On 10 October, a group of Year 8 pupils went to the TeenTech South West Festival in Bristol.  Teentech is the brainchild of Maggie Philbin (remember Tomorrow’s World on TV 1965 – 2003?) with events held across the country to help young people understand the opportunities for careers in science, technology and engineering and to inspire the ‘innovators of tomorrow’.

The event was set up like a business conference with over 200 attendees, displays and activities hosted by over 20 technological industries from engineering to app development, followed by break-out sessions covering Insight, Challenge and Innovation.

In the Insight Zone, pupils had the chance to look at technology from the past (cassette recorders and early mobile phone ‘bricks’) alongside emerging technologies of today, gaining hands-on experience with robots and virtual reality.  The Challenge Zone tested their teamwork and strategies to overcome a cyber-attack (based on real-life events) by challenging them to think creatively.  The Innovation Zone offered the opportunity to work with experts in coming up with new and innovative ideas for technology which, for those who wished, were then bravely presented to all the attendees.

Two Dean Close teams won certificates which was very exciting for the group –

Joel and Aidan, for their hand-warming and phone-charging umbrella with built in safety lights for visibility. They thought carefully about the technology needed and ways to use rechargeable technology to save battery waste.

Samuel and James, for their idea that involved a holographic image of your contacts when you call them using a mobile phone. They went a step further to talk about haptic feedback so that there is a feeling of touch so you can high-five or hug the hologram. They also talked about blocking unknown contacts and possible safety mechanisms.

Charlotte Rubringer, Head of Computing and Digital Learning at Dean Close Prep School, said “TeenTech was a fabulous opportunity for pupils to meet some real experts in the world of technology. They were shown some pieces of emerging technology and were able to test prototypes in some fantastic hands-on activities. I was very pleased with the way that they engaged in the activities and worked collaboratively to come up with some brilliant solutions.”