Livingstone: UK must evolve from nation of digital literates

Nation must provide education for a new generation of creatives
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The UK must evolve from being a nation of digital literates to a nation of digital makers, game industry luminary Ian Livingstone has said.

Speaking today to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee at the House of Commons on support for the creative industries, the Eidos life president said the traditional IT courses had effectively taught children how to read, but not how to write.

With computer science having now been confirmed as on the curriculum, thanks to the Next Gen Skills campaign championing the subject, Livingstone said that although the course would benefit the game development sector, programming skills would also be transferable to a number of other industries, such as in fighting cyber crime or building financial packages.

He added that education in computer science was hugely important given that computer code was at the heart of everything in the modern, digital world.

“The most overriding thing for me has been the skills base. Because historically IT taught children how to use the technology and gave absolutely no insight in how to create technology. You’re effectively teaching children how to read but not how to write.

“Now the skills of computer science and computing coding are transferable. It’s not just about making the next Angry Birds in the UK, of which there have been a billion downloads and there’s a great opportunity for anyone in the world to make those games in this country. It’s also transferable, whether its fighting cyber crime, designing a jet propulsion engine or building financial packages, computer code is everything at the heart of the digital world in which we operate today.

“So we have to turn our nation of digital literates into a nation of digital makers not just for using technology, but for making technology. Digital manufacturing is our future, not traditional manufacturing, I would say at this moment in time.”