As more and more ‘early adopter’ schools make names for themselves by embracing digital technologies and ensuring that their students are well-versed in ‘the new literacy’, other, more traditional organisations are starting to become very aware of this movement.
Let’s take a closer look at The Studio in Liverpool, and how their approach to giving young people the tools they need to excel in the digital age differs from other UK schools:
How ‘the UK’s first gaming school’ really works
The Studio bills itself as ‘the UK’s first gaming school’. It is a school, and the students learn from the same curriculum as most UK schools – most of the time. They study for their A-levels like anyone else. They even wear uniforms, but the focus on ‘creative media’ is what really sets it apart.
There are nearly 50 ‘Studio’ type schools in the UK so far, counting those which are still to fully open. The model for a ‘Studio’ is unusual, especially for a larger city like Liverpool. It would hold 300 students, often less. It is a ‘vocational’ school, aimed at giving the students skills they can trade on after they graduate in addition to a more general education. The only way to get the extra work in on top of the traditional curriculum is to stay later, though. Expect school to remain in session until 5pm.
Each Studio school has a different focus, of course. The UK gaming industry isn’t going to be able to accommodate 10,000 young hopefuls a year, after all. Still, many of them will and already do focus on other ‘digital’ career paths, and as a whole should do wonders for both the quality of entry-level workers across the country, as well as to the success of those who go on to study digital arts and sciences at a university level.
Do students need this kind of ‘digital education’?
Many feel that they do. The House of Lords released a 2015 report calling for a drastic increase in the digital literacy of the UK’s students, and suggest it should be thought of as just as much of a ‘core’ subject as English and Maths.
As the UK’s education system comes to grips with the necessity of preparing its students to live and work in an increasingly digital world, ‘digital vocational’ schools like The Studio will be at the forefront of the movement – at least for a time.
If the Peers are right, and digital skills are to become a part of every school’s regular curriculum, they will have to find less specialised ways to give all school children access to the same learning opportunities – and that could be a real challenge.
Image from Pablo by Buffer.
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