Front row seats for the winners

Students from Smithills School, Bolton, have won Northgate Managed Services’ Innovation in Action 2010 competition, demonstrating forward-thinking ways new technology can help transform their school.

Created to reward innovation and collaboration using ICT, students from the six schools involved in the first phase of Bolton’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme were invited to turn detective at a major London technology exhibition, investigating new software or equipment they would like implemented at their school.

This January, students from Smithills School and LadyBridge High School, Bolton, visited BETT 2010, the largest education resource event in the world to discover new learning technologies and resources. Supported by teachers at study@bwfc, they were challenged to design an interactive presentation to show how particular technologies could benefit their peers and school.

Students from both schools worked hard to identify resources with real educational value as well as being fun and engaging. Commended by judges for their “excellent understanding and knowledge of technologies in a learning environment”, winning school Smithills students created a cinema-style virtual classroom and streamlined processes such as registration and school meals.

Demonstrating their commercial awareness, students also highlighted that their ‘cinema experience’ could be rented to the local community to help generate the funding.

David Hyland, managing director of education at Northgate Managed Services said: “Smithills School was chosen as the overall winning school because they demonstrated clearly the reasons for their choice, the applications and value to their education. Their recommendations for a cinema-style virtual classroom won it for them as they gave specific examples on how they would use the resources to aid learning and even a method to help fund this investment.”

Smithills School received a Mac Netbook as a prize with the eight students involved from both schools received an iPod nano each. Northgate Managed Services will also be reviewing all the ICT that each school demonstrated in their presentation to see if it can be developed commercially.