller, Hackney Child
• And Ric Flo, care leaver, innovative rap artist and creative director of the hip-hop collective Jungle Brown

Louise, who was a runner up in last year’s competition and met the Queen in December, said: “I entered Voices 2018 on a whim and I’m glad I did! Since entering, I was fortunate enough to read my entry for the Queen. This was a scary experience however getting to share my experience as a care leaver with the Queen was a privilege. I am passionate about making the voices of care experienced people heard and I am very thankful for this experience.”
Previous competition entrants said that participating had inspired them to write more, made them feel appreciated and valued for their talents and helped them to express their emotions about being in care.* One young writer said: “The competition is a safe opportunity to share your personal story – it’s a wonderful way to embrace your history and yourself”, while another added “to put what you feel on a piece of paper is quite therapeutic.”
Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice said, “We are delighted to launch our Voices competition for the fourth year running and can’t wait to see children and young people’s amazing entries.. We are continually inspired by the talent of the young people, their creativity is immense and we hope their stories improve understanding of their experiences.”

Entries can be submitted on the Coram Voice website until 10 February 2019.

Weduc Unveils Free Payment Options for Schools Stand D360, BETT, 23rd – 26th January 2019, Excel London

Accrosoft, parent company of Weduc, the smart education communications platform which features a social media-style interface and targeted Newsfeed, will showcase its new free payment options for schools as well as its new absence manager feature at the 2019 BETT education show.
Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software, sister company to Weduc, is also unveiling new video interviewing technology on the stand, and Accrosoft will launch UK School Jobs, a new recruitment service for educational establishments.
Weduc now comes with a fully integrated and secure, cashless solution, at no additional cost. Weduc payments software makes it easy and convenient for schools and colleges to:-
• Integrate with cashless catering services
• Permit parents to pay for school trips and clubs, uniforms and much else electronically, without any additional registration or payment login.
• Communicate payment reminders
In addition, Weduc’s new absence management feature, also being demonstrated on the stand, allows schools to streamline first-day absence reporting and enables parents to submit child absences via the app. It also:-

• Allows parents to report absences with evidential attachments such as medical letters
• Enables schools to write back to SIMS all communications and attachments whilst simultaneously changing register codes in real time
• Allows schools to manage planned absences with leave absence request forms
Launched at BETT in 2017, Weduc is now widely used in schools of all types across the UK and overseas, including the Lady Jane Grey School and the Loughborough Endowed Schools in Leicestershire, to make communication within educational establishments and engagement with parents even easier and more effective. Both schools will be represented on the Accrosoft stand.
Vacancy Filler, another Accrosoft subsidiary, which helps educational establishments recruit teaching and other staff quickly and easily, will unveil l its new video interviewing technology. Fully integrated into the Vacancy Filler recruitment software platform, the technology – included at no additional cost – offers those recruiting for schools and colleges as well as candidates a real alternative to more traditional phone screening and/or first round face-to-face interviewing. Schools using the software include Central College Nottingham, Newcastle-under-Lyme College, and the Torch Academy.
Finally, Accrosoft will demonstrate its new service – UK School Jobs – at the show, which allows teaching staff to easily search education vacancies nationwide, and find out more about their locations before deciding to apply.
Weduc
Weduc’s interactive education communication software combines all aspects of school communication in an easy-to-use platform, at the same time bringing parents closer to the learning journey. It enables effortless liaison via e-mail, sms, private social media and a mobile app, enhancing communication and engagement between parents and teachers to a level that no other education product has done before. It facilitates targeted communication and makes seamless, two-way parental engagement possible for any educational establishment.

Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software is one of the leading suppliers of state-of-the-art cloud-based online recruitment software which enables recruiters, HR teams, front-line managers and senior managers to implement a consistent and reliable organisation-wide recruitment process to save time and money.
Vacancy Filler is unique in that it provides comprehensive, flexible, integrated, sophisticated and easy-to-use recruitment and on-boarding software which streamlines the recruitment process for both candidate and recruiter. It helps improve quality of hire and employee on-boarding, while offering a low cost of ownership and measurable return on investment.
UK School Jobs
UK School Jobs is a new breed of job boards which leads with the candidate journey. The product allows educational establishments to highlight their brand, values, and messages. Candidates benefit from an even better experience than they would have if they went directly to the website of a school or college and the service helps schools and colleges to attract and retain the right type of employee.
Websites:
https://weduc.co.uk
www.vacancyfiller.co.uk
https://ukschooljobs.com/

Whizz Education scoops another Bett Award!

BETT Awards 2019: Whizz Education announced as winner of the ‘Collaboration with a School’ Award.

Last night at Troxy in London, Whizz Education were announced as winners of the ‘Collaboration with a School’ award at the Bett Awards 2019, beating nine other prestigious finalists in their category. This marks Whizz Education’s third BETT Award in recent years and comes at a time of unprecedented interest in the organisation’s approach to delivering measurable learning gains.

Richard Marett, CEO of Whizz Education, who collected the award alongside Svetlana Tarassova, the firm’s director of global strategic partnerships, and Eddie Ralston, project manager international development, said, “We are delighted to be recognised by the judging panel at BETT for the contribution Whizz Education and its international partners have made in working with schools to achieve transformational education impact in some of the most challenging learning environments around the world.

Eddie Ralston added “Our work in Kenya, and specifically our partnership with Bahati Primary School, who were the focus of this award entry, is immensely rewarding for all involved. The headteacher and ICT lead at Bahati are wholly supportive and the students should be deservedly proud of their progress in maths since using Maths-Whizz. Bahati is an exemplar case of how an engaged school, iterative program design, evidence and insight coupled with on the ground support can achieve optimum learning gains”

Whizz Education is a pioneering education organisation committed to improving learning outcomes. Since 2004, Whizz Education has been entrusted and supported by schools, ministries of education, commercial partners and donor organisations, such as the Department for International Development (DFID), to implement education impact projects worldwide. We deliver measurable learning and teaching gains through personalised virtual tutoring, teacher-led digital resources, real-time learning analytics and teacher and government capacity building.

Whizz Education’s proprietary personalised virtual tutor, Maths-Whizz, is available in five languages – English, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Kiswahili – and has been adapted to multiple curricula. Educators are supported by Whizz Education teams in London, Seattle, Nairobi and Dubai as well as our partners in Russia, Mexico, Thailand and New Zealand, enabling communities around the world to reach their full potential through personalised learning.

We would like to thank our partners in Kenya, the iMlango consortium, led by Avanti Communications.

For more information about Whizz Education, visit www.whizzeducation.com

Boxlight Mimio to Showcase Three New Learning Collaboration Solutions at Bett 2019

Newest technology additions increase opportunities for schools to improve accessibility and whole-class collaboration

Boxlight Corporation (Nasdaq: BOXL) (“Boxlight Mimio”), a leading provider of technology solutions for the global education market, today announced the innovative new products it will be showcasing at Bett 2019. Over the course of four days, visitors to Stand C79 will get a first-hand look at the solutions Boxlight Mimio have developed to transform the teaching and learning experience for educators and students. Bett 2019 will be held 23-26 January at the ExCeL in London.


Building on the successful launch of the MimioFrame, MimioDisplay and the ProColor interactive touch table at last year’s Bett show, the newest additions to the best-in-class product line-up will include tools that enhance collaboration and learning outcomes across the classroom.
“Boxlight Mimio has been built around meeting the real needs of teachers and students and this year is no different,” said Mark Elliott, Boxlight’s CEO. “We are excited to showcase our latest solutions – giving Bett attendees the very first chance to test-drive our new products — that not only work with schools’ current infrastructure and existing edtech solutions, but fits their budget needs, too.” Debuting at Bett, is Boxlight NDMS (Network Device Management System) that gives IT network administrators centralized control of their Boxlight and Mimio interactive displays. Boxlight NDMS enables creating and controlling of individual and groups of IFPDs, whereby events and activities can be scheduled and managed from one place. Attendees will also see improvements to the award-winning MimioStudio 12 with the introduction of embedded live web pages and integration with Google’s widely-used G Suite for Education. Live webpages add a new dimension to the instructional process, allowing research and interaction beyond the prepared lesson to be undertaken. MimioStudio has also been refreshed with an updated contemporary look which will improve the end-user experience. Finally, MimioInteract, a software package designed for the Boxlight ProColor 490 Touch Table will be launched. MimioInteract provides a high degree of interactivity with a particular focus on early learning and students with less developed motor skills. The included and add-on activities will enable younger students to work together or as individuals on tasks such as Labelling, Matching, Sequencing, Sorting and Timelining.

Lenovo Laptops Amplify Learning Experiences Through Digital Innovation

New Lenovo 14w laptop joins the second-generation Lenovo 100e, 300e and 500e to offer a complete education portfolio

London, UK – January 22, 2019. We announced today an enhanced laptop lineup intended specifically to provide students and teachers in education institutions with a more personalised learning experience. Offering a broad choice of specifically designed models with solid reliability, the range of Chromebook and Windows enabled systems offer a superior user experience for students and educators alike. The Lenovo 100e and the multi-mode 300e and 500e second generation models are a direct result of Lenovo’s continued investment in meeting the needs of education institutions. The all-new thin and light Lenovo 14w model provides more power, storage and screen real estate for advanced higher education or enterprise users. Both families have been developed to offer smart, thoughtful technology to increase productivity, efficiency, and innovation in education.

Highlights of the new line-up include:
• New thin and light AMD-powered Lenovo 14w with Windows 10, at just 17mm thin and weighing 3.3 pounds (1.5kg) is engineered to offer higher performance capabilities for users with more advanced computing needs
• The redesigned Lenovo 300e with Windows 10 supports pencil touch, an optional garaged pen and World-Facing Camera for heightened user interaction in all modes
• Windows models include support for Microsoft Intune Management system
• The refreshed portfolio has standard USB type-C power and include reinforced ports and hinges and improved mechanically anchored keyboards. Furthermore, the 11-inch systems also include rubber bumpers for improved protection in classroom environments
• Lenovo 500e Chromebook features garaged pen which is great for extended writing and designing on the go
• The 500e Chromebook includes a World-Facing Camera making it easier to record and take pictures and videos in all modes; optional on the 300e Chromebook
• The Chromebook models include support for Google Classroom and G Suite for Education
• The complete education portfolio is MIL-SPEC tested with 6 methods and 12 procedures

The global education market growth continues to outpace the overall PC business. With unit growth expected to exceed 20% over the next four years, volumes will exceed 30 million units with the convertible market exhibiting the strongest growth1.

Jerry Paradise, vice president, Lenovo Commercial Product Portfolio wants to capture that growth with a custom-designed portfolio: “We recognize the important role technology plays in classrooms and the large investments required by institutions to empower students and teachers. Our education segment solutions and devices are a direct result of customer experience insights, and by leveraging our strong engineering heritage and world-class reliability, we can deliver technology that people can depend on.”

Lenovo’s Education Pledge

In order to meet the demands of the 21st century, education is evolving at an unprecedented rate. We are committed to building the right technology to support the developing leaders of tomorrow. As one of the world’s leading education PC providers, we understand the challenges in balancing competing priorities. Lenovo education experts can work with IT specialists to develop unique and distinct solutions to address specific needs in order to build digital education with vision and confidence.

Our expertise will provide education institutions a confidant path forward, solving today’s needs and preparing for tomorrow’s unknowns. By delivering future-proof solutions that span the end-to-end needs of customers, we are in a unique position to support virtually any requirement. From our education laptops and our LanSchool classroom management software, to advanced data center capabilities and new emerging technologies including VR Classroom, we can help transform education experiences with new models of teaching, learning, and collaborating, all while managing cost, efficiency, and security.
Lenovo will be present at this years’ BETT Show in London, 23-26 January at stand C184. Lenovo will also be present at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando, 27-30 January at booth 1630.
Pricing and Availability:
The latest Lenovo education portfolio will be available from March 2019.

SIGNIFICANT, £2.5 MILL EXPANSION TRANFORMS BEDFORDSHIRE SCHOOL

 

SIX NEW classrooms and a 690 m2 sports hall at Henlow Church of England Academy, Bedfordshire have now completed, completely reimagining the 600 pupil school’s teaching facilities and sports opportunities.

PCMS Design designed the modern, new extension to the original school site, with Building Services Design (BSD) providing mechanical and electrical (M&E) engineering support for the project.

“The six classrooms and sports hall are a standalone block,” explained Adam Middleton, senior electrical engineer at the national M&E practice, BSD.

Adam continued: “The new sports hall comprises four new Sport England compliant courts, which are to be used for both the school’s own netball, basketball and hockey teams as well as for community hire; making it an incredibly inclusive space – and one which will support not just the school but the wider Henlow population.

“There are also attached changing rooms as well as a 88 m2 storage facility.”

BSD provided technical support to PCMS Design to ensure that the delivery of the M&E engineering services for electricity, gas, water and the fire alarm system ran smoothly and to specification.

“There were a couple of challenges on this project; time constraints meant that the scheme had to be completed for the beginning of term but, through working closely with the delivery team, we managed to complete the project on time and on budget.

“The new building is a standalone building, separate to the main school. Services had to be provided to the new site and connected to existing services without impacting on the school’s day to day operations,” added Adam.

The sports hall has a standing seam zinc roof, which is curved to the hall and pitched to the storage room, as well as architectural louvres which allows for air flow through the area.

Alex Bond, PCMS design director and project manager said: “PCMS Design engaged BSD to advise on the performance specification for the mechanical and electrical installation on a large educational sports hall and classroom block project at Henlow Church of England Academy.

“We found its services to be invaluable in the early planning stages, and throughout the specification process when specialised M&E skills and knowledge were needed.”

Head teacher Caren Earp said: “Thanks to the incredible design team, we now have a fantastic new building which is going to be of huge benefit to our children, increasing the number and range of opportunities for sport that we can now offer.”

The project was funded by Central Bedfordshire Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

AI THINK IT’S ALL OVER

 

– Non-league Wingate & Finchley FC employs AI football coach to inspire kids through STEM –

Whether it’s managing your home, recommending TV programmes, automating driving or diagnosing diseases and assisting surgery, artificial intelligence (AI) is a game changer that is embedded in our everyday lives. As AI develops, it is being used in ways never previously imagined. Today, we can add coaching a football team to that list.

Indeed, football minnows Wingate & Finchley FC, who currently play in the Isthmian Premier League, have partnered with The Big Bang Fair to install the kind of technology that might normally only be associated with the world’s richest clubs: they have appointed an AI as a football coach. In what is believed to be the first time in English football that a team will be set-up for a match by an AI, the AI coach will recommend the club’s starting eleven formation and tactics for an upcoming competitive league fixture.
The AI football coach has been created by a team of artificial intelligence experts at GreenShoot Labs and behaves as an ‘expert system’, using a reasoning engine to determine the best formation and style of play against a given opponent. Once it is in use, the AI football coach stores data from each match and as patterns begin to emerge related to the team’s performance it is programmed to evolve and make even more targeted recommendations.
The AI football coach was commissioned by The Big Bang Fair, the UK’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), to excite young people about STEM by highlighting how it can be used in something they love: football.
So how exactly will the AI football coach help Wingate & Finchley FC? Well, forget former England manager Kevin Keegan’s one-size fits all approach of “score more goals than the opposition”. Instead the AI football coach will provide tailor-made tactics and can evolve its thinking over the course of a season. The AI has a simple conversational interface (via an Amazon Echo) allowing the club’s staff to easily speak with the AI about football tactics and team management without requiring expertise or training in AI.
Ahead of a game, a squad’s attributes are shared with the AI, from fitness levels, motivation and types of players to strongest areas on the pitch. In addition, details on the strengths, weaknesses and the typical player formation of an opposing team are supplied to the AI. The AI football coach will then determine what it believes to be the most effective formation (such as 4-4-2, 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1) and style of play to adopt against a specific opponent.
As any pundit or fan will tell you, football is a game of two halves, and a match can change in seconds. To help the human coaching staff make tactical decisions during the ebb and flow of a game, the AI can also provide recommendations and inspiration around substitutions and game play in relation to real-time scores. So, if the team is 2 – 0 down, the AI coach might suggest, when prompted, a more offensive style by replacing a midfielder with a striker. Or if a player is red-carded the AI can suggest an appropriate change of tactics. All decisions that are made can be relayed to the AI football coach, which will store all of the data and use this to aid future tactical decisions.

Dave Norman, manager of Wingate & Finchley FC, said: “The fundamentals of football are exactly the same whether they come from a virtual coach or a human one. As a teacher as a well as a football manager I’m a big supporter of The Big Bang Fair’s goal to get more kids into STEM, so I was more than happy to add an AI to the coaching team here at Wingate & Finchley. I think it will complement our set-up immensely and hopefully help us pick up three points!”

Beth Elgood, Director of Communications at EngineeringUK, added: “At The Big Bang Fair we are always looking at ways to inspire young people and demonstrate to them, their teachers and their parents the many surprising applications of STEM. It’s clear that AI already plays a significant role in all our lives and many future jobs are likely to need artificial intelligence skills. We wanted to combine the possibilities of AI with something we know a lot of young people enjoy – sport – to inspire young people. We hope the AI football coach can excite football-loving children and shine a light on the many ways STEM plays a role in our lives.”

Fans of AI and football won’t have to wait long until the AI football coach is working at Wingate & Finchley FC: it will be taking its place on the training ground and in the dugout alongside manager Dave Norman for a league clash against Brighton’s Whitehawk FC on Saturday 9 February 2019.

In addition to its role at Wingate & Finchley, the intention is for the AI football coach to be released as an Alexa Skill that anyone can download and interact with, whether they are professional football managers looking for a bit of AI assistance, a teacher who runs a school team or youngsters inspired by the exciting possibilities of STEM.

Tim Deeson, of Greenshoot Labs, concluded: “We’re eager to see what happens when you introduce AI into an environment which is typically not used to having access to it, in this case a non-league football club. This project demonstrates just how easy it is to do that in this day and age: in just a few short weeks we have been able to develop an AI system for a team that they can easily query and interact with that helps them dig deeper into what sort of playing approach they could have. Over time the AI will learn from the data it gathers and can become an even more insightful tactical aid.

Recent advancements in AI have made it more and more accessible and the upshot of that is we’re seeing artificial intelligence being applied in all sorts of innovative and interesting ways. It’s a really exciting time to be part of the AI industry, but we’ve only just scratched the surface of what is possible. For the next generation of AI professionals, it’s only going to get more exciting.”

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK. The event is taking place from 13-16 March 2019 at The NEC in Birmingham. For more information, please visit: https://www.thebigbangfair.co.uk.