Duke of York backs edtech

Rebecca Paddick took a trip to Buckingham Palace for the TeenTech Awards ceremony, and also got a royal take on the future of edtech

HRH The Duke of York congratulated the winners of the 2014 TeenTech Awards at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace yesterday. The industry-led initiative helps kids to realise the potential of STEM subjects. 

This year’s winning designs, included a wristband which tells you when you’ve eaten your five-a-day, wardrobes that choose and deliver your clothing and gloves which translate speech.

Coding in schools

When asked about the challenges of teaching coding in schools the duke said there was “no point trying to come up with an all-encompassing plan,” and “every school is going to have to find their own way of doing it.” 

“Young people need to recognise, that at some stage they will be coming to what I would describe as hard physical contact with coding, so therefore, we’ve got to find ways to be able to teach it,” he added. 

The duke also noted the high volume of young girls submitting ideas, and winning awards at this year’s event, and insisted that there are “no barriers to women working in the digital universe.” 

He continued: “It may have been in the past that boys took up computer programming at an earlier stage, but it is very encouraging to see so many girls come up with some very clever and innovative ideas.” 

TeenTech works to connect youngsters directly with businesses, giving them the opportunity to engage with the industry and understand how to develop their idea through all aspects of the design journey – from conception through to market delivery.

Links to industry

A number of this year’s winners are already working closely with businesses to develop their design. The team at Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham Cheshire, which won for their happiness and wellbeing app ‘Stepping Out’, now has the support from the digital team at Childline on their project.

“We have to create an enterprising culture, said the duke, adding: “You’ve got to give kids either the inspiration or encourage them to aspire to something. If you inspire a young person, it changes their life completely. All of us can remember a teacher, mentor or somebody who has inspired us to do something we would have never thought possible.”