Tag Archives: Science

Talent Abounds at Big Bang SW

Team Juno with The Lord Mayor of Exeter
Team Juvo win ‘Best CREST Award’ presented by The Lord Mayor of Exeter

Talent abounds at Big Bang SW which is the South West’s schools largest celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Held at the University of Exeter on June 21st and organised by Education Business Partnership SW its impossible not to be caught up in an upward spiral of inspiration and STEM possibilities.

Almost 2000 students from across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Swindon and over 60 local, national and international organisations and sponsors, including Beckton Dickinson, Babcock International and Spirent arrived to showcase their work and inspire one another. An amazing ‘Mega Class’ in the form of an interactive science session for 500 students, led by the National Space Academy, took place in the Great Hall.

The prestigious Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition was one of many awards to be decided at this event.  Camborne Science and International Academy (CSIA) were delighted that students attending Nexus, their Gifted STEM programme, won two awards.  The Best Crest Award which was sponsored by Exeter City Council and awarded by The Lord Mayor of Exeter, herself a Maths & Physics graduate was won by team ‘Juvo’ (Latin for help, assist, aid) . Their project resulted from their desire to solve a problem: “We are Year 7s and we have first-hand experience of being new arrivals in a huge secondary school and needing some help finding our way around…” (Gabriel Almeida, Max Anthony and James Belshaw). Team Juvo came up with the concept of how schools could use technology to communicate better with students, staff and visitors with interactive screens positioned around the site. They thought through how essential it is to engage with students, staff and visitors by tailoring profiles containing a range of Apps to suit the three user groups. The interactive screens offered site maps, newsletters and school information accessible to all; to individual timetables, co-curricular activity information, school bulletin, CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) reporting, Google drive and more, accessible to students; with other specific Apps aimed at teachers. “It’s like a digital friend who is always there to help you …” (Gabriel, Max and James).

As part of the Nexus Co-Curricular Programme, students will be learning how to develop Apps and look forward to Juvo developing their idea further. Mira Oates, Nexus Co-Curricular and Primary Coordinator was  understandably proud and excited by both the success of both teams. “Huge congratulations to all the students who took part and I am incredibly proud of them. I was quietly confident our students would win something because the quality of their ideas and their passion. The Juvo team have an excellent concept which I can genuinely see it successfully used in schools and other organisations”. (Mira Oates)

A full list of awards and the talented teams can be found here

 

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Full STEAMM Ahead

Grand Challenges - University of Exeter - June 2016
Grand Challenges – Tackling 21st Century Interdisciplinary Dilemmas Together at the University of Exeter – June 2016

Recently we have been discussing the complex and volatile world in which we live and work, and the increasing need for more interdisciplinary teams.

Locally, Innovation Exeter is focused on cultivating a City-region which is a world-leader in environmental data analytics.  This is an interdisciplinary area and results will be achieved by exploiting the presence of the Met Office, the University of Exeter, the Science Park, the Maths School and other critical assets. STEM∗ STEMM° STEAMM℘ are top topics. Naomi Climer, the president of the Institute of Engineers, values the mix of creative and technical skills in individuals. However, the skills and personal qualities which underpin and enable interdisciplinary working in these highly technical areas are vital across all sectors and at all levels. If we are to tackle the productivity challenge and be more fulfilled individuals we need to unleash confidence, communicate effectively, collaborate meaningfully and re-discover curiosity.

Our meeting of Employers, Training Providers, Facilitators and Funders on Friday 25 November explored the theme Full STEAMM Ahead! Interdisciplinary STEAMM teams with strong collaborative abilities are the way ahead. We enjoyed presentations from and discussions with:

Kerry Burnham Exeter Maths School Creative and interdisciplinary project work with the University, Exeter College and employers – the benefits of being stuck!
Louise Cole & Kevin Feaviour Imagine If – Assets for Success Soft skills in schools, colleges, universities communities and the modern workplace

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Rosie Bates Education Business Partnership STEAMM & the EBP – STEM Ambassadors, Big Bang etc

ehod-esb-ebpsw-full-steamm-ahead

Anka Djordjevic Grand Challenges – University of Exeter Grand Challenges interdisciplinary enquiry –led learning with leading academics and external specialists

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Jo McCreedie Careers & Employability – University of Exeter Internships & employability experiences

(Presentation to be added when technical glitches solved!)

Our main discussion points identified our need to:

  • Transcend silo mentality and cross boundaries
  • Ensure students experience breadth and develop interdisciplinary skills as study subject areas become more specific
  • Think beyond the immediate demand for STEM and not to fixate on ‘the now’
  • Focus on ‘Character, values and virtues’

We will need an interdisciplinary, creative, collaborative, innovative group to make this happen.

This was an interesting and informative start to what should be a Grand Challenge for Exeter and beyond.

Thanks to the Met Office who generously hosted this meeting.


∗STEM – Science Technology Engineering Maths
° STEMM – Science Technology Engineering Maths Medicine
℘ STEAMM – Science Technology Engineering Arts Maths Medicine

Home for Met Office new super computer

Future home for Met Office Supercomputer on Exeter Science Park
Artist’s impression of the future home for Met Office Supercomputer on Exeter Science Park

The Exeter & Heart of Devon Employment and Skills Board (EHOD ESB) are working with local councils and the Growth Point team to maximise the potential for recruitment of local skills development and employment. In the Construction Industry this may be achieved through the adoption of the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Client Based Approach (CBA) which sets the expectation that construction companies and their sub contractors, whether new build or for maintenance, invest in local skills development and employment opportunities, managed and measured through a set of key performance indicators (KPI) commensurate with the project type and scale.

We are delighted that Willmott Dixon who will be building a home for the final part of the Met Office’s new supercomputer at the Exeter Science Park have already committed to:

  • Local spending, labour and employment which through a set of KPIs enable them to quantify the indirect economic impact of their work on local communities
  • Participate in the Construction Ambassadors’ scheme, where Willmott Dixon employees, visit schools, colleges and career events, and organise site visits and share positive experiences, promoting construction as a rewarding career.

Nationally Willmott Dixon’s 2014 community investment activities included:

  • £2.27 million contributed to enhancing local communities
  • 1,854 young people mentored
  • 326 young people had work placements
  • 500+ fundraising events for charity
  • 57 careers events interacting with 3,700 young people
  • 372 community events, from garden makeovers to renovations and repairs
  • 11 fantastic activities in the management trainee challenge contributing over £250,000 to local communities
  • 1,546 young people had their prospects transformed, (under Willmott Dixon’s definition) which is halfway towards h their target of 3000
  • £2,827 added by The Foundation’s Just Giving process to the £49,000 raised by staff through individual projects

Willmott Dixon say that “social and community investment and engagement is locked into our corporate DNA!”