Virgin gives pupils voice in ed tech

Children in 20,000 UK schools are being invited by Sir Richard Branson to share how technology is supporting their learning

Generation Tech, the country’s first state-of-the-nation review of the vital role that technology plays in education, is being launched today by Virgin Media Business. â€¨â€¨The company which powers a national programme for schools IT, is calling for submissions from pupils and teachers across the country to answer ‘the Big Digital Question’: how schools today are embracing the 21st century classroom and how it can continue to enhance learning tomorrow. 

The final study aims to show the deep and long lasting impact technology is already having on the education of our young people, and what the future holds. â€¨â€¨

Generation Tech will also include the hunt for members for the UK’s first Digital Youth Council, through nominations made by schools.

The Council will be a forum for young people to engage directly with leading influencers in education. The students chosen as members will lead The Big Debate in the autumn – the first meeting of the Council – where they will have an opportunity to highlight the issues of greatest importance to them.  

Sir Richard said: “As children, we didn’t have to tackle the digitalised world but we also didn’t have the opportunities that it brings to today’s younger generation. We need to embrace technology at every step and make it a force for good as we educate the next generation.”

Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said: “Technology is everywhere and it’s vital that children understand how to make it work for them. This is why we are introducing rigorous new curricula in maths and computing which will teach children skills like coding and programming along with the maths which underpins computer science. Students need to be confident in both to understand the basis of the modern world and be able to contribute to the future.
 â€¨“I look forward to seeing the results of the Big Question – who better to ask about what works in the classroom than children themselves.”

Mario Di Mascio, executive sales director, Virgin Media Business, said: “Schools across the country are doing a brilliant job in adapting to the digitalisation of our world in classrooms and new teaching methods. Pupils and teachers know better than anyone what is working and where the use of digital technologies can be improved, so it’s time that someone stopped to listen and learn from them.
 â€¨“In the UK, we have a bigger digital economy than any other developed nation and our children will be vital in helping us stay in pole position. We have a duty as a country to help schools achieve great things through technology to make sure we sustain this powerful advantage.”

Virgin Media Business is already a major player in the education space, counting amongst its client base a significant number of schools across the UK. Around 2,500 in London under a major partnership with London Grid for Learning, primary schools in Hampshire and educational institutions across Cambridge have had their learning environments transformed with the introduction of high tech classrooms powered by the company.
ʉ۬Generation Tech is one of a number of initiatives from Virgin Media Business geared towards staying up to date with the needs of the education sector and the challenges they face.

Earlier this month, TRUSTnet was launched, a game-changing package of digital services and content, offered through London Grid for Learning Trust and powered by Virgin Media Business, which will simplify access to the latest technology for schools.

Big Digital Question submissions will be hosted at and registration to take part opened on 28th April. Nominations for the Digital Youth Council can also be made at this address and will close on 6th June. Submissions for the Digital Youth Council will be reviewed by a panel of experts from Virgin Media Business.