One of the key challenges in education is how to incorporate modern technology into the classroom, without loss to the aesthetics or the fundamentals of good order.
Presenting the Great British Make Off
There is no doubt about it, good Design and Technology makes good press, and that’s exactly what the launch of the new design competition, The Great British Make Off is doing. Not only was it an opportunity to challenge Key Stage 3 students across the UK to demonstrate their creativity and innovation, it was also set to provide a really positive story to demonstrate just how important the subject is.
The four winning teams in the first ever Great British Make Off were revealed in November and their designs were showcased at the Design Museum on 15 December 2014.
Launched in July 2014 by the Design & Technology Association, the competition invited young people to create design concepts with the potential to transform Britain’s latest sporting passion, namely cycling. Working individually or in groups, D&T students addressed some of the common problems associated with cycling, including: safety, load carrying, bicycle security, and energy rich food products. Then they were required to make a short video to present their idea in concept form and submit it through the dedicated website. Clearly this proved an attractive opportunity and from the many more who engaged through their school D&T departments, over 150 entries were submitted.
A panel of experts, including professional designers, reviewed all of the entries over four categories; textiles, product design, systems & controls, and food.
From the Textiles Category, Neve Upton from Bideford College claimed the winning entry with Turn Bright – an indicating glove designed to let those around know which direction the cyclist is turning.
The winners of the Product Design Category were Jay Earnshaw, Rachel Creer, Ella Richards, and Iliya Ivanov from Sale Grammar School with their product Shock Tyres – a tyre which never goes flat.
Ramneek Ahluwalia from Beal High School was judged as the winner of the Systems & Controls Category with Find My Bike. Forgotten where you last saw your bike, this handy application will help you find it.
And finally, the winners from the Food Category were Paige Dean, Shauna Scott, and Airann Richards from Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy with Spa Dew – a great energy drink for those on the move combining five a day fruit and vegetables.
Big congratulations go to the winners of the first Great British Make Off, as well as a big thank you to all the students, teachers and schools who entered this exciting competition.
But the competition did not end there. As part of their prize each of the winning entrants was given the opportunity to visit for a day and work with the judges, expert designers and product developers to take their idea forward. These were Team Sky clothing supplier Rapha, the world’s leading folding bike company Brompton, innovative cycle safety company Blaze and food product developer and celebrity chef Steve Walpole of Steve Walpole Ltd. This enabled both refinement and development of the ideas.
To celebrate their success, an event was held in December at the Design Museum, Shad Thames in London, where the winning prototypes were on display at a special exhibition. Well-known broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle presented the awards, with a special presentation also being given by renowned designer Dick Powell, a long time advocate for the subject. This event was attended by the winning students, their teachers and experts from industry, education, together with representatives of the press.
Richard Green, CEO of the Design & Technology Association, commented: “The quality of ideas was very high. All the judges and companies involved were very impressed. This just shows what students who study D&T are capable of and why it is such an important subject for all young people.”
Dick Powell, co-founder of Seymour Powell, acted as chief judge. He commented: “Wow, this was really tough to judge! Great entries and all to a pretty high standard of presentation, not to mention clearly articulated.”
The event was subsequently reported by the BBC, LBC, TES and The Daily Telegraph. The coverage gained helped to bring to the attention of key educational decision makers just how valuable D&T is as a subject within the curriculum. The opportunity was not lost to make the link between the skills, knowledge and understanding it develops and our ultimate prosperity as a nation. The competition was a huge success and The Great British Make Off are exploring how they can best build on this experience in 2015.
Aims of the Great British Make-Off
The aim of the Great British Make Off was to shine a light on the creative, innovative and practical skills D&T instills in children. It aims to demonstrate the value of the subject that is, at best, often misrepresented and, at worst, completely ignored. It’s a subject that develops essential skills and knowledge for all pupils, but particularly for those who will go on to work in our creative, engineering and manufacturing sectors.
Much is said about STEM education – and the Design & Technology Association believes D&T has a major part to play in STEM – and therefore in addressing the skills shortages in these sectors.
The Great British Make Off aims to show that English schools have a subject in its curriculum (we were the first country in the world to introduce it 25 years ago), that is being looked at enviously by countries around the world and especially in the Far East at the very time we are at risk of losing it.