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Pitch it to the 'Friendly Dragons'

There's no need to be afraid of the dragons in their den at this year's Scottish Learning Festival. They won't be as scary as their TV counterparts because they're not being asked to part with hard-earned cash, says Derek Robertson.

"Pupils who make it to the final will have 10 minutes each to present their ideas to the Dragons, with the overall winner receiving a guided tour of Denki, the computer games manufacturer in Dundee - and the knowledge that they've impressed some of the best in the business."

That business is computer games, a medium that - given the right tools and learning conditions - can engage, enthuse and educate young people.

"A basic principle in making computer games educationally effective," he says, "is to develop a culture of creation, not just consumption. We get kids' ideas and creative juices flowing. Then we help turn those ideas into reality with software and applications that challenge and extend their skills, as they progress through primary and secondary.

"This competition gives them the chance to showcase their imagination and ideas by devising a concept for a computer game and pitching it to the Dragons. The presentation can take any form they like, but we suggest five things to focus on: the basic idea; the target audience and appeal; what the game will look like; what makes it original and how they would market it."

"Friendly Dragons" at the Scottish Learning Festival are Chris van der Kuyl of Brightsolid, David Thomson of Denki and Colin Macdonald of Realtime Worlds. Entries are due in today, but anyone wishing to learn from the feedback - or simply give their support to the finalists - can turn up at the "Dragons' Den" in the Education Show-case on September 24 at 1pm.

- Classroom poster:

- Futurelab Possibilities: reports-articlesproject-reports

The Scottish Learning Festival is at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow, from September 23-24.

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