Ian Livingstone, the man responsible for the ridiculously successful game franchises Warhammer and Tomb Raider, has applied to the Department of Education to launch a Free School focusing on games-based learning.
Mr Livingstone believes the current education system is failing the Net Generation, “I’m passionate about children who have been born into the internet. I think they learn in a different way.”
He argues that by bringing gaming elements into the learning process, children will learn how to problem solve instead of just regurgitating facts parrot fashion in order to pass uninspiring exams.
Mr Livingstone stressed that this wasn’t just a gimmick and that his school would provide learning across all the core subjects.
“We’re not trying to be radical in any sense, “ he said. “Of course, you have to have a broad and balanced curriculum and make sure there’s rigour in all subjects. But it’s using a discipline like computer science to have hopefully a deeper understanding of the subjects that you’re learning.”
Mr Livingstone, co-author of the Fighting Fantasy series, criticised current schools testing methods which he argues are more about assessing the school itself than providing children with the education they need to succeed in the real world.
“There needs to be a shift in the pedagogy of learning in classrooms because there’s still an awful lot of testing and conformity instead of diversity. I’m not saying knowledge is bad – I’m just trying to get a bit more know-how into the curriculum.”
He points to the trial and error nature of games creation as the ideal learning process.
“For my mind, failure is just success work-in-progress. Look at any game studio and the way they iterate. Angry Birds was Rovio’s 51st game. You’re allowed to fail. Games-based learning allows you to fail in a safe environment.”
The Net Generation are the first digital natives; children who have grown up surrounded by digital technology, and to whom using tech is as natural as a pen and paper was to previous generations. Their natural use of technology lends itself perfectly to interactive learning.
The use of digital media is pushing the boundaries of education in ways unseen before and is bound to end up in a radical overhaul of the education process. Not what we learn, but how we learn it.
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