Daljit Kaur was originally nominated for the TeenTech Teacher of the Year award by her students at Loughborough Grammar School. Over the course of 2015, the TeenTech judges and awarding body OCR then shortlisted her for the national award before naming her as the overall winner.
The TeenTech Awards aim to celebrate talent and enable young people to make real-life contact with experts in the world of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Every year hundreds of enthusiastic teams throughout the UK register for the contest, sponsored and managed by the science event organisation TeenTech CIC. For participating teams to win their place in the finals, they need to prove high levels of collaboration with experts in the world of technology and engineering.
Technological exploration has been a key part of the curriculum at Loughborough Endowed Schools, with 3D printing, humanoid robots and virtual reality headsets all leading to the development of innovative projects.
The Loughborough Grammar School computing department has led the way, encouraging students to participate in a variety of clubs, including the animation club, app-making club, gaming club, programming club and STEM club, which encompasses robotics and electronics. The STEM club has provided access to new technology such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino kits and Lego Mindstorms to fuel creativity and find new ways in which technology can be used in the wider world. The schools recently purchased a NAO humanoid robot and staff are already beginning to see lower-school students challenge themselves by writing complicated and creative programs for it to execute.
School teams have reached the finals of STEM competitions including TeenTech, Big Bang and Google Science Fair. Many students now explore app making and game making, with a large number of students having their own YouTube channels. Senior A-level computing students have created games as part of their A-level submissions, and this year a team has been selected for a Nuffield research placement for their STEM project.
Working across the curriculum with other STEM departments, the computing department now aims to integrate computer coding with the 3D printing, laser cutting and electronics facilities available at the school. Through this, the department hopes to create an environment in which students can work on innovative projects in any field, such as energy-saving mechanisms or wearable technology.
Daljit Kaur received the TeenTech accolade for bringing STEM-based innovation and creativity to the classroom at the East Midlands independent school for boys. She has worked for a number of years to create an environment in which students are able to explore their ideas and maximise the potential for those ideas to become reality. She has been at the forefront of trialling new technologies, apps and software at the school, including the programmable humanoid NAO robot.
Daljit has seen many of her teams through to the finals over the years: this year’s TeenTech Teacher of the Years judges were impressed by her multiple successes, but in particular her dedication: nearly all the initiatives she has introduced take place outside the classroom in the form of after-school or lunchtime clubs with trips to universities organised on Saturdays. Daljit has also worked closely with STEM ambassadors from Leicestershire, via STEM manager Judith Payne, to bring experts from different fields into school to speak to students.
“I thoroughly enjoy teaching and sparking the imagination of young people,” she said. “I am just so excited to see what the next generation of young innovators and visionaries will programme, create or build to transform the world at a national or international level.”
Loughborough Endowed Schools: www.lesgrammar.org