Engine Creative inspiring learning

Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving a workshop to three groups of Year 9 students at Northampton School for Girls. I was invited to deliver a presentation on my work at Engine Creative as part of a ‘Women in Careers’ day at the school organised by EBLO. I was also asked if I would put on an activity so the students could get hands-on experience of what I do.

Being not-so-long out of education, this was a great opportunity for me to go back with the boot on the other foot. The technical industries are truly male dominated so this was also a chance to inspire young women and show them that the technical side of the web is not just for boys. Giving three successive workshops meant I was able to develop the session and my presentation proficiency – a skill that will definitely be reused back at work.

The basics of interactive development are pretty boring, so in true Engine Creative style I decided to throw the students in at the deep end. I challenged them to customise their own photo album web page, adding text and photos and then implementing a very trendy pop-up lightbox effect with JavaScript. Although many of the students found it quite difficult to begin with, it was great to see both teachers and students excited and inspired by the rewarding end result.

The feedback from the sessions was extremely positive. Deputy Headteacher Carly Waterman commented:

“Students were introduced to industry-relevant and creative ways of using ICT to create an online photo album. The experience gave our students a clear insight into the marketing and design industries and has motivated many of them to think about these industries as a career choice. The students were delighted when what they were creating worked – I have never seen anything like that in an ICT lesson in my life!”

The current speed of evolution and adoption of web and mobile technologies not only makes interactive development a lucrative career choice, but also has huge implications for education. We at Engine Creative believe that getting young people to engage with media and
technology from both the perspective of a user and a creator will improve their ability to mobilise technology for learning purposes.
Engine’s workshops have also served to inspire educators to better utilise these technologies in the classroom.

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