Digital Consumer to Digital Creator – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 3:25pm by Emma Cooper

The set up for this session was “How can children and young people’s passions and interests be used to inspire a generation to learn how to use the greatest open creative tools of the modern age?” which is quite a big question, the speakers each brought a different perspective.


  • The market is filled with excellent tools for children to make their own digital content.
  • This is very much an issue of skills vs understanding, media education needs to be about more than just doing ‘an hour of code’.

Session Details

Digital ConsumerTom Kenyon, Director at Playful Learning Lab, thinks there are two ways of thinking about digital tools for kids.

  1. The Apple way of thinking that “It just works” out of the box is great for usability but how are we showing or helping young people and children to understand how these tools work?
  2. There is a lot of intrinsic value in understanding how technology works – increasingly things like your fridge will have a computer in it. Understanding how machines talk to each other is so important, in fact it’s a right.

Dan Efergan of Aardman Animation said that a mission to “inspire creativity” is at the heart of all their work. They have a desire to be an inspiration for both their audience and their staff it cuts through everything.

They want to share their passion for making and the Next Gen Skills report that came out a few years ago made a big impression on them. Shaun’s Game Academy is the first project to come out of this thinking. The tool enables children to take graphic assets from Shaun’s world and using the Scratch platform create their own Shaun the Sheep games.

Technology Will Save Us make kits to aid making, learning tools for everyone. Bethany Koby said they operate on user centred design principles and that no kits go to market unless they have done several workshops with them. I’m particularly in love with their game maker kit.

They’ve found that kits can assist co-learning, helping teachers who are potentially nervous of this subject mater introduce new skills and peer learning in to the classroom. Learning together.

Howard Baker from BBC Innovation talked about how the BBC working towards something with the same impact as the BBC Micro had on my generation. They’re looking in to how to inspire a new generation. Also they want their mainstream audience to buy in this to “take the nation on a journey of digital discovery”.

I have to confess to getting a little distracted from his talk as I went on a bit of a nostalgia trip through Google to find this video.

Having access to a BBC Micro at school certainly had an effect on me and to repeat what Dan had said in his talk the shear joy of writing a small line of code to do the simplest thing and it working is an amazing feeling. Doing even just a small thing that tells the machine to change colour and then watching it change from Black to Cyan certainly inspired me.

For full details of the speaker check out the Session Guide.

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Emma Cooper

About the author

Emma Cooper

Rocket, Business Development Manager

Emma is Business Development Manager at Rocket a forward thinking creative digital agency. Emma has been working with clients and development teams to create vivid interactive experiences for over 15 years. Her career highlights so far include project managing a BAFTA Nominated Game for CBBC’s Dick ‘n’ Dom and working… Read more