Ukie: Play-based learning will support future digital talent

01 December 2015 - London, United Kingdom – Games trade body want to see new tech teaching in every games cluster says CEO at Intel’s 2015 Education Summit

Play-based learning can help inspire a new generation of coders from an early age, says video games body Ukie, and new ‘Digital Schoolhouse’ hubs supporting new teaching techniques should be established in every tech cluster in the country.  

Speaking at the 12th annual Intel Education Summit, this year held in London on 1-2 December, Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, outlined the success of the Ukie/Mayor of London-supported Digital Schoolhouse programme, which has so far reached more than 5,500 children across London using play-based learning techniques to teach children the new Computing curriculum.  

Teachers in Digital Schoolhouses now teach the fundamentals of computational thinking through a series of plugged and unplugged activities, ranging from educational games through to magic tricks, play doh, games and dance.

The two-day summit brings together over 200 local, national, and European leaders in Education, games and technology, to explore the positive impact of gaming on the future of education.

Twist argued that schools should not just focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, but the fusion on sciences and arts, known as ‘STEAM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) to develop the next generation of creative programmers the games industry needs.

Intel’s summit includes visits to four Digital Schoolhouses across London: Burntwood School, Highgate Wood School, Woodford County High School, and Townley Grammar School, to see how the creative play-based learning model of the computing curriculum initiative works in practice.

Twist said, “Games are a powerful hook for a diverse range of children to spark their interest in programming and creativity.  We want to roll out the Digital Schoolhouse model across the country in order to secure the talent pipeline not only just for the games sector, but all sectors in the digital economy.”

In Dr Twist’s keynote at City Hall she called for more support for computer science teachers and the funding of early intervention in schools across the key UK games clusters.

Head of Education at Ukie and Director of the Digital Schoolhouse programme, Shahneila Saaed, also ran workshops to demonstrate the power of games-based learning in the classroom, and offered an insight into the innovative and creative teaching models being used by Digital Schoolhouses across London. The programme was launched in 2014 to teach the new Computing curriculum in primary and secondary schools, and is already being run across 80 schools in the capital, using 600 teachers and reaching 5,500 pupils.

The Intel Education Summit also saw Ukie launch its new guide to the Digital Schoolhouse programme.

To find out more about Ukie’s Digital Schoolhouse programme, visit the YouTube channel.

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About Ukie

The Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment or Ukie (pronounced YOU-KEY) is a trade body that aims to support, grow and promote the whole of the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry. Founded in 2010 (although formerly known as ELSPA), Ukie’s membership includes all the major UK and global games publishers and the best of UK development talent - from promising start-ups to some of the biggest, most successful studios operating in the UK today.

Ukie works with government to champion a range of issues including age ratings, education and skills, access to finance and protecting intellectual property rights. It also works with the media to ensure true and accurate representation of the sector by raising awareness of the industry’s positive economic contribution and the societal benefits of gaming to policy makers, regulators and consumers.

Some of the campaigns Ukie has been working on include the next gen skills campaign which pushed for computer science to be put back onto the national curriculum, - a website where families can learn about playing games safely and sensibly and Ukie Student Membership which bridges the gap between education and industry for students leaving higher education.

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