Eidos life president Ian Livingstone is looking to found a free-school in London’s Hammersmith borough in which to teach children with the core skills of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).
Speaking with GI International, Livingstone said he desire to focus on education stems from the need to train today’s youth “for jobs that don’t yet exist.”
“It seems that people are forced to do all of their fun learning outside of school,” said Livingstone. “My simple common-sense proposition is that we should encourage the fun learning within school instead. I think fun and enjoyment are often seen as past-times rather than learning experiences, which means that they become trivialized in people’s eyes as not having any real value. There’s a lot of academic snobbery, particularly in this country, that means you’re expected to have this ‘rigour’ in your learning, which translates to misery.
“You’re required to learn quadratic equations – when was the last time you did one of those? People are forced to learn a multitude of facts, which are largely irrelevant, in order to pass these random memory tests, exams which are basically a lottery. That world has totally changed now
“We’ve got high speed broadband, we work in connected environments. The ways in which kids work in particular – they’re part of totally connected worlds. You can see by the way they share everything by their smartphones, their activities, knowledge and private details, yet we still ask them to sit quietly in isolation whilst someone at the front talks at them – asking them to note down things which they can always Google at any time. I think you should take facts as a given – you don’t need to cram your own hard drive, your brain, with all this data that you could just access at a click of the mouse. It’s how you process that information.”
Livingstone believes that if children learn meta-skills of problem solving and communication, these can be applied to all subjects while promoting creativity and collaboration in tandem through peer-to-peer learning. This, according to him, is a more meaningful way to learn than being asked to memorize facts.
“We’ve got to encourage creativity, innovation and enterprise if we do want to get that mentality,” he said. “Well we’re certainly going to bring the educational environment closer to the workplace to give kids life skills, because those with As currently aren’t necessarily the best students, they just happen to know how to pass exams. The disaffected kids with the Cs and Ds, they might be better employees.
“We’ve got to make sure that people understand their own value to start off, and [it's] our ambition to have, established, trained teachers and staff, at the time we’re going to have strong links with industry to make the learning relevant and applicable to life.”
The school, should it be approved, will contain a 120 in total population to start, and build up to 700.
You can find out more on Livingstone’s proposal through the official website of The Livingstone School and through the GI International link.