New curriculum alone is not enough to build kids' computer skills

Report from the Nominet Trust says there's no one direct path to become a digital creator
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A new study has suggested that business leaders, teachers and parents should not depend on the new computing curriculum alone to ensure children learn the skills they need for a career in the digital and creative industries.

The report is entitled 'Digital Learning – A State of the Art Report', and was carried out by independent researched Julian Sefton-Green, who is currently a principal research fellow at the London School of Economics.

His findings state that instead of relying on the curriculum, a child's circle – parents, teachers and friends – can have a massive impact on how they learn the digital skills required to become, for example, a games developer.

While the new curriculum is an important first step, Sefton-Green says schools require more support and resources to apply digital learning across every subject, from art and science to history and drama.

He also recommends that children are encouraged to engage in extra-curricular activities, such as code clubs and hackathons, so that they can explore technology and their own abilities with friends, family and experts.

The report also calls for business leaders to promote greater clarity when it comes to the job prospects out there. An estimated 750,000 digitally-skilled workers are needed to power the UK economy by 2017, but many young people are not taking their digital interests further because there are confused about the opportunities available.

"Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the importance placed on digital making – the individual and shared pursuit of creating, coding and producing the digital products we use every day, such as games, websites and apps," said Sefton-Green.

"However, we still have little understanding of the link between how young people learn to use digital technology and the careers they will eventually pursue when they leave education. This report demonstrates there's no 'one size fits all' strategy, and that the progression of a digital learner is not linear.

"We as a nation need to go beyond the school gates to fulfil our digital education needs."

You can read the full report here.

Image credit: Matt Alexander, PA Wire

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