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No One Left Behind unites game development and education

New initiative will let students create and programme games exploring curriculum subjects

A new educational initiative called "No One Left Behind" aims to unite game design and programming skills with subjects from the wider curriculum.

Backed by €3.2 million in funding from Horizon 2020 and the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, No One Left Behind will first be tested in a pilot program involving 600 pupils, aged 8 to 17, working across 12 different subjects.

It will then roll out to schools across Europe, where it will run for two-and-a-half years. Six institutions will take part in the initiative, including Nottingham Trent University in the UK.

"We want all students to realise their full potential by making gaming an integral part of the primary and secondary curriculum"

The participating students will create games in a mobile programming environment called "Pocket Code," exploring subjects and ideas that feature elsewhere in their education.

"Imagine students being challenged to design a game which involves gathering evidence and building arguments to fight their own campaign for the abolition of the British slave trade in the late 1770s," said David Brown, Professor of Interactive Systems for Social Inclusion at Nottingham Trent University, in a statement.

"Children will author these types of games, taking responsibility for the programming, coding, design and graphics, and everything will be carefully tuned into curriculum delivery. We want all students to realise their full potential by making gaming an integral part of the primary and secondary curriculum."

This is yet another example of radical new approaches to games, computers and technology in education, particularly in the UK. The most prominent such case was the Livingstone-Hope Report in 2011, which ultimately led to a cabinet-level rethink of the country's ICT curriculum.

And then there's Raspberry Pi, an inexpensive microcomputer conceived and developed in the UK with the specific purpose of making hands-on computer science a more pragmatic goal for educators.

Google purchased 15,000 Raspberry Pis for British schools in January 2013, and total sales of the device were nearing 4 million as of October last year.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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