Serif in Education

The importance of Creative Content

Computers have become an integral part of our society. With the introduction of the new computing curriculum last September came more focus on digital literacy.  An important aspect of computing around how children can be taught to safely, responsibly and critically navigate and evaluate what they see and use on computers and the world wide web.  There is now more focus on computer science as a whole – how digital systems actually work, and how they are applied in the digital world.

But with computers replacing items such as books, crayons and scissors, it is also vital for children to learn to use computers as creative tools. To help them understand that computers can be used to also create content to accomplish given goals.  The importance of this is now apparent, as it is also covered as part of the new computing curriculum Key Stage 2.

Technology has enhanced every sector of business. It’s clear that when learning new technology, students must be prepared for not just today but a life that doesn’t yet exist. Developing technology will ultimately be born that hasn’t yet been invented. This will present technological challenges and create ethical situations that we are not yet aware of.  As part of this, it is important for pupils to learn not only computer skills that are relevant for the “now”, or if they choose a career specifically in computer science, but transferrable skills that give them independence from specific technologies.  They need to learn how to apply technology in the wider world.

In summary, students must learn to:

- Be safe online and off

- Understand disciplines of computers

- Create appropriate computer content

- Apply technology correctly and appropriately for purpose.

Technology has the ability to change how children think and learn from taking inspiration from the new technological environment around them.

Interactive and creative activities have taken on a new approach to increase achievement; teachers can stimulate children’s curiosity by taking them step-by-step through the graphical interface of computer software. And children enjoy and engage in computing activities which are artistic and allow them to express themselves. As part of that, and in order to keep children interactive and engrossed in the subject, effective use of graphic illustration is essential.

In our digital era, children can be taught to source images for their inspiration either over the internet or by simply downloading personal photographs from their digital cameras or smartphones. Software packages such as the Serif Design Suite come equipped with photo editing and image-effect features like PhotoPlus which turn children’s artwork into memorable collages or a simple expression of their emotions. Children can now turn to digital self-expression to freely express their minds.

But students can also use the Serif Design Suite software for more extensive projects in conjunction with other digital mediums, to create things like computer icons and images which can be programmed (by code) to become interactive. Take the computer game PAC-MAN for example.  The concept of PAC-MAN with a wide-open mouth came from a pizza – to keep the female audience in mind a cute ghost was designed in four different colours. The eyes were purposely made big on the ghosts to give them a ‘cute’ look. This type of design can all be explored using The Serif Design Suite and taken into other programs.

In conclusion, by providing students with a range of adequate computer resources like this, teachers can incorporate ideas creatively with innovative technologies to develop digital illustrations and computer animations.

All of the skills and imagination learnt using the Serif Design Suite are transferrable and allow students to successfully apply technology in the wider workplace and general world, whatever students choose to pursue – and this is really something we can celebrate.