For just £15m the government could give every child in the UK a Raspberry Pi, claims champion of UK creative industries

Ian Livingstone on why education needs to adapt to a new world

Education has remained in a Victorian broadcast model and needs to adapt to new trends and technology, says Ian Livingstone.

Speaking at the Develop Conference, the new creative industries champion said the current method of teaching relied largely on the knowledge of the teacher, while also not engaging children in their education by forcing all students to be academics.

He recommended asking some children to teach their classmates and lead aspects of learning, claiming peer-to-peer learning can improve performance by 30 per cent and provide a much greater experience for students.

He went on to accuse the nature of computational learning in academia as stifling creativity and breaking engagement, rather than teaching the actual practical, life uses of subjects such as advanced mathematics.

"In schools today we focus too much on the computational nature rather than the how, when and the why." he said.

One way of improving education, said Livingstone, was to gamify aspects of education. He claimed games can teach many life skills to children, such as risk-taking, team work, logistics, problem solving and learning through trial and error. One example he gave was learning aspects of geography through titles such as SimCity, putting children in control of the learning experience.

Computer Science the new Latin

Another method of improving education is the study of computer science, which from September will be compulsory in UK primary and secondary schools. Livingstone said students should be allowed to "hack their way to knowledge", and be encouraged to make apps, games or even get into robotics.

He claimed that with just a £15m investment, the government could give every child in the UK a Raspberry Pi computer – recently named by developers as the top tech in games. He said the net outcome of such a scheme would be "way beyond the cost of a Raspberry Pi".

"Computer science is the new Latin," said Livingstone.

He added: "No matter where you come from, or how disadvantaged, any child could learn to code and become the next Mark Zuckerberg. It is the great equaliser and a great opportunity."

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