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Teen Tech – 'Inspiring Tomorrow's Innovators'

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I was invited by @MaggiePhilbin to attend a Teen Tech event in Tonbridge, Kent. A one day event to help young teenagers see the career possibilities in Science, Engineering and Technology.

For an outline of what Teen Tech is all about. Take a look at the site..  TeenTechEvent.com

I did a quick search and saw the beginnings of a conversation.

Heading for#teentech Kent. You can follow the experiences of 300 teenagers and 140 scientists,engineers and technologists on @teentechevent
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Just off to Kent to set up for Teentech tomorrow to promote engineering and science to school leavers with @maggiephilbin @teentechevent
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Heading for#teentech Kent. You can follow the experiences of 300 teenagers and 140 scientists,engineers and technologists on @teentechevent
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I arrived late the night before in Tonbridge and grabbed a chat with Maggie.

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And so TeenTech Kent is now set up and ready for the morning.what incredible technology is ready for kent yongsters!
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The morning for me started with breakfast and then a short walk to the Riverside Centre.
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First thing you saw on the way in was a glass fountain where ideas and inventions would be posted throughout the day.
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I got to have a few quick chats in and around the exhibits before the mass of teenagers flooded the space. There was certainly some interesting tech in the room.

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The 3D screen on the LG was impressive but not as much as split channel viewing from an unmodified 3D TV being shown off by the @BBCGreenRoom
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RoboChallenge, a small family business had in my opinion the most impressive looking display. Cars, robots and a bike I couldn’t talk about much. ;o)

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The local University had some interesting exhibits to play with. Pushbike powered generators and thermal imaging cameras to name a couple.

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QR codes appeared to be dotted everywhere. In the halls, corridors, corners and even the toilets. Will next year’s events be playing with near field communication?

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Above is my new QR code made by @RichardMackney

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I was quite excited to see the Skeleton Bob Simulator. One of only two in the world.

I got to have a go myself. Luckily there is no footage. I was crap. It was harder than it looked and I spent most of my time in a tree. Great experience though.
I have found a quiet corner (behind a locked door) to hide from the knowledge hungry teenagers at #teentech
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There was so much energy in the rooms I was glad to escape for a few moments to update a couple of blogs.

 

I wasn’t the only one with a momentary escape plan.

Wiped out by enthusiasm of students at #teentech in Kent. Tweeting from loo -only place I can go without being bombared by keen questions
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In a glass cubicle, students were using locally developed software that’s now used worldwide to create e-fits of suspects involved in crime.
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The kids were read a description to assemble and it was amazing how similar everyone’s results were.
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The guys on the Samsung stand had some cool mobile and TV tech to show off. They also gave a hint at the future of Smart TV.

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..and the fountain of ideas kept on growing.
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There was so much to see and document. I didn’t even scrape the surface of what was going on in all the corners.

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The kids and their teachers absorbed everything the industry geeks could throw at them. There seemed to be just the right balance between sat down thinking and hands on experimenting.
It was mostly the latter.
When I walked in, the “Fountain of ideas’ was empty apart from a QR code hinting towards the day’s activities. Towards the end of the day it was crammed with post-it notes, all holding ideas, inventions and innovations from the minds of the teenagers attending.
From voice activated toilets to metal detecting phones. There was also an unhealthy smattering of jetpack related inventions floating round.
Who knows.. Perhaps one of these guys will go on to develop the first commercially available commuter jetpack. Looking at the ideas falling out of their minds and into the conversations at the Teen Tech Event, I wouldn’t be surprised if when they do, it has lasers on it.
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I need four arms & eight cameras. What’s that saying about working with children & animals? #TeenTech
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It was great to see the teachers as enthralled and excited as the kids. I heard one teacher squeal with excitement watching the Skeleton Bob Simulator.

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Upstairs the teenagers were inventing and marketing app ideas.

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More great ideas were followed by rewards and prizes for those that impressed the judges.

 

Maggie Philbin appeared to have more energy than the teenagers in the final wrap up. They had certainly been mentally and physically tested over the day. As we all had.

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And finally, Best App at #teentech went to I Forgot My Glasses – enter your prescription, and it magnifies text accordingly.
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Happy to see the inventor of the Beard Hoover get an award. #TeenTech
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The feedback system in place had the attendees voting via remote devices and the results projected on the large screen in the main hall.
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It was obvious to see that the opinions of Scientists and Engineers as well as the perceived importance of Maths had massively changed from the not that impressed to the positive.

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Kent based Cummins had played a large part in the day and sounded like they’d been inspired just as much as the kids.
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Dave Addey’s team from Agant working with Alyson Fielding had won over so many minds with their App inventing session.

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Wrapping up here in Kent. Heading north soon.
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Personally I thoroughly enjoyed the day. In a way I wish I’d spoken to more kids ‘on the record’. The ones I did get to chat with during the whirlwind of activities said they’d love this kind of thing to happen every month. “It’s like 30 fields trips in a day” said a young lad obviously impressed.

I don’t remember ever getting this kind of exposure to the people behind science and technology when I was at school. We had work experience in out final year but that seemed too little to late.
In regards to science, technology and engineering, quite a few young minds left a little more enlightened at the end of the day. It was a great day for them as well as for industry.
Teen Tech is a CIC. Their tagline on the website is ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Innovators’.
On the day I spent with them, they certainly achieved that.
If you feel like you can do the same. Please let them know.

I’m @Documentally on twitter

About Documentally

Talking, teaching and documenting using mobile tools. Running workshops and consulting worldwide with a focus on social technology.