195 Piccadilly
London, England W1

Be Very Afraid is an annual event held 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. The event is hosted annually by Prof. Stephen Heppell

Be Very Afraid - Monday October 22nd from 10.00 am with support from DCSF, BECTA, RM, Intel, Apple, Nintendo, Microsoft and others.
For sponsorship or promotion opportunities please contact: [email protected]

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 phase goes 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!

Official Website: http://www.londongamesfestival.co.uk//Custom/EventDetail.aspx?ID=46

Added by mseckington on October 10, 2007

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