Leighton Park students take part in 'Green Meets Grey' IT solutions challenge

Posted on 17th Nov 2017 in School News, Technology, Science

Under the slogan of ‘Dream big, start small, act now’, 60 enthusiastic Sixth Formers and a number of engaging industry experts were ‘full STEAM ahead’ as they generated an audible buzz at the Cisco Offices on Green Park on November 9-10. Fifteen excited Leighton Park students teamed up with pupils from UTC, Kendrick School and John Madejski Academy for the two-day IT solutions challenge.

‘Green Meets Grey’ was masterminded by Cisco in Reading for technologically minded teens to solve real problems for a range of organisations. Issues such as water irrigation or mapping systems were tackled and through a range of presentations and ice-breaking activities the mixed-school teams were able to understand the importance of business case building, rapid prototyping and creativity when developing an innovative solution.

"It was such an impressive initiative, the brain child of Mark Mason (Director of Design Thinking) and Louize Clarke (Connect TVT), which focussed the creative minds of our students on team building challenges which combined the elements of technology and business to solve real industry related problems.” commented Karen Gracie-Langrick (Deputy Head, Academic).

Each team worked with a representative from a local organisation which a given real world problem to solve using IoT (Internet of Things) technologies. 

Each group brainstormed and refined their ideas before splitting into technical and business teams. The groups needed to utilise their communication skills to ensure that both sub-teams were working along the same critical path and were keeping to the prescribed timescales. The business teams developed marketing and financial plans around a client profile. The technical teams used Python controlled sensor boards to measure elements such as temperature, rotation and moisture, using computational thinking skills such as debugging and decomposition to edit existing libraries and transmit the output from the sensor readings. 

On the second day, the teams made further developments to their prototypes and undertook strategic testing to demonstrate their solutions with a pitch communicating the full business solution to all participants.

“It was heartening to hear the key skills required in today’s workplace echo many of our Quaker values: particularly the notion of an equal voice. Additionally, our students were encouraged to adopt the principles of ‘agile development’ and to raise the bar to achieve, and pitch for success!" continued Karen.

The winning team which included Leighton Park student, Tao (Wallance), Lower Sixth, developed a solution to help Thames Water solve the problem of providing water supply to households.

The solution included placing smart sensors with cameras into water pipes to collect the necessary data. This data could then be turned into information visible on a smartphone app so that a customer could identify an imminent problem before it occurred.

“I really enjoyed that Green Park Challenge not only because of winning it, but also for improving my presentation ability,” said Tao, a member of the winning team H2O with their FISH initiative.

“It was actually the first time that I have made a presentation in English which is not my first language. What's more, it was a challenging but interesting to work with students from other different schools.”

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