Digital youth of the future

Education Technology spoke to Virgin Media at the recent BETT show to find out more about its plans for the Digital Youth Council

A group of pupils as young as nine presented to an audience of thousands to share ideas for the future of education technology with attendees at this year’s BETT Show.

The group of eight 9-17 year olds, who held their first summit in December, unveiled two disruptive ideas set to shake up the classroom – laying down the gauntlet for tech firms around the country to make them a reality.

The Council is part of Generation Tech, a national study launched last year by Virgin Media Business to explore the role of technology in education.

The first innovation on show was a smart wristband that replaces registers, school bells, reading lists and timetables to guide students through the school day. The second is an app that simulates a computer virus or hack, asking pupils to put in place measures to protect dummy data and scoring them on how much survives.

During the BETT show we spoke to Gerry Arthurs, director of public sector, Virgin Media Business, to find out more…

“BETT brings together the brightest and best ideas in education technology, and it’s only right that students themselves should play a part in the debate,” he explained.

“Since launching Generation Tech last summer, we’ve been the ones doing the learning about where schools are struggling to keep up with the digital revolution, and where others are leading the way.

“We invited 20,000 schools across the country to submit ideas from their most tech-savvy students. At the inaugural meeting, we asked the children to come up with ideas which would transform education and the results were amazing.

“We hope that through Generation Tech we are helping to stimulate new thinking.” 

During the presentation at BETT, Virgin Media Business also outlined its ‘Big Ask’: to improve use of technology in schools, calling on the Government to establish a nationwide ‘buddy system’ to help schools support each other and share best practice and resources.

The company will also reveal its own pledge to act as a ‘buddy’ to help local schools keep pace with the Digital Revolution.

“We are mindful that we’re rapidly approaching an election and so the next step for the Big Ask is to have the opportunity to collaborate with the government. The second step on the journey is for organisations such as ourselves to help set up ‘buddy systems’ with schools to share best practice. 

“Technology moves at such a pace that collaboration is absolutely essential.” 

For more information visit www.generationtechvmb.co.uk.

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