Pupils from Portsmouth High School travelled to London this week to take part in the first Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) Digital Leaders’ Conference.
The event, attended by nearly 200 girls from schools across the GDST network, involved teams competing to develop an idea for a new digital technology product or service.
Portsmouth High School girls came up with the idea of having QR codes on notice boards so they became fully multimedia. Pupils could scan in the code and listen to the poem being read by the author or watch a video explaining that topic. It would make it possible to download a digital copy of the artwork on display and set it as their background or answer some questions in an online quiz.
Supported by industry mentors from companies including Accenture, Atos, BT, Discovery Education and Morgan Stanley, each team produced a webpage, drafted a financial plan and delivered an elevator pitch to promote their idea.
Also speaking at the event was Ian Livingstone CBE, co-founder of Games Workshop and co-creator of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series. When Executive Chairman of Eidos, he also launched global video games franchises including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and is now the Government’s digital skills champion.
‘Teaching children to use software but not how to create it is like teaching them how to read but not how to write,’ said Mr Livingstone. ‘Events like the Digital Leaders’ Conference encourage young people to take ownership of the technology around them, so they can become masters of their own digital creations.’
Portsmouth High School’s IT Coordinator, Mr Jonathan Smith, hopes that the event will inspire a lifelong passion for technology.
‘The girls are naturally excited by technology,’ said Mr Smith. It is all about giving them the confidence that they can also be innovators and make a meaningful contribution to the technology of the future. They did really well at selling their idea and developed some really useful skills from the day and were highly praised by an Apple employee for their ideas.’
The conference also saw the launch of the GDST ‘App Design Challenge’, which will involve students from across the GDST network compete to tackle a problem or issue they feel passionately about. Winners in three categories – social, gaming and lifestyle – will be announced later this year.