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07 JULY 2015

BBC Micro Bit: potential to inspire digital creativity?

"The BBC has unveiled the BBC micro:bit, a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, which is to be given free to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK. A collaboration between 29 partners, the micro:bit is the BBC's most ambitious education initiative in 30 years, with an ambition to inspire digital creativity and develop a new generation of tech pioneers. The UK currently faces a critical skills shortage in the technology sector and the BBC and partners aim to help change that. In the 1980s, the BBC Micro introduced many children to computing for the first time and the BBC micro:bit, part of the BBC's 2015 Make it Digital initiative, will build on the legacy of that project for the digital age. It aims to inspire young people to get creative with digital and develop core skills in science, technology and engineering. The micro:bit will also be made commercially available later in 2015, so those not in the year 7 group can get involved."

(BBC Make It Digital)




11 and 12 year olds • 201521st century literaciesArduinoBBC Make It DigitalBBC Micro • BBC Micro Bit • BBC micro:bitcoding • coding programmes • computing kit • design and technologydigital creativity • digital device • digital skills • education initiative • engineering and design • FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air) • home computing • imperial ambitions • inspire digital creativity • Intel Galileo • Micro Bit • over-the-air programming • pocket-sized circuit board • pocket-sized computer • printed circuit boardprogrammable deviceprogrammable mediaprogramming-oriented deviceRaspberry Piskills gapskills shortagetechnology education • Tony Hall • UK


Simon Perkins
31 OCTOBER 2012

Higher Education Commission: postgraduate system 'failing UK economy'

"The postgraduate system in the UK's universities is failing to produce the number of highly skilled staff needed by a modern economy, a report warns.

The Higher Education Commission says the system is geared towards attracting overseas students, rather than training more UK students.

The report warns that the UK is falling behind in investing in research.

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokeswoman said: 'We recognise there are some concerns.'

The study from the Higher Education Commission calls for urgent reform of the postgraduate sector, saying that in its present state it will cause long–term problems for the UK's economy.

Postgraduate research has become increasingly important for innovative, hi–tech industries."

(Sean Coughlan, 23 October 2012, BBC News)



2012 • Andorra • business leadersDepartment for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS)economic growtheconomy • education funding • education outsourcing • education reformeducation sectorfunding • hi-tech industries • Higher Education Commission • Higher Education Funding Council for England • highly skilled • home student • homegrown talent • ideas and innovation • Indiainternational students • investing in research • Kazakhstanmodern economyoverseas studentsPeoples Republic of China • postgraduate education • postgraduate research • postgraduate sector • postgraduate studies • postgraduate study • postgraduate system • research intensive universitie • skilled workforceskills reviewskills shortagetuition feesUK • UK economy • UK firms • UK universities


Simon Perkins
11 APRIL 2012

UK Imagineering Foundation: stimulating the imagination of young designers

"In 1999 a group of engineers in the Midlands [UK region] who were concerned at the rapidly increasing skills shortage in engineering, developed the concept of Imagineering. 'A new initiative, designed to introduce 8–16 year olds to the fascinating world of engineering and manufacturing through fun, hands–on personal experience, targets the engineers of the future at a young age, develops and holds their interest and hopefully, encourages them to consider engineering as a future career.'"

(Imagineering Foundation, UK)

Fig.1 "One young 'imagineer' constructs a working model that he can then programme using simple control technology at the Imagineering Jaguar Land Rover Education Business Partnership Centre, at Gaydon Warwickshire." [–welcomes–new–queen.html#!/2011/11/imagineering–welcomes–new–queen.html]

2). The Imagineering Timeline



1999 • 8-16 year olds • careercareer futurescareerschildrenconstructioncrafts technologycreative participationcreative skillsdesign thinkingdiscoveryengineeringengineering and manufacturing • engineers of the future • experimentationfunfuture careerhands-on • imagineer • imagineering • Imagineering Jaguar Land Rover Education Business Partnership Centre • learninglearning initiativeMidlands (region)pedagogypersonal empowermentpraxisskills shortageUK • Warwickshire • working model • young designersyoung peopleyouth


Simon Perkins
17 MAY 2011

Keeping Britain's special effects dream alive

"The country's reputation as the go–to Hollywood alternative was underlined at this year's Academy Awards when London–based Double Negative picked up the visual effects Oscar for its work on Inception.

The company, which has also been involved in the Harry Potter and Batman series, employs around 950 people at its headquarters in Soho.

Across the UK, approximately 5,000 people work in SFX post–production, according to the UK Screen Association.

But while business is currently booming, there are dark, computer–generated, clouds on the horizon.

A report, commissioned by the government and published earlier this year, delivered a worrying prognosis.

It warned that, while special effects was enjoying a rapid growth, the sector was also 'having to source talent from overseas because of skills shortages at home'.

The study, entitled Next Gen, concluded: 'That is mainly a failing of our education system – from schools to universities and it needs to be tackled urgently if we are to remain globally competitive.'

Part of the problem is the lack of awareness of the profession among young people, according to Paul Franklin, a visual effects supervisor and part of Double Negative's Oscar–winning team.

'There is not a huge amount of information available to them,' he told BBC News.

'Typically you tend to find that students who are seeking out courses in visual effects and film–making are the self motivated types who have gone out and found the information themselves.'

'It is something we work very hard at, but schools and colleges could be more aware about how a creative art education can be applied in the world of high–end modern digital media,' he said."

(BBC News, 14 May 2011)



Academy Award • accolade • American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences • AMPAS • Batmancomputer-generated • creative art education • creative careercreative economydesign curriculadesign disciplinedesign professiondigital mediaDouble Negativeeducation systemfilmmaking • globally competitive • Harry PotterHollywoodInception (2010) • lack of awareness • LondonNext Gen. reportOscar • Paul Franklin • post productionprofessional practiceSFXskills shortageSohospecial effectsstudentUK • UK Screen Association • VFX industriesvisual effects • visual effects supervisor


Simon Perkins
18 MARCH 2010

Major report warns of gaping skills gaps in Creative Media Industries

"Major research launched today by Skillset reveals gaping skills gaps and shortages in the rapidly changing media landscape.

It is predicted that the Creative Industries will grow at twice the rate of the rest of the economy – and creative media is pivotal to this [1]. But Skillset's Strategic Skills Assessment for the Creative Media Industries in the UK warns we must have the right people in place to make this reality.

One in two companies in the Creative Media Industries report skills gaps as we move out of Recession and look to the future, it reveals [2].

The first ever National Strategic Skills Audit, also released today by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), draws on Skillset's in–depth research. The UKCES audit was commissioned by the Government to provide vital intelligence to understand current and future skill needs for the economy.

Skillset's report says there is an 'oversupply' in many general creative media roles, but serious skills shortages in areas like digital technology and multiplatform capability, broadcast engineering, business and commercial know–how, visual effects and craft–orientated jobs."

(Skillset, 17 March 2010)


2. Skillset (2009) From Recession to Recovery. Based on a sample of 262 employers.



2010 • broadcast engineering • craft skillscreative economycreative industriescreative mediacreative media industriesCreative Skillsetdigital technologyemploymententerpriseknowledge-based economymediamultiplatformNational Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts • National Strategic Skills Audit • NESTAold mediaprofessionalismskillsskills gapskills shortagetechnologyUK • UK Commission for Employment and Skills • UKCES • visual effectsvocational training


Simon Perkins

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