Make computing creative fun

Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology journalist and broadcaster

When I was at school there was just one giant computer, housed in the science block, and only boys wearing white coats and taking Physics A-level were allowed to approach it. Anyway, someone studying arts subjects wasn’t supposed to be interested in something so nerdy.

Fortunately the divide between the arts and sciences – the two cultures described by CP Snow – has narrowed over the last thirty years. But we still need to do more to convince a new generation that science and creativity do go together, that you can be an artistic geek or a geeky artist.

ICT has been swept out of the curriculum and replaced with the much more rigorous Computer Science – but there’s worrying evidence that fewer children, and very few girls, are opting for the subject.

So here’s my idea – make it compulsory for any coding or computing qualification to include a hands-on creative element.  It could involve creating a video game or a 360 degree film – or even better collaborating with others to design and build a robot.
The Maker Movement and the Raspberry Pi community are two great examples of how people with different skills and interests can come together to make wonderful things. Let’s take inspiration from them and tear down the walls between the sciences and the arts.

Rory Cellan-Jones has been a reporter for the BBC for thirty years, covering business and technology stories for much of that time.He joined the BBC as a researcher on Look North in 1981, moving to London to work as a producer in the TV Newsroom and on Newsnight.

He now covers technology for television, radio and the BBC website. He also blogs regularly on “dot rory”, the BBC’s popular technology blog, , and is a prolific tweeter  – you can follow him at @ruskin147 or @BBCRoryCJ . In 2012 readers of T3 magazine voted him Gadget Personality of The Year.  And whenever there is a new gadget or useful website to try,  Rory is likely to be experimenting with ways of using the new tools in his journalism. He is also the author of “Dot Bomb”, a critically acclaimed account of Britain’s dot com bubble.

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