Future scientists are not prepared for Smart Labs

“It appears that many countries’ education systems have failed to adapt to the new demands the technological world brings”

Phoebe Chubb is a 3rd-year student at the University of Exeter, with a keen interest in the development of Internet of Things technology and the importance of its implementation in higher education. In this blog, she explores why electronic lab notebooks need to be integrated into university courses.

There has recently been an increasing emphasis on connectivity as typified in the discussions of smart homes and cities. Now the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are being implemented into the laboratory environment, creating smart laboratories.

The move to go digital has captured the interest of scientists in both academia and industry, and researchers globally have begun to use an electronic laboratory notebook (ELN): a central online platform, to store their research data.

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Modernising versus Globalising Education

“Interaction with the broader world including foreign economies, people, information, and major global challenges is becoming more inevitable”

A common discussion taking place in many modernising countries is how to adapt education systems so that they are more responsive to the rapidly changing economic realities of the future.

A key component in updating the status quo is how educational institutions support students conceptually in adapting to a rapidly globalising world. As a product of the liberal arts tradition in the United States, I have often thought about the potential impact of widespread, multi-perspective learning for all students, but also have reflected on the current gaps that cause systems to fall short of this.

What do I mean by multi-perspective learning? One that reflects the breadth and diversity of the world students live in. Regardless of job or industry, interaction with the broader world including foreign economies, people, information, and major global challenges is becoming more inevitable.

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A bright future for pathway providers

“As many British universities struggle with finances, pathways offer a potential solution”

Study Group was officially accepted onto the Office for Students (OfS) register of Higher Education Providers late last year after meeting requirements for course quality, academic standards, student support and student protection.

This means that, for the first time in the UK, international students studying on a pathway programme have all the same Tier 4 visa rights as international students at UK universities. These rights include new provisions for working and visa extension options, as well as various new privileges for Pre-Masters students.

While Study Group has become the first pathway provider to receive OfS recognition, we expect others to follow close behind. The move signals greater recognition of the valuable services that pathway providers offer and the potential for increased collaboration between universities and these programmes in the future.

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How European students will be affected by Brexit

“Despite many universities efforts to inform and support each of their students, a sense of uncertainty surrounding the subject is all too familiar”

The 31st October may have passed yet Brexit still looms and, with the UK remaining at risk of a no-deal following their withdrawal from the European Union, many people in education are still questioning exactly how European students will be affected by Brexit.

Despite many universities efforts to inform and support each of their students, a sense of uncertainty surrounding the subject is all too familiar for both EU nationals studying at UK universities and those participating in Erasmus+ programmes which since 1987 have granted all UK and wider European university students and lecturers the opportunity to study or intern abroad for up to a year.

So, what may a ‘no deal’ Brexit mean for European Students? According to Universities UK, whose members consist of both vice-chancellors and principals of institutions across the country, an exploration into the implications for universities and how to minimise risk has revealed that a failed Brexit negotiation will cause further uncertainty about the UK’s commitment and involvement with the Erasmus+ programme.

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Three things I’ve learned about intercultural learning communities

“The cafeteria at the United Nations would hardly feature more nationalities than ours”

I spent 25 years at St. John’s College which is an international community of learners.
Four years ago I came to UWC-USA which is a very international community of learners. We have students every year from over 90 countries, 125 languages are spoken on our high school campus, and the cafeteria at the United Nations would hardly feature more nationalities than ours.

The transition from higher education to secondary had few major surprises – a school year has highs and lows no matter where the school is and what its focus may be.

But I did learn – or relearn – three things about intercultural learning communities:
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Could AI uncover the secrets of a student’s success or failure?

“If this practice was rolled out more widely, the information would alert universities to who is at risk”

AI could soon be helping universities spot students who are struggling early so they can better support them and prevent them from dropping out, says Fred Singer, CEO of platform Echo360.

Imagine you’re a lecturer in the early days of teaching a large group of first and second-year students. You’re still getting to know your audience, but there aren’t many questions coming from the room, making it hard to confirm students’ understanding of the topics being covered.

You’re confident about the quality of your lecture, but questions linger.

Are some students struggling silently due to a limited grasp of English? Does the lack of questions indicate confusion rather than comprehension? Are students opting out of group discussions because they’re shy or because they don’t understand the concepts being debated?

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What value do school rankings provide international families?

“Even some highly ranked schools are now questioning whether the benefits of appearing in rankings outweigh the negatives”

As anyone who works in international student and pupil recruitment knows, rankings are revered by many families who believe that they alone provide the ultimate ‘judge’ of whether a school is desirable or not. 

However, should this perception be challenged more than it is?

Major rankings are devised predominantly from public exam results and, of course, high grades are important. However, these grades are often achieved due to the highly selective admissions policies of many highly ranked schools.

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How emotional intelligence improves cross-cultural classroom communication

“Emotional Intelligence covers five major areas and serves as a gateway to educational and career success”

Educators need keen emotional intelligence (EI) to manage the ups and downs of classroom life. Their ability to control and respond positively to their feelings enables them to act as role models for their students. This principle remains true even when cultural constructs throw up communication roadblocks.

International educators face barriers of both verbal and non-verbal language with their students. Exercising EI lets them check their immediate responses to external stimuli. It allows them to step back and consider the learner’s perspective and prevents them from making snap judgments.

This awareness gives them the requisite mental pause to reflect on the cultural influences on behaviour.

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Your ABCs are still the building blocks of a STEM powered future

“We must recognise the power of STEM learning and its potential to equip our children with the skills they will undoubtedly need in the future”

STEM is a real buzz word in the education sector at the moment and it seems to be its answer to everything.

Many educators and policymakers increasingly argue that more and more areas of education should focus on STEM, to future-proof our kids for a world that seems to be ever more technology-driven.

But what does STEM actually mean, and is it really the answer to everything?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are the top-line subjects that make up the acronym, but a wide range of specific academic disciplines such as Chemistry, Astronomy, Statistics, Biology, Electrical Engineering and Psychology all fall under STEM.

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The way we work: Lifelong learning in the talent economy

“Being able to easily evidence learning with skills-based credentials is crucial”

Over the last few years, technological innovation has driven change at an unprecedented rate, resulting in the emergence of a talent economy:  ‘A collaborative, transparent, technology-enabled, rapid-cycle way of doing business […] where employers and employees seek each other out on a playing field that is broader and more level than ever before.’, according to Deloitte.

One of the biggest changes in this new world is the role of new technologies is making it easier for people to learn and work from anywhere in the world – challenging all our assumptions about what the workplace, and the education space, should look like.

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