Learning at CENTURY

Posted on 24th July 2018

Posted by Ali Lennard


At the heart of CENTURY Tech is the concept of learning.

Of course, as the creators of an education technology platform, this comes as no surprise. But this concept of learning is built into our organisation in different ways. We have made something that involves human and machine learning – and this compels us to be continuously learning too.

In other words, we, the people behind CENTURY, are always learning, always growing and always challenging ourselves. All the principles that we have incorporated into the platform to benefit students are also built into CENTURY’s working culture.

We’re an “education technology organisation” – this tagline tells you about our three core sections.

  1. The Teacher Team – the professional teachers who make the content for CENTURY. At present, we’re focussing on maths, English,  science, humanities and CPD. This team plans and creates all of the lessons that come built-in to CENTURY. They also do the voice-overs for the CENTURY learning videos and work with the design team on all the learning visuals!
  2. The Tech Team – the people who write the algorithms that make CENTURY learn how you learn. Coding is the language of computers and the Tech team are all masters of it. They are able to transform an idea into a reality – from tweaking a new feature to creating the first personalised artificial intelligence learning platform.
  3. The Business Team – this team builds relationships with schools, manages the finances, makes the big strategic decisions and generally, keeps CENTURY up and running.

The teams are constantly communicating and coordinating, and to help facilitate this, we run regular learning sessions and hackdays.

“UX/ UI, frontend, backend, node” – for those of us not working on the tech team, tech lingo can be pretty daunting. A whole new world opens up once you’re able to program computers; a world full of APIs and full stack development. In order to bring everyone up to speed with the work of the tech team at CENTURY, we have seminars run by different members of the team. Our most recent seminar was titled “A Day in the Life of a UX designer” (UX means User Experience, as I recently learnt!). In each seminar we learn about the specialisms of a member of the team, what concepts and frameworks they use and how we can better support them. This knowledge then feeds into other parts of CENTURY’s work; the better we understand each other, the better we work together.

Similarly, the teacher team give seminars about education-specific topics. In the past, they have demystified Ofsted and explained what it does and why we need to be aware of it. Our resident cognitive neuroscientist has also given us a masterclass about her field and the principles of the neuroscience of learning – which is built into the CENTURY platform.

The ethos behind these team-led sessions is for the team to be always evolving. As thought leaders, we can’t be stagnant.

Sometimes we do hit a bump in the road and when that happens, we hold a hackday. The whole team, from all sections, comes together to solve a problem. We conjure up ideas and engage in some blue-sky thinking so that we can keep moving forwards. The multidisciplinary nature of these sessions is their biggest strength. Solutions stem from a range of perspectives and the hackdays are designed to facilitate this. They can tackle any issue: from a specific technical problem to blue-sky-thinking for new CENTURY features.

We’re trying to achieve something big: high-quality education for all. We truly believe we can achieve this. We need the right amount of resources and the right amount of belief. But this has to start with ourselves. So we at CENTURY have integrated the principles we support for students, into our own practice. We have a growth mindset and a collaborative atmosphere and most importantly, we’re constantly excited to learn.