PRESS RELEASE

7 January 2015

DIGITAL YOUTH COUNCIL SHARES VISION FOR THE FUTURE AT BETT

A group of pupils as young as nine will present to an audience of thousands today 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, will unveil 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 company, along with Nathan John Dicks of education social enterprise Rewise Foundation, will facilitate the presentation, as well as sharing highlights from the Generation Tech research.

The first innovation that will be presented is 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 presentation, Virgin Media Business will outline 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.

Gerry Arthurs, director of public sector, Virgin Media Business, said: “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.

Today is about hearing from pupils themselves about the innovations they believe can really make a difference – and I hope tech firms and teachers alike will sit up and take note.

“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.

Technology is central to our children’s future, and to sustaining our country’s digital competitive advantage, so we hope our Big Ask will help ensure schools have the support and resources they need."

More information can be viewed at www.generationtechvmb.co.uk.

About Generation Tech

Generation Tech is the UK’s first state-of-the-nation review of the vital role that technology plays in education. It’s the most ambitious listening exercise ever conducted to understand how technology is shaping education, shining a light on the best examples and getting students and teachers excited about the future.

This survey was undertaken as part of Generation Tech – full data from the survey can be supplied on request. Generation Tech also includes the formation of a Digital Youth Council, to give young people a voice on digital issues affecting their learning.

More information on the campaign can be found at www.generationtechvmb.co.uk where video submissions from Sir Richard Branson, Tristram Hunt MP and Oliver Quinlan, Programme Manager Digital Education, Nesta, can be viewed.

Quotes

Gerry Arthurs, director of public sector, Virgin Media Business, said: "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. Today is about hearing from pupils themselves about the innovations they believe can really make a difference - and I hope tech firms and teachers alike will sit up and take note.

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