Investing in digital tools to transform education
Imagine sitting in a classroom. You can hear your teacher, but you can’t understand what they are saying. Maybe their voice sounds garbled. Or they are speaking in a foreign language. Perhaps another pupil’s pen clicking across the room is drowning out their words.
For you this is a bad dream, but for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or for those with English as an additional language (EAL), the spoken word in the classroom can be a significant barrier to their understanding.
Children with EAL now form a majority in one in nine schools in England; the number has risen by 20 per cent during the last five years to 1.1 million. There are around 100,000 children with ASD in the UK, with around half a million family members directly affected by the condition.
With every word misheard and misunderstood, the anxiety levels of these pupils increases and their confidence drops. But at Ai-Media, technology is used to break down that barrier by giving children access to the spoken word in written form.
Now imagine that classroom again, but in front of you is a laptop or a tablet and the teacher’s words are appearing, in a simplified form, for you to read. You can scroll back and reread anything you’ve misunderstood. After the lesson you can ask the teacher to explain a term you don’t understand, and your teacher can use the transcript to help support your learning.
Just like the subtitles for television, Ai-Live, Ai-Media's captioning technology, enables pupils to read the teacher’s words, as they are spoken, and so gives them an alternative method of accessing and understanding their lessons.
And it’s not just children that can benefit. Ai-Media are also working with teachers to see how the same technology can help them review their lessons and give better feedback to students. The first pilot, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, saw the team working with ten schools across the UK.
The organisation's ambition for education is vast, which is why the investment from the Nesta Impact Investment team is so important to us.
Nesta is all about opening doors, and helping people to reach their potential in education and in the workplace. It helps companies to reach their potential by encouraging creativity, experimentation and risk-taking; three things Ai-Media knows all about.
The aim is to achieve a global impact and Nesta’s investment shows belief in that vision. And with this support, Ai-Media can achieve that impact at scale.