On Monday, June 22nd, 2015, the CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG) sent a team of judges to the Royal Society to take part in the TeenTech Awards. The Group Chair, Jane Secker, was joined by Rebecca Jones, Geoff Walton and Darren Flynn, who were part of a wider group of ILG committee members asked to judge a new award for Research and Information Literacy.
TeenTech is a initiative for 13-16 years old to encourage schools to develop science, technology and innovation projects. The students works in groups of up to three and are supported through regional innovation days and contact with industry and university advisors. They enter their project into one of 16 categories, such as health, wearable technology, energy or transport. There are several cross-category awards where all projects are judged, including innovation, digital skills and the new award sponsored by the ILG.
The new award is being formally launched next year but the ILG were asked to review all 44 projects shortlisted across all the TeenTech categories, to judge their research and information literacy skills. We became involved in TeenTech earlier this year when our group Chair, Jane Secker, met with TeenTech CEO Maggie Philbin. Maggie immediately understood the need for young science and technology research to be underpinned with information literacy skills, and out of their meeting in January came the idea of the new award.
It was a fabulous day for the four judges, who had the opportunity to speak to all of the projects we shortlisted in our category. We were really interested in how the students used information sources, how they evaluated them and then how they used and presented the research in their innovation log. We highly commended the Costello School’s TEE Energy project and Loreto Grammar School’s Elements project, both of which included a separate research log detailing their information sources and research skills. However, the out-and-out winner was Birkdale School in Sheffield for a wearable technology project to develop clothing that could change colour. This project displayed a high level of research skills and the ability to synthesise really well some of the complex scientific information the team had found. The team had also used the information they had found to inform every stage of the research process, and clearly demonstrated how this had affected their decision making.
Our award was presented by actress and comedian Katy Brand, and other celebrities involved in TeenTech include James May, Christian Jessen, Martha Lane Fox and Caroline Criado-Perez. TeenTech’s patron is HRH the Duke of York, who joined us to open the event and wish Maggie a happy birthday! We are all really looking forward to our continuing involvement in TeenTech next year, and hope to offer the projects a range of support to help guide their research.