Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Playstation Education Revolution

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Playstation Education Revolution

Article excerpt

Byline: By Graeme Whitfield

A North headteacher is spearheading a project to rescue the minds of the PlayStation Generation ( by teaching them through their games machines.

Ged Lee, headteacher at Hirst High School, in Ashington, Northumberland, began the project two years ago after learning that almost all of his students had Sony PlayStations, but only 20pc had home computers.

But his initial hopes of turning the large PlayStation ownership into a tool for teaching at Hirst have now ballooned into a multi-national

consortium aiming to turn thousands of computer gamers back onto education.

The Epic consortium ( which stands for Educational Programmes In Consoles ( hopes the project will have particular benefits in reaching young people previously lost by the education sector.

By using the very machines often blamed for distracting youngsters from homework, the consortium is hoping to tap into the popularity of PlayStations among disaffected young people.

That prospect has seen it win backing from PlayStation manufacturers Sony, leading software company Criterion and education researchers at Liverpool University.

Mr Lee, who retires as Hirst head at the end of this month, is now looking for commercial backing to take the work done in Ashington onto the global stage.

He said: "We did a survey in the school catchment area and found that where computer ownership was normally around 70pc, in our area it was as low as 20pc.

"But virtually everybody had a PlayStation. It occurred to us that using the PlayStations would be very motivational to young people, particularly disaffected youngsters who might not go to school or learn well while they were there.

"Kids learn very rapidly on the PlayStation. The speed with which they can manipulate the console is incredible.

"The games are designed to challenge them and they have to adapt and improve their skills to get to the next level. …

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