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VIEWS & OPINION


VIEWS & OPINION


Using games to inspi re program ming skill s Comment by JAMES COX, GeneralManager of YoYo Games


I didn’t get my hands on a computer at school until I was 12 years old, but today many children have access to technology from as young as five. For my generation, programming the BBCMicro to move a Turtle robot was utterly enthralling, and qualified me to be chief programmer of our home VCR.


These days, technology is much more exciting and the career prospects for programmers go way beyond never missing an episode of Coronation Street. It’s indicative of the


permeation of technology that it is even being debated whether we continue to teach joined-up handwriting.


Almost every item in the modern world requires a computer program to work and so coding will soon become a basic skill, rather than a specialist area of expertise. As a consequence, the challenge will be to engage children with acquiring this talent while there are so many tools and languages available to code with. Game development employs all the skills needed to become a proficient coder and,


because children love playing games, they need little encouragement to jump into it. Coding requires focus and concentration to learn, and keeping a child’s interest whilst they work at it can very difficult. One way to engage interest is to have gradual achievable goals on the way to making something the child is interested in, and making games can fit that bill quite ni cely, as part of a STEMcurriculum.


Channelling a child’s interest into learning to code has never been easier because there are so many tools available to gradually take the child from player to coder. The educational


establishments in the UK and US that employ game design as a means of teaching code do so as a journey. Often, they will start with simple to use systems like Scratch, where the child can visually drag and drop ready-formed character behaviours and graphics to make their first game- li ke creation. Then you might move on to something like GameMaker where you can use more sophisticated drag and drop tools to progress into real coding with visual p reviews to


produce publishable 2D games. Beyond this point, at around University level, students finally progress to highly advanced tools like Unity, for full 3D game creation.


Game development can be a very rounded way of picking-up coding skills with positive benefits across the curriculum. It requires students to engage with softer skills such as planning , teamwork, creativity, design and even provides a sociological appreciation of what constitutes fun. At the same time, it also makes learners think about how things in the real world fundamentally work so they can replicate them on the screen: vement and lighting, and


understanding of sc rates of decay, leadi phenomena like mo


and mathematics.


Of course, the real advantage is the level of commitment a student will dedicate to game design studies to the extent that they might not consider themse lves to be studying at all. The joy you see on someone’s face when they show off their first creation i s truly priceless .


iences, particularly physics ng to a much deeper


In an age of uncertainty Comment by JOHN BAILEY, Head of Education at Dell EMC


ty,


It has never been amore difficult time for universities.With increased tuition fees, the average university student now graduates with £50,000 of debt. It’s no coincidence, therefore, that the number of applicants has fallen by 25,000 in 2017.Meanwhile, the vote to leave the European Union last June has also exacerbated issues - with a 7 per cent decline in student applications fromEU countries and uncertainty over how £1.4 billion of EU research funding will be replaced. In light of this, the relationship betweenmany universities has changed fromone of collaboration to out-and-out competition; the student is king and all efforts are focussed on attracting themin their droves.


Attracting academics Attracting academics


So, what do students want? Students are looking for the ultimate university experience, not only in terms of outcomes and final grades, but also in the journey taken to get themthere. To attract students and distinguish themselves fromtheir competition, universities now need tomake that element of the experience as attractive as possible – digital capabilities and the use of new technologies are a key way of achieving that.


The digital revolution has affected every sector and further education is no different, with students bringing their own expectations of the digital world to their university. Always-connectedmobile devices are ubiquitous, and students expect easy access to coursematerials, remotely and seamlessly. They also expect a direct line of communication with lecturers, whether they are on or off-campus, and they demand state of the art technology and connectivity, at all times.Meeting the demands of the digital era is nomean feat and it requires universities to transformtheir infrastructure.


www


So, what do students want? Students are looking for the ultimate university experience, not only in terms of outcomes and final grades, but also in the journey taken to get them there. To attract students and distinguish themselves from their competition, universities now need to make that element of the experience as attractive as possible – digital capabilities and the use of new technologies are a key way of achieving that. The digital revolution has affected every sector and further education is no different, with students bringing their own expectations of the digital world to their university. Always-connected mobile devices are ubiquitous, and students expect easy access to course materials, remotely and seamlessly. They also expect a direct line of communication with lecturers, whether they are on or off-campus, and they demand state of the art technology and connectivity, at all times. Meeting the demands of the digital era is no mean feat and it requires universities to transform their infrastructure.


2 0 www .education-today.co.uk.co.uk


It has never been a more difficult time for universities. With increased tuition fees, the average university student now graduates with £50,000 of debt. It’s no coincidence, therefore, that the number of applicants has fallen by 25,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, the vote to leave the European Union last June has also exacerbated issues - with a 7 per cent decline in student applications from EU countries and uncertainty over how £1.4 billion of EU research funding will be replaced. In light of this, the relationship between many universities has changed from one of collaboration to out-and-out competition; the student is king and all efforts are focussed on attracting them in their droves.


Shifting themndset Shifting the mindseti


Historically, IT expenditure has often been an afterthought for universities, withmany opting for affordable, short-termsolutions, rather than seeing manageability, security or longevity as a priority. In contrast to this, businesses in the private sector have tended to be ahead of the curve; understanding that investment in IT can pay dividends in the future - both in terms of attracting key talent and increasing security for their business- critical data. And equally,many private businesses have long-since learned the lesson t hat underinvesting in technology cos ts themmore in th e long run.


Historically, IT expenditure has often been an afterthought for universities, with many opting for affordable, short-term solutions, rather than seeing manageability, security or longevity as a priority. In contrast to this, businesses in the private sector have tended to be ahead of the curve; understanding that investment in IT can pay dividends in the future - both in terms of attracting key talent and increasing security for their business- critical data. And equally, many private businesses have long-since learned the lesson that underinvesting in technology costs them more in the long run.


Now, as the balance of power shifts fromuniversity to student,many universities are looking look towards the private sector for inspiration and senior leadership. Universities are increasingly hiring private sector CIO’s to implement a process of digital transformation, tomodernise, transformand automate their workloads, and freeing up resources to reinvest in technology that can attract key talent. They are also looking for new and better ways to consolidate and utilise the vast amounts of data available to themto provide personalised student services, which can in turn lead to a huge boost to student satisfaction.


competitive isn’t just on Cambridge


We do a lot of work with universities on this transformation, helping to satisfy all needs from the cloud all the way through to the client, from Cambridge to Dundee. If you hadn’t gathered already however, this story isn’t just one about Universities using technology in order to create competitive advantage. It is a story about them providing the strongest technology infrastructure possible so that they can cultivate the minds of tomorrow, leaving them best placed for their first steps into a world beyond education.


We do a lot of work with universities on this transformation, helping to satisfy all needs fromthe cloud all the way through to the client, fro m to Dundee. If you hadn’t gathered already however, this story e about Universities using technology advantage. It is a story about themp


technology infrastructure possible so that they ca


n cultivate theminds of roviding the strongest in order to create


tomorrow, leaving thembest placed for their first steps into a world beyond education.


Decembe r 2017 2017


Now, as the balance of power shifts from university to student, many universities are looking look towards the private sector for inspiration and senior leadership. Universities are increasingly hiring private sector CIO’s to implement a process of digital transformation, to modernise, transform and automate their workloads, and freeing up resources to reinvest in technology that can attract key talent. They are also looking for new and better ways to consolidate and utilise the vast amounts of data available to them to provide personalised student services, which can in turn lead to a huge boost to student satisfaction.


In an age of uncertainty, the student is king Comment by JOHN BAILEY, Head of Education at Dell EMC


y, the student is king


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