Joyce Martin (JCS Director) was delighted to be invited by Jane Secker, Chair of CILIPs Information Literacy Group (ILG) and a sponsor of TeenTech to join its team of judges for the TeenTech Awards held in London at Savoy Place on Monday 24 June.

TeenTech was set up in 2008 by Maggie Philbin* (who some readers may remember from Tomorrow’s World) to help young people understand the opportunities in the science, technology and engineering industries and to see how science and technology can be applied to real world problems. TeenTech Awards enables small groups of students to come up with an idea which will make life easier, simpler, safer or more fun, and submit projects explaining their idea and their research behind it.

The award for Research and Literacy sponsored by ILG recognises excellence in the ability to find, evaluate and use information to inform the creation of the TeenTech projects. All projects are considered for this cross-category award and the following three were the ones selected as finalistsall of whom were from Years 7-11:

Loreto Grammar School – Lauren, Isabel, and Beth for ‘Mediplus’

Our aim is to reduce waiting times in A&E and ease the patient’s use of the service. MediPlus improves the standards of the UK health service by using mapping technology to divert queues.

Stephen Perse Foundation School – Leyla for ‘Gardening to Save the Planet’

YOU can help save the planet. Chose plants that provide a carbon sink to include in your garden and take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Wimbledon High School – Antonia and Amber for ‘Stress-Less Desk’

Our idea is an IR camera that attached to a desk and a mirror. The IR camera would link to an app in which you can set a maximum and minimum time that you spend at your desk. The mirror will be alerted by the IR camera when someone stands in front of the mirror for a prolonged amount of time. It will then send an activity and/or tell the person something positive to get their mind off their body image.

(Project descriptions taken from the TeenTech Awards 2019 Programme.)

Joyce judged the three projects alongside Jonas Herriot, Librarian Henley Business School and a member of ILG, using the following criteria set by the Group:

  • The aim
  • Research and development
  • Asking an expert and evaluating the information
  • Primary research
  • Range of resources

It didn’t prove an easy task as all three teams had clearly worked hard on their projects and showed so much enthusiasm and passion for their schemes, but a winner was agreed.

Joyce was delighted to have the chance to present the award in what turned out to be an Oscars style ceremony – but minus all the glitzy frocks and DJs!

Opening the gold envelope, Joyce was pleased to announce the winner as Leyla from Stephen Perse Foundation School. In the judging it was clear that Leyla had made good use of information she’d received from plant experts in her aim to help save the planet, and had taken on board mid-project feedback from ILG to improve her referencing.

Joyce thoroughly enjoyed her first experience of the TeenTech Awards and was completely blown away by the amazing ideas from across all categories – and from students as young 12.

One of the biggest take-aways for Joyce from TeenTech is the importance of a good plan, researching and citing reliable sources of information, and using experts in the field for help and advice. These research skills need to be taught early in the learning journey so they come naturally and easily for any essay or project.

For details of all the winners visit the TeenTech website.

*TeenTech’s Chief Executive, Maggie Philbin, was named Digital Leader of the Year 2016 and awarded an OBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List for her work with TeenTech.

View the JCS Resources available through JCS for schools to support research skills, independent learning and critical thinking here.

We are pleased to be featuring a session about TeenTech at the JCS 2019 conference. Find out more here.