University of Leicester eBulletin

Brain Power

September 2003
No 218

How technology could boost pupil performance in schools of the future

PLEASE NOTE: Professor Cooper is available for interviews only on WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 3 IN THE AFTERNOON 

Children's brain scan readings could replace the old school report in the classroom of the future, according to educational experts at the universities of Leicester and Oxford Brookes

Parents' evenings at the technologically revolutionised school might mean a child's short-term memory circuit readings are considered when it is felt a pupil 'could do better'.

Professor Paul Cooper of the University of Leicester School of Education and Professor John Geake of Oxford Brookes University have made their prediction in the journal Westminster Studies in Education where the authors assess the possibilities of using neuroscience to probe children's progress in subjects ranging from maths to music.

They suggest pupils could wear brain imaging headsets that measure their brainwaves as they engage in classroom activities. The readings could reveal characteristics of the child's learning processes, such as whether the child's working memory is weak or strong.

It could lead the pupil to taking sessions on a 'bio-feedback' machine - the type used by heart attack and stroke victims to avoid stressful stimuli. Professors Cooper and Geake suggest these such machines might also be used to support educational needs.

They believe this scenario is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Brain imaging, invented for medical purposes, has widespread implications for education, they claim. This is because activity of the brain can be recorded and studied while people are involved in every day learning activities.

"Brain scans could be used to look at why some children have difficulty concentrating, are slow at learning to read, learn foreign languages or memorise facts.

"These possible applications of neuroscience to education could help us develop ways of teaching based upon the way the brain works."

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Professor Cooper on e-mail address is  


Messages for Professor Cooper can also be left on 0116 252 5751

Professor John Geake is on Tel 01865 488496

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Last updated: September 2003
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