TeenTech Awards 2021: Information Literacy Group Engagement is much needed

Thank you to Sarah Pavey for this blog post about the recent TeenTech Awards Ceremony 2021.

TeenTech is an award-winning charity, founded in 2008 by Maggie Philbin and Chris Dodson to help students see the wide range of career possibilities within science, technology and engineering. There is an annual awards scheme and until recently an award was given for information literacy sponsored by ILG (and last year with additional financial support from JCS Online). Unfortunately lack of funding resulted in putting our involvement on hold and we were unable to support our award this year. However, Jane Secker was invited to be the main judge for the “Best Research” award, and this keeps ILG in touch with a fantastic initiative.

On Monday 12th July at 4:00pm, tech celebrities including Brian Cox, Kate Russell, LJ Rich, Rory Cellan-Jones and Stephen McGann (Dr. Turner in Call the Midwife) Dallas Campbell, and Suzie Imber joined students, parents and teachers across the UK to celebrate the outstanding 59 projects claiming a place in the finals of the TeenTech Awards Ceremony 2021. These projects had been selected from submissions from over 14,000 students during the past year – even more incredible when we consider the difficult situation in attending school and access to facilities during the pandemic. Most participants 14-16 years old plus some in the 6th Form (17-18 years old). The youngest finalist this year was only 10 years old – such bright hopes for the future! Again, due to the COVID-19 restrictions the awards ceremony had to be held online for a second year.

In total there were 13 award categories for Energy and Environment, Wearable Technology, Transport, Health, Safety and Security, Digital Skills, Best Innovation (for 6th form students only), Food and Retail, Creative and Digital Media (a new award), Data Science, Design and Construction, Education ( I am still slightly worried by the AI marking system for long exam questions which was a winning entry) and the Best Research award.

The selection for “Best Research” was between 2 individuals and 1 group entry. The topics included biometrics and inspiration for engineering from studying animal biomechanics. Howevcr, the judges selected what might be perceived as a rather gruesome yet fascinating project as the winner and our own Jane Secker presented Dylan with his award. This was an amazing piece of research, working with Keele University and developing thermal imaging techniques on decomposing pigs. Pig biochemistry is very similar to humans and so Dylan’s research could be used by forensic police teams to help identify and find missing persons. A well-deserved winner, Jane and the judging panel complimented him on his approach to primary and secondary research on the topic and its application in practice.

This year there were also additional certificates for finalists demonstrating personal skills for teamwork, tenacity, thinking big and bold, outstanding communication and working with industry. We know many of these skills underpin the fundamentals of information literacy and as a group we will be working hard to find a sponsor so maybe we can re-introduce our own award next year. You can watch the whole ceremony here and see Jane in action!

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