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Dr Laura Benton
UCL Institute of Education
UCL Knowledge Lab
23-29 Emerald Street
London
WC1N 3QS
Dr Laura Benton profile picture
Appointment
  • Research Associate iREAD: Intelligent Personalised Apps for Reading
  • IOE - Culture, Communication & Media
  • UCL Institute of Education
Biography

I am a human-computer interaction (HCI) researcher based at the UCL Knowledge Lab. I joined the lab in 2013 after completing my PhD and since then have worked as a Research Associate on several interdisciplinary research and innovation projects around education technologies.  My background is in computing, interaction design and education, and I have a BSc in computer science and business as well as a PhD in HCI from the University of Bath.


I am currently a researcher on the CHAI project (ESPRC / 2021-2023) which addresses the challenge of how to help users to protect themselves against security risks they will face in AI-enabled domestic environments by equipping them with problem-soling skills to diagnose, analyse and respond to a security breach.

I am also a subsidary PhD supervisor and interested in co-supervising projects on topics related to education technology, child computer interaction, design methods and learning games.

Research Summary

My research interests focus on the areas of digital technology, interaction design, games, personalised learning and user-centred design methods, with particular concerns around the involvement of diverse stakeholders in the technology design process as well as the use of education technologies, such as learning games, within the classroom. My design work, with both primary and secondary pupils (including children with neurodiverse conditions such as autism and dyslexia), has focused on digital technologies for literacy and computer science. I have designed and led teacher training to support the use of particular digital technologies within the classroom through innovative pedagogies as part of two large-scale evaluations involving over 60 primary schools across England. Through this work I have developed a particular interest in the ethics of undertaking research with children and organised several knowledge exchange events with other researchers working in this population.  In my most recent project I am exploring ways to apply my expertise in user-centred design to the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity in order to understand how to help people better mitigate against potential cyber attacks within the home environment. Through my research I have collaborated with schools, training providers, charities, local authorities and education technology companies.


I have previously held post-doctoral positions on several research projects where I led ethnographic, design, evaluation and dissemination tasks working with both children and teachers in primary schools, which include:

  • iLearnRW (EU FP7 / 2013-2014) involved the development of personalised reading apps (e-reader and game) for primary children with dyslexia.
  • ScratchMaths (EEF / 2014-2017) involved the design and evaluation of a two-year computing and mathematics curriculum for aged 9-11 pupils to enable them to engage with and explore important mathematical ideas through learning to program in Scratch.
  • iRead project (EU H2020 / 2017-2021) involving the development and evaluation of personalised learning technologies to support the reading skills of primary children across Europe.

Appointments
01-OCT-2013 Research Associate Culture, Communication & Media UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2014   Doctor of Philosophy University of Bath
2007   Bachelor of Science University of Bath
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