Luckin is the Dr Who of AI in education. Schools and universities will be transformed over the next 10 to 15 years by the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). No one has done more visionary work than Rose Luckin, Professor at UCL’s Institute of Education in the field of learning sciences, educational technology and AI. AI will personalise learning and provide the biggest revolution yet seen in the provision of high quality and individual education for all. “What we are very interested in is the right blend of human and artificial intelligence in the classroom – identifying that sweet spot,” she says. She has conceived a robot ‘Colin’, an AI teaching assistant, to help us understand what robots could help us achieve in the classroom. But the school curriculum needs to be modernised to reflect a world in which problem solving and creativity are essential; “regurgitating knowledge is something that you can automate very easily”, she says, but it “doesn’t prepare children for the modern workforce”. She has a ‘horrible feeling’ that we will realise too late we’ve been teaching a C19th factory education for the C21st.

The Seldon List 2017


These 20 figures, ten women, ten men, encompass those who I believe are having or will have the most powerful effect on our schools and universities. Some are household names, many are not. They all should be. Education at every level is riven by major disputes, and now more so than ever. The list of 20 contains those with pungent views on these debates, which include: whether we should be educating young people to lead a good life or merely for jobs; whether a traditional academic curriculum is suitable for all and whether it is right that it fails a third or more; and whether the state or the market should be dominant in deciding the content and delivery of education.

Reducing the figures to just 20 was agonizing: a further ten at least were very close to inclusion. Next year’s table will drop 10 from here. The key factor in the selection is who is setting the agenda for education, whether leaders of individual institutions, politicians and administrators, or academics and writers.

As education affects all of us, far more than we may think, these 20 contain some of the most influential figures in the country today.

Sir Anthony Seldon

Sir Anthony is one of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, educationalist, commentator and political author. Anthony Seldon is currently the Vice Chancellor of Buckingham University. He was head of Brighton College and of Wellington College, two of Britain’s leading independent schools. He is author of over 40 books on contemporary history, including the inside books on the last four Prime Ministers, politics and education, is co-founder of Action for Happiness, honorary historian to Downing Street and a Director of The Royal Shakespeare Company.



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