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Be Very Afraid

The future of creative learning

Date: Monday October 22nd

Time: from 10.00 am with support from DCSF, BECTA, RM, Intel, Apple, Nintendo, Microsoft and others

Tickets: please contact: lys@heppell.net for invitation

Be Very Afraid is an annual event at BAFTA combining ingenious students - from primary to university age, cool technology, conversations with key influencers, and some remarkable projects - all jammed into a room which is literally bursting with creativity. Be Very Afraid is hosted annually by Prof. Stephen Heppell

Some years back, in conversation with a number of senior policy makers from what were then DFES and DCMS, it became clear that much of the remarkable progress that schools and students were making with ICT was somehow passing them by. Of course, they knew what children should be doing - the curriculum was prescriptive enough, and they knew what the aggregates suggested was happening to those prescriptions, but those prescriptions lagged a long way behind practice. Children are ingenious, teachers are imaginative and ICT is seductive. As a consequence, progress is rapid and diverse. Initially, a representative sample of students were assembled together to offer some evidence of that progress so that policy makers could, with some discretion, chat to them about what they were doing.

At the end of the first such get together, a senior policy maker, who had been hugely engaged for some hours in deep conversation with primary through to university students, was asked for a for a view. "Frankly" he volunteered "I'm terrified! They are so far ahead of where I thought we were".

And thus began what has become an annual event "Be Very Afraid", held at BAFTA with around ten to a dozen institutions featured each year. Sometimes they are the same institutions - their annual progress is always enlightening - sometimes new ones are added. The age phasegoes from primary to university level and each year around 200 senior key influencers, and some celebrities from cinema and TV are invited along - as a networking opportunity alone it is worth being there!. These days they have got over the fright, but relish the conversations! A DVD captures the student interviews and is widely circulated after the event and the website takes a huge number of hits from all round the world.

We've seen primary girls, worried about their peers' grasp of basic grammar, creating and sharing a "Noun Rap"; we've seen undergraduates with social websites running collecting voters voices through phone boxes and influencing elections in South America; we've seen secondary students podcasting healthy eating recipes to an weekly audience that includes teachers; the diversity is electrifying. But one common item is always on show and it is the engagement and animation of the learners when talking, most especially to each other, about their projects. They share a language of technology, learning, ambition and delight, without any age barriers.

"Be Very Afraid" poses a number of questions for policy makers. It is clear that the old "factory schools" who were "delivering" a curriculum into "empty vessels" are disappearing. But what is replacing them is exciting AND effective. Be Very Afraid annually brings us all up to speed with what our children are capable of, when you add inspired teachers, new technology, imagination and a little space into the mix. It has become a major fixture for senior policy makers and for those who care about the future of cinema, television, games and learning. nowadays, they are afraid to miss it!

Check out www.londongamesfestival.com for the latest news and information about all of the events taking place this year.

For further information on London Games Festival please contact Simon Watts (Cake) on 020 7307 3100 or Duncan Best (London Games Festival) on 020 7534 0584.

Notes to Editors:

The London Games Festival is a celebration of games and interactive entertainment taking place during late October 2007. The Festival will feature a series of diverse events in different venues for different audiences. Whether you’re a gamer, a parent needing advice on games, someone working in the industry, or someone wanting to find out more about how games work and where the future of entertainment will take us, this is a festival for you.

About London Games Festival

The London Games Festival is a weeklong cultural and business celebration of computer and video games, reflecting their influence and importance as central to popular culture and entertainment. Created by the London Development Agency and with the full support of the industry, trade bodies (ELSPA and Tiga) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, it will provide an exciting week of consumer and trade events in the capital. The Festival is a collection of independent events, which will run concurrently at venues throughout the city between 22 and 26 October 2007.

About the LDA

The London Development Agency (LDA) works to improve the quality of life for all Londoners and drive sustainable economic growth.

It aims to improve the quality of life for all Londoners by driving sustainable economic growth and keeping the capital competitive. Its role is to bring together the right people, skills and resources to deliver real results in the long term, responding to the needs and ambitions of communities and businesses.

The LDA invests more than?400 Million a year to create jobs and develop healthy, sustainable communities. It also supports London as a financial, educational and research centre. It tackles the barriers to employment for certain groups, encourages business and cultural activities and improves infrastructure and the environment.

The LDA takes on major projects and difficult issues and is constantly looking for fresh ways of doing things and better ways of achieving sustainable growth.

In this way the LDA ensures all Londoners can gain from and contribute to London’s economic success.

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